A rather overtly physical Panamanian side were dispensed with before the first half had ended. Harry Kane scored a hat trick, John Stones scored a
couple of headed goals, Jesse Lingard got the best goal of the game. Even Panama were allowed to join in the party with their first goal ever in a
World Cup finals as England got sloppy in the second half defending their six-goal advantage.
Group H : Japan 2-2 Senegal
Senegal look to be Africa's best hope of going further in this competition. But they should really have capitalized on their lead from Sadio Mane.
Instead they let Japan back into the game twice. However the draw puts both teams in a better position that either Poland or Colombia to make it
through to the knockout rounds.
Group H : Colombia 3-0 Poland
Poland have the ignominy of being the first European team to be knocked out of the tournament with no points on the board after another defeat.
Colombia blunted the Poles with strikes from Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao and a cool finish by Juan Cuadrado. It leaves them needing to beat Senegal to
be sure of making it into the next round.
England's win also secures qualification to the last 16 for neighbours Belgium. Much tougher tests lie ahead. But England can now remain calm before
facing their first Hazard in Russia! (If Eden's selected of course).
Group H will go to the wire. With Senegal needing a point or better against Colombia. Japan can advance by beating or drawing with Poland.
Tomorrow there are four more fixtures featuring the final group games.
I know it was only Panama but 6-1 is still a great result , well done the lads , now the real tests begin.
I don't think anyone is getting carried away. But Gareth Southgate is proving, perhaps, that the decision to promote him from the U-21s gave him a
totally different insight. He's brought in younger players. Eased out the cumbersome Rooney and Joe Hart. Now he's stamping his own mark. He even
seems to have worked on set piece play.
The feelgood moment could end at any moment of course if we get knocked out with a dismal performamce. But at least the future looks a little brighter
now no matter what. There is another generation waiting in the wings who have already won a World Cup and Euro at junior levels as well. If only they
get a chance to play at the top level!
I like the idea of VAR in football especially in games of huge importance...
I need to correct myself slightly on the above. After the Portugal vs Iran game I realised, while VAR could be a good thing if used right, it also
could turn the game into an unnecessary drama putting an already crappy ref even more in the center of attention which should never be the case.
Egypt's campaign ended pointless despite a clever lob by Mo Salah to open the scoring for Egypt.Saudi Arabia saw a Al Muwallad penalty saved and a
second penalty scored by Al Faraj. Just as the game seemed to be heading to end tied at 1-1 Al Dawsari fired in the winner for Saudi Arabia. Both
teams now return home.
Group A : Uruguay 3-0 Russia
Russia were easily beaten by Uruguay. Luis Suarez scored from a free-kick after 10 mins. A deflected goal off Cheryshev only added to Russia's woes.
Igor Smlonikov received a second caution and was dismissed after 35 mins. Uruguay then seemed content to see out the game. Edson Cavani scored late to
rub salt into Russian wounds.
Group B : Iran 1-1 Portugal
A game of too much VAR and fraught tempers. Ronaldo missed a chance from the penalty spot. He was also yellow carded after the referee took an age to
consult VAR. Ricardo Quaresma scored a glorious goal with a dipping shot from the right hand side on the edge of the penalty area. But a late Iranian
penalty levelled the scores. A shaken Portugal side just about hung on to finish second in the group. Their reward now is a knockout game against
Uruguay rather than Russia.
Group B : Morocco 2-2 Spain
With nothing to play for this Morocco side gave the Spaniards a real scare. Ramos and Iniesta conspired to allow Khalid Boutai a run on goal. He
didn't disappoint and Morocco took a shock lead. Isco pulled one back for the Spaniards.
But the Moroccans kept niggling away at Spain's nervy defence. Then came the real drama.Youssef En-Nesyri looked to have won the game for Morocco with
a strong header from a corner kick. Then Iago Aspas touched in a cross to level for Spain. But only after VAR revised the original decision that Aspas
was offside. Spain breathed a sigh of relief.
Russia were blown away before they were down to 10 men. Which suggest their blistering start was no a sign of things to come. They will now face a
tough game against Spain. Although Spain appear to have their problems. Portugal will face a tough Uruguay side who are yet to concede a goal.
Although Uruguay have hardly been tested so far.
VAR is still providing controversy in this competition too!
Today there are four more fixtures featuring the final group games.
In what turned out to be a dead rubber the Peruvian team finally won a World Cup finals match after 40 long years with goals from Andre Carrillo and
Paolo Guerrero. Australia sadly bowed out with a single point and Tim Cahill was unable to score in his fourth World Cup.
Group C : Denmark 0-0 France
Zzzzzzzzzzz. Nothing happened in this game and Denmark and France both progress to the next round.
Group D : Iceland 1-2 Croatia
Croatia maintained their 100% record with goals from Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic in a much changed team. Either side of those goals Dejan Lovren
conceded a penalty that allowed Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson to score from the penalty spot.
Group D : Nigeria 1-2 Argentina
Argentina were spared an early exit with a Lionel Messi strike of quality in the first half. However Javier Mascherano was judged to have fouled Leon
Balogun in the penalty area. A Victor Moses penalty drew Nigeria level. Nigeria wasted chances and also had a call for a penalty refused. Then a
Gabriel Mercado cross from the right was met by a Marcus Rojo right foot shot. 2-1 Argentina with 4 minutes left on the clock.
This was no vintage win but Argentina live to fight another day. Nigeria are catching the next flight home.
The knock-out rounds are beginning to take shape with the following ties confirmed.
Saturday 30th June
France v Argentina
Portugal v Uruguay
Sunday 1st July
Russia v Spain
Croatia v Denmark
Tomorrow there are four more fixtures featuring the final group games.
Tournament on the whole though has been good though, I like VAR but it still doesn't eliminate crazy ref decisions. Diving still irks me, there is
nothing worse than a striker with a chance who chooses to throw themselves to the floor instead of taking the opportunity to score
Even though I've enjoyed the tournament so far I've got to say that there are no outstanding teams - even the best appear rather mediocre when
comparing with teams from past tournaments.
Germany v Argentina would be wrong on so many levels.
I agree with the introduction of technology to assist refereeing and minimising the risk of incorrect decisions.
But VAR should have been extensively trialled well before The World Cup. At present it is very much a work in progress.
I remember when video technology was first introduced into cricket. There was much confusion and it took a few years to iron out most of the
Today it is very fast, very reliable and viewed as an integral tool for the umpiring team to ensure correct decisions are made.....we are a long way
off from such a scenario in football.
The World Cup should not be a testing ground for anything.
That said, they have issues if anything happens to Mandzukic up front (no one else really).
Only mentally, Mandzukic is their 1 forward they run with at the moment.
They could simply change the line up and have 2 or 3 up front.
Modric has been playing much more forward than usual and he seems to like it.
Rakitic, Perisic and Rebic even though he pisses me off at times all have the ability to score given the slightest chance.
Their back line is fairly strong but like any team as seen in the Argentina vs Croatia game, sometimes the defense just shuts down, both teams in
that match had really bad break downs of defense where it was lucky Croatia didn't concede and bad luck for Argentina who had just a little more
breaks or simple mistakes in defense or clearing the ball that allowed Croatia to score.
I think Croatia have been quite good, but there's four more games to go, no-one can afford a poor performance now.
And they may just lack the quality and consistency required....but it'd be great for world football if a country like Croatia did win it.
I don't think England have the ability and creativity to break down the defences of some of the better teams and Southgate will revert to his default
setting and go defensive in the knock-out stages.
And I think some people have been getting carried away a bit by our performances against what can best be described as moderate teams.
I hope I'm wrong and I'll be over the moon if I have to eat humble pie....but I've seen far too many false dawns. Followed England all over Europe in
years gone by, but I think I'm being realistic in saying that we'll get knocked out in the quarter finals......I so, so hope I'm wrong.
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