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World Cup Matchday 5 recap: VAR beats South Korea; Lukaku sinks Panama; England barely beat Tunisia

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I needed 5 cups of coffee to stay awake during these matches.

Soccer: World Cup-Sweden vs South Korea Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Day five in the 2018 FIFA World Cup was less exciting than the past few days: more VAR, no upsets and no Zlatan.

Sweden 1-0 South Korea

I really have nothing to say about this match. VAR awarded a penalty to Sweden in the 65th minute; their captain Andreas Granqvist scored it and that was it. Did VAR make the right decision? Probably? But who cares, because that’s all they needed to beat a poor South Korea team and get the 3 points. Sweden is tied for the lead of Group F with Mexico, just like everyone predicted.

Highlights of this match:

Group F Standings

Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
SWE 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
MEX 2 0 1 3 4 -1 6
KOR 1 0 2 3 3 0 3
GER 1 0 2 2 4 -2 3

Belgium 3-0 Panama

Everyone expected Belgium to beat the World Cup newcomers pretty easily. Belgium didn’t disappoint: they came out on fire, dominating the possession and getting into dangerous positions pretty much every time they wanted. After 25 minutes Belgium dropped their tempo a little bit as Panama got settled on defense and their game plan of kicking and pushing every Belgium player that had the ball started working.

In the second half Belgium quickly established their dominance once again and finally got rewarded when Dries Mertens scored an amazing volley in the 47th minute. After the first goal, Belgium got more conformable and was able to finally show their offensive firepower, with Romelu Lukaku scoring in the 69th and the 75th to give Belgium a commanding and deserving win.

Best goal of the day:

England 2-1 Tunisia

After heavily favored England scored in the 11th minute thanks to a Harry Kane tap in, I thought this would be a fun match with a lot of goals. I was wrong. Of course, England’s Kyle Walker would concede a stupid penalty in the 35th minute, Tunisia didn’t miss and tied the match just before the half.

In the second half England struggled to unlock Tunisia’s very well-organized defense. It wasn’t until the 91st minute that Harry Kane handed England the lead again with a close-range header. Even though England ended up getting the 3 points they looked like a hot mess. If I’m Belgium, I’m feeling pretty good about my chances of topping Group G.

Group G Standings

Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
BEL 2 0 0 8 2 6 6
ENG 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
PAN 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0
TUN 0 0 2 2 8 -6 0