More Joy For Belgium In Beating England As Senegal, Poland, Panama And Tunisia Bow Out Gracefully

Posted: June 30, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, England, Football, International Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The World Cup
Tags: , ,

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The afternoon matches today were from the tightest group. Going into the games Japan were top with four points, Senegal were second, also with four points, and Colombia were third with three points. By this time Poland were already eliminated having lost their two opening games.

So it was a three horse race whereby the first two would progress to the last 16. From a fan’s point of view it was extremely nail-biting stuff particularly if the flavour of those nails happened to be Colombian, Senegalese or Japanese!

In the end it was the recent new rule counting the number of yellow cards which determined who went out of the tournament from this group. FIFA, in their infinite wisdom, had come to the conclusion that, if all else was equal, ie points, goals for, goals against and the result between the two teams in question had been a draw, then the disciplinary record would be taken into account.

The game between Colombia and Senegal should have seen the Africans score two or three in the first half but they didn’t. As is often the case, Colombia came into the game in the second half and did score a goal through Yerry Mina. This was enough as the Senegalese had stopped creating and, at this point, didn’t look like scoring despite huffing and puffing their way through the second 45 minutes.

So Colombia went through, as group winners, with a 1-0 win.

Poland, as we have already mentioned, were already out and were playing for pride. As far as Japan were concerned it was difficult to see quite what they were playing for.

Anybody tuning in to the tournament for the first time at this particular game would have thought Poland needed to win and Japan had already qualified.

After an hour Jan Bednarek scored the only goal of the game and the two teams, with Japan knowing that this result would take them through providing Senegal didn’t score, played out the last five minutes in the boring pass-the-ball-to-each-other-and-waste-time fashion so detested by the majority of football fans.

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Jan Bednarek celebrates his winning goal against Japan

Had Senegal scored or, indeed, had Poland scored another, then Japan would have been eliminated so this made their display during that last five minutes either very brave or very foolish depending upon your point of view.

Anyway, Senegal became the first team in the history of the competition to have to book their flight home thanks to getting TWO yellow cards more than Japan.

Apart from this pathetic method of deciding which team should stay in a World Cup and which shouldn’t, this group also contained England’s next opponents and, even before they play and know who it will be, there is nothing whatsoever to fear from either of the top two.

Speaking of England and Gareth Southgate finally decided on eight changes for the game against Belgium. Roberto Martinez went one better and made nine proving that neither of them was bothered whether they finished first or second in the group, (although Martinez, harbouring thoughts of actually winning the trophy, would prefer second).

The reason for this is because, as previously stated, neither Colombia nor Japan should prove to be too much of a problem for either team. After that, at the quarter final stage, it may be a little trickier but they will worry about that when/if they get there.

The objective from now on is to win and, if you think you know who the ones doing the winning will be, then head over here and check out the odds.

When the game kicked off it was fairly obvious that both teams were going to try and win the game. This was far more likely to be because of the number of changes made, meaning that a lot of players had a lot to prove, rather than any pre-planned tactic from either of the coaches.

Anyway the first half passed without major incident with the score 0-0 and nobody had really done anything outstanding enough to have either manager rethinking his team for the next game.

The more important score was the yellow card tally, which stood at England  0-0 Belgium, and would be the means to decide the first and second places in the event of the match being drawn.

Hopefully the second half would provide some goals.

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Adnan Januzaj scores the winner for Belgian courtesy of some polite defending by Danny Rose

It certainly provided one cracker when Adnan Januzaj was allowed to cut back inside onto his left foot and unleash a powerful shot past Pickford.

The problem now for Roberto Martinez was that Belgium were winning a game he, supposedly, wanted to lose!

He didn’t do anything to change the situation and the game finished 1-0 to Belgium without making any major difference to the future path of either team.

The other game finished Tunisia 2 – 1 Panama.

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