June 17, 2018, Day Five
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary, Day Five, chronicles the continuing story of the tournament in Russia. The one sure thing we may all take from this cup, fourteen games in, is that the world’s sport is truly being developed to a higher skill level everywhere. From Iceland to Panama and from Tunisia to Australia, almost every participating country belonged on the pitch against their better rivals. No one has had an easy time of it and everyone seems able to maintain possession, play the ball from the back, defend and produce goal scoring chances.
As the last of the 32 teams begin play, soon closing the first round of group matches, few teams have not done well while giving their all. Not that better teams have not fallen or performed less well than expected, they have, but that teams not expected to be competitive have been. Some have exceeded expectations by winning or drawing, but others, even in losses, have shown a knowledge and technical ability that most would not have suspected they had.
Today, closing of round one play in Group F, in Nizhnij Novgorod, with Sweden v South Korea. The game was a tight and toughly played affair with plenty of fouls and haphazard play, but Sweden pulled ahead on a 65th minute penalty to win 1-0 and top their group with Mexico.
The opening of play in Group G, began with Belgium v Panama in Sochi. The Belgians wanted to start with a big win against one of the tourney’s real minnows, but their opponents were up to the task of keeping them honest for a full 47 minutes. The Central Americans, playing in their first World Cup provided a great first half effort that ended in a respectable and evenly played 0-0.
Belgium came out in the second half looking to finally assert themselves and within two minutes a wonderful Dries Mertens high volley from the corner of the box at the 47th opened the scoring, but Belgium continued the pressure. Finally, a fantastic Kevin de Bruyne short through-pass style mid-height cross found Romelu Lukaku at the 69th for a diving header and the second score. Six minutes later a Hazard-Lukaku breakaway effort culminated in the latter’s chip over the onrushing goalie for a deserved 3-0 lead at the 75th minute. The Panamanians held tough for the rest of the match and the four minutes of stoppage time to lose 0-3, with a good effort.
Group G play concluded with the Tunisia v England match in Volgograd, and after England squandered uncountable very early opportunities, Harry Kane put England ahead at the 11th minute. Kane slotted in a rebound from close in off a great Mouez Hassen save off a header. Then, at the 34th minute Kyle Walker was called for an elbow to the face of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (#8) that knocks the Tunisian striker to the ground in the box. Ferjani Sassi then hit side netting with a well taken penalty for the first half draw. It would take another fortunate poach for England to pull off the win, an unmarked Kane header at the far post off corner and a prior header at the 90+1 minute. England 2—1 Tunisia.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary today chronicled the long-run of the viral audio of a Portuguese announcer’s play by play on Cristiano Ronaldo’s 88th minute free kick goal against Spain.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary found that FIFA referees were on the lookout for excessive fouling after the Neymar incident and the likes of Belgium’s Eden Hazard benefited from the protection in his match against Panama and South Korea’s Son Heung-min had the same protection extended in his play against Sweden.
The German team’s reaction to their own and other media negativity given their poor opening match. The team cancelled media events and chose to practice behind closed doors. A number of players seemed to want to pass blame around to teammates and the technical staff.
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 31 goals scored in the cup, 12 have been by La Liga players.
On Tuesday, at 8:00 AM EST, in Saransk, Colombia and Japan open play in Group H, followed by Poland and Senegal at 11:00 AM EST in Moscow, while Russia and Egypt play their second games of Group A in St Petersburg.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions
Fourteen games played.
Right calls–(9)—Correctly called for Russia over Saudi Arabia, Uruguay over Egypt, Portugal-Spain draw, France over Australia, Denmark over Peru, Croatia over Nigeria, Sweden over South Korea, Belgium over Panama, and England over Tunisia.
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.
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