More Success For Belgium And Mexico + Germany Win For The First Time

Posted: June 25, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, International Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The World Cup, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , , ,

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Well, that didn’t take too long. Within six minutes of kicking off their game against Tunisia Belgium were awarded a penalty which was duly scored by Eden Hazard. This one wasn’t awarded by VAR although it was verified by the men in Moscow, who agreed that the American referee had got the original decision correct.

Tunisia, who had been unlucky to lose against a poor England team, were looking to salvage something from this game otherwise it would mean they were, most likely, going to exit the competition, assuming that England would beat Panama on Sunday, (certainly not a foregone conclusion!).

Shortly afterwards Romelu Lukaku made it 2-0 for Belgium and England’s trials and tribulations against the same team were now beginning to look worse than they probably were at the time!

But then, wouldn’t you just know it, Tunisia pulled a goal back when Belgium failed to defend a free-kick and the ball was headed in by Bronn.

Before the game the Belgian coach, Spaniard Roberto Martinez had said that Romeleu Lukaku wasn’t focused on being the tournament’s top scorer, just on his role within the team which, as he pointed out, is to score goals.

With a typical lack of logic, the coach fails to appreciate that if Lukaku ends up as the World Cup’s top scorer he will have fulfilled his role within the team to perfection!

Anyway, back to the game which, by now, had reached half-time and, while we were away, Romelu Lukaku had added his second and Belgian’s third to make the score 3-1 at the break.

Within five minutes of the second half starting Eden Hazard had made it 4-1 by scoring his second goal of the game. Tunisia looked a spent force and Martinez could begin taking important players out of the firing line.

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Eden Hazard – Also scored two goals against the Tunisians

Firstly Marouane Fellaini came on for Romelu Lukaku, thereby denying him the chance of a hat-trick and then Michy Batshuayi replaced Eden Hazard also denying him the chance of a hat-trick! The substitutions were no more than an exercise in dog walking as neither defence nor attack needed strengthening at the time.

With the goalscorers now off the pitch the scoring stopped until the 90th minute when, having missed three clear-cut chances earlier, Michy Batshuayi made it 5-1 then Wahbi Khazri pulled one back for Tunisia and that was it.

Next up was South Korea against Mexico. It was almost half an hour before anything of note happened in this game but, when it did, it was yet another penalty. It was given for a handball which some described as a harsh decision but, at the end of the day, the ball hit the hand of Jang inside the area.

Back in the good old school playground, anytime and any way the ball hit a player’s hand it was a free-kick or a penalty. None of this nonsense about deliberate or not, hand-to-ball or ball-to-hand. In fact we would even kick the ball against another player’s hand on purpose to gain a penalty.

As far as we are concerned, if the ball hits a player’s hand, it is handball, simple as that.

Anyway, after a wait almost as long as this one, Carlos Vela scored the spot kick with ease to make it 1-0 for Mexico.

That was it until the second half when Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal. That made it 2-0 and that was the way it stayed until the 93rd minute when Tottenham’s Son scored with a 20 yard shot to give Mexico a nervy last couple of minutes.

They survived, however, and it is the Koreans who will be going home after their next game.

The final game of the day was the one between Germany and Sweden and this was a game the Germans really needed to win.

Mesut Özil was the biggest name dropped to the bench as Joachim Löw shuffled his pack to try and find a winning formula.

Germany started the game as if realising that a win was the only result which would keep them in the competition. They were almost right as a draw, whilst not definitely eliminating them, would give them a mountain to climb.

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Things were looking good for Sweden when this man scored the opener

As is often the case when one team is attacking, the opposition score and this time it was Sweden’s Ola Toivonen who lifted the ball over Manuel Neuer and into the net.

The Germans were then all over the place and needed re-organising at half-time. This happened and they appeared for the second half with renewed determination.

This quickly brought them an equaliser through Marcus Reus who managed to deflect the ball in with his knee. The game then became one of German attack against Swedish defence as Germany went for the win.

Jerome Boateng was then sent off for being stupid and Germany pressed and pressed without result until the 95th minute when they were awarded a free-kick at the corner of the Swedish penalty area. Tomi Kroos rolled the ball to Marcus Reus who stopped the ball dead and Kroos hit it into the top corner.

Germany are still in the World Cup, level on points now with Sweden and both teams with one game left.

It will be interesting but Germany should now be favourites to qualify alongside Mexico.

 

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