Yesterday’s Group F fixtures saw a thriller between Germany and Sweden, alongside a dominant Belgium victory over Tunesia over in Group G. Over in Rostov, Mexico were pitted against South Korea, able to control the match thanks to a strong possession play and diligent defending in transition.
The clash of the next-best teams behind Brazil in Group E took place last night in Kaliningrad, with Serbia knowing they would be through to the last sixteen with a win. The only change in both line-ups from the first match-day was Kostic starting in place of Ljajic for Serbia.
Croatia surprised the world when they were able to defeat Lionel Messi’s Argentina 3:0 in the group stage. The clear strategy of Dalic and his men was to use the height and strength of their players to dominate the game in aerial duels. The possession game was very direct and short-lived while the game revolved mostly around Croatia’s midfield pressing block and Argentina’s positional play in possession. If Dalic’s men could win the direct ball they would attack, otherwise, they focused on creating counter-attack opportunities through their pressing and winning high balls from the Argentinean build-up play.
The second round of matches for Group C saw France secure their place into the knockout stages with their win over Peru while Denmark and Australia split the points.
With Egypt knocked out the previous day, Saudi Arabia joined them on day seven as the second round of games for groups A came to a close. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo took the lead in the race for the Golden Boot as Morocco became the third team to be eliminated, despite a strong showing.
In the first game of the second match-day, host nation Russia met Egypt in St. Petersburg. Russia came into the match knowing that a win would all but seal their ticket to the knockout stages of the competition, whilst Egypt knew they needed at least a draw to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Even after harder 1st half, Belgium eventually found a way through Panama’s organized and deep defensive structure, which in the end became a really dominant performance for Martinez’s side.
Day 4 capped off an action packed weekend of football over in Russia, with Serbia defeating Costa Rica and the Swiss nicking a point off of the favored Brazilians. However, Germany were toppled by Mexico in what is the upset of the tournament thus far, and the focus of this daily recap.
We preview England, a youthful squad revamped under Gareth Southgate that hope to excite through high energy attacking play in an uncharacteristically English way.
We continue our World Cup analysis by discussing Day 3 of the group stages, covering Argentina’s disappointing first match and Denmark’s win over Peru.