More On England’s Win, Senegal’s Draw With Japan And Colombia’s Stroll

Posted: June 26, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, England, Football, International Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The World Cup, Tottenham Hotspur
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Today it was England’s turn again. When listening to the pundits, in this case Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Alan Shearer, it would be easy to think that the team are among the favourites to win the World Cup this time out.

The three of them, along with host Gary Lineker, were almost gushing in their praise of how England managed to miss a few chances then scrape a 2-1 win, courtesy of a goal in injury time, against Tunisia who, a few days later, the Belgians put five past!

When the game against Panama kicked off England had only made one change which was Dele Alli being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The constantly misfiring Raheem Sterling should have been replaced but, for some reason known only to Gareth Southgate, he wasn’t .

England’s first goal was scored after 10 minutes when John Stones headed in, totally unmarked, from a corner. The Panamanians were so busy wrestling with the England forwards and Harry Maguire that they didn’t even notice Stones whose 6’2” frame had obviously become invisible to them.

In the 20th minute Jesse Lingard, who had been the subject of around three fouls to this point, became the subject of another but this time inside the penalty area and, with Harry Kane responsible for the spot-kicks, the result was inevitable.

After 35 minutes Lingard actually managed to avoid being fouled and curled a beauty from 20 yards into the top corner and this was followed, five minutes later, by John Stones heading his second and England’s fourth.

By this stage Harry Kane was obviously getting worried that John Stones may become a threat to his position as top goalscorer so was relieved to see the referee finally point to the spot when, for the umpteenth time, he had been wrestled to the ground during a corner kick.

Again, the result was inevitable.

So, at half-time England led 5-0.

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The second half started slowly and was uneventful until the hour mark. That was when Harry Kane deflected a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot into the net with his heel to complete his hat-trick, joining Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker who also achieved the feat during a World Cup.

He was replaced by Jamie Vardy seconds later, (Hurst and Lineker weren’t).

More substitutions were made as dog-walking became the order of the day for England with Fabian Delph and Danny Rose joining the party.

Panama did get a consolation goal which, in some ways was undeserved, whilst in others it wasn’t. It was their first ever goal in the World Cup and it was scored by their old man, 37 year-old Felipe Baloy in the 78th minute. This had the Panama fans celebrating as if they had won, which was obviously a good thing but, the way the players had approached the game with spoiling tactics and cynical fouls, also had people thinking that they didn’t merit anything at all.

So the game petered out to it’s inevitable conclusion leaving England and Belgium level on points and goal difference going into their game next Thursday.

Now the only question remaining is whether or not the group is worth winning and, if not, how do they both lose when they play each other?

Japan v Senegal

Next it was the turn of Japan and Senegal to strut their stuff on the big stage. Having used so many words describing the good things about England’s performance against Panama there is not a lot of room left for the final two games.

This one was the proverbial cracker with end-to-end stuff throughout. First Sadio Mané scored for Senegal when the ball literally bounced into the net off his knee.

Then Japan equalised through Takashi Inui and the half-time score was 1-1.

After 71 minutes Moussa Wagué restored Senegal’s lead only to see it pegged back again seven minutes later. This time it was substitute Keisuke Honda who had only been on the pitch three minutes when he scored.

And that was that. No more goals meant a 2-2 result which was probably just about fair.

Colombia v Poland

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Radamel Falcao scored one of the three goals against Poland

Finally, Colombia and Poland met knowing that the loser would be looking for flights home after the last group game.

This was a little too one-sided for the neutral but a joy, no doubt, for the Colombian fans who are now well and truly back in the World Cup.

Up until just before half-time the game was reasonably close then Mina scored for Colombia in the 40th minute and Poland went in for the break knowing they had to score at least two goals to have any chance of remaining in the competition.

They didn’t look like scoring one in truth and Colombia scored again in the 70th and 75th minutes through Falcao and Cuadrado and that was that. A 3-0 stroll for the Colombians.

Never mind Lewandowski, it’s only four years until the next one.

 

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