Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary
June 17, 2018, Day Four
Keylor Navas immediately showcased why he is one of the best keepers in the world while from the whistle Serbia’s size, pace, experience, and gamesmanship shone throughout to the end of the match. But with Central American starters Marco Urena, and Bryan Ruiz shadows of their former selves, and substitutes Christian Bolanos and Joel Campbell unable to convert well-crafted opportunities in the box, it was left up to Alexander Kolarov to provide the games single but emphatic offensive punch. He responded with a perfectly curved and paced free kick into the upper left corner of Navas’ goal for the 1-0 winning golazo!
The day’s second game pitted defending champions Germany v CONCACAF’s top qualifier, Mexico, in Moscow, in a clash of the favorite teams in Group F. As play began it was Mexico taking the early initiative and Hirving Lozano netting the 35th minute go ahead goal and turning it into a lead at the half-time break. Surprisingly the game continued in the same mode in the second half with the slumping champions unable to put together a consistent quality effort on attack and the Mexicans squandering chance after chance to turn this match into a rout. In the end it was Mexico—1—0—Germany and the CONCAF champions earned it.
The upset turns the cup on its head as the potential now is that Germany and Brazil will meet in the Group of 16. There is a real chance now that this result will load one side of the bracket with most of the favorites on the same side—Brazil, France, Germany, Portugal and Belgium, who are likely to advance—while leaving the other half with Spain as the only strong contender with a clear and easy path to the final.
Brazil opened its World Cup 2018 campaign with a match against Switzerland in Rostov. The Swiss wasted no chance in showing how they would handle Neymar as the first three times he touched the ball he was on the turf. The ref finally gave a first yellow for repetitive fouls when the sixth foul, from the fourth different player, made it obvious it was a team tactic.
After this, at the 20th minute, Phillipe Coutinho showed why Barcelona paid so highly for him as he unleashed a 25-yard curler on the run that went wide out, came back in and hit the post, and let the diving goalkeeper seem like he was miles from where the ball actually hit the net. The half ended 1-0, though with the Swiss holding on and the South Americans playing like they were content with their meager effort. This bodes well for only one team and the Germans would be the first to say.
At the 50th minute Swiss midfielder Steven Zuber headed in unmarked from inside the goalie’s box for the tying goal, both a deserved score and full punishment for Brazil’s attitude the first half. With the favorites needing to actually earn a win, the Swiss managed the game the Brazilians ceded and left the field with a gifted 1—1 draw.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary today chronicled the first officiating concern of the cup as Neymar was fouled incessantly by the Swiss in their Group E match, putting the Brazilian star in physical jeopardy and rendering him ineffectual in the match. Similarly, a grab-tackle of Gabriel Jesus that was the mirror image of the one which resulted in the award of a penalty in favor of Croatia for a foul on Mandzukic, went uncalled and un-reviewed.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary found that in Brazil the Swiss goal was considered unfair as it was scored following a previous foul on Miranda which rendered him incapable of defending against Zuber.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary will continue to keep tabs on the tournament’s scorers to see if the initial goal scoring tendency continues, as so far, of the 25 goals scored in the cup 12 have been by La Liga players.
On Monday, at 8:00 AM EST, in Nizhnij Novgorod, Sweden and South Korea close out the first round of games in Group F, while in in back to back matches Belgium and Panama open play in Group G at 11:00 AM EST in Sochi, while Tunisia and England close it out at 2:00 PM EST in Volgograd. On Tuesday, play in Group H will begin and we will then cycle back to Group A for their second round of matches.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions
Eleven games played.
Right calls–(6)—Correctly called for Russia over Saudi Arabia, Uruguay over Egypt, Portugal-Spain draw, France over Australia, Denmark over Peru, and Croatia over Nigeria.
Wrong calls–(5)—Called for a Morocco-Iran draw which ended with a 1-0 win for Iran off a Moroccan own goal at the 90+5 minute mark. Called for an Argentina win over Iceland which ended in a draw after Lionel Messi had a penalty saved. Called for a Costa Rica win and Serbia won 1-0 on a wonderful 56th minute free kick goal. Called Germany over Mexico, and the CONCACAF champion simply outplayed the current champions to earn a historic 1-0 win. Called for a Brazilian win in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw between the overly fouled Neymar and the Swiss.