Another day at the World Cup and another day full of talking points. The final group saw it’s first round of matches played and we may have seen a clear top team in the tournament emerge. Here’s how Matchday 6 played out:
The day started off with a bang as the first red card of the tournament was shown in the third minute. Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez was giving his marching orders after stopping a shot from going into a open net with his arm. The resulting penalty was converted by Shinji Kagawa. The South American side didn’t give him, however. Juan Francisco Quintero’s clever free kick just before the half crept under Japan’s wall and just over the goal-line to even the match at 1.
Colombia’s efforts to gain a point while playing a man down were thwarted late in the second half when Japan’s Yuya Osako headed in a corner. The darling of the 2014 World Cup has a lot of work to do if they are to rebound from this opening loss. Meanwhile, Japan’s win is the first time an Asian side has ever beaten a South American team in the World Cup.
ΓΚΟΛ! Ο Yuya #Osako βάζει το δεύτερο γκόλ για την #JPN στο 73' #Mudial2018 @FIFAWorldCup— ΕΡΤ Α.Ε. (@ERTsocial) June 19, 2018
⚽ Μπες στο παιχνίδι, μπες στο https://t.co/fgacAdhlQd ⚽ #ERTHD #ErtHybrid #ERTwebTV #ERT_VR #COLJPN pic.twitter.com/Mp7RW2Hyis
Poland 1-2 Senegal
Group H finished it’s first round of matches in wild fashion as Senegal prevailed over Poland, 2-1. It wasn’t the most attractive of matches, but it will be one that will live in World Cup lore. The subjectivity of soccer rules was at play here as Senegal scored a goal at the hour mark that had the entire world talking. M’Baye Niang went off the field injured prior to the play in question. He was ready to enter the match and as the referee waved him back on, a Poland player decided to play a wayward backpass into his own half. Niang took advantage of the clueless Poland defender who had no idea he’d just been allowed back on. He raced onto the loose ball, rounded the goalkeeper and made it 2-0 to the African side.
Poland would claw a goal back late, but it wouldn’t be enough to get anything out of their first match. The debate around the game-winning goal will rage on. Did the referee do anything wrong or was it just a bizarre circumstance?
Group H Standings
Just as Mohamed Salah’s World Cup began, it appears to have ended. The hosts were at it again, looking dominant in a 3-1 win. There’s nothing overly impressive about their soccer skills, but they are well-compacted on defense and are banging in the goals left and right so far. Three second half goals have them just a Uruguay draw away from wrapping up a spot in the Round of 16 through just two matches in the group.
Meanwhile, Salah scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-1. A goal on your World Cup debut is not a bad consolation prize, but it’s not the one he wanted coming into the day. While Egypt aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, it would take a miracle for them to get to second place after two opening losses.
Group A Standings