World Cup 2018: How Mexico stunned Germany by exposing their full-backs and harassing Toni Kroos out the game

June 18, 2018


“The first four days of World Cup 2018 have featured a string of impressive underdog performances, largely about sitting back and frustrating the opposition. Iceland’s defensive-minded approach worked well against Argentina, Switzerland were content to soak up pressure against Brazil, and both recorded unexpected draws. Mexico’s approach in yesterday’s 1-0 victory over reigning champions Germany, however, was braver, bolder and ultimately more successful. Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio has been criticised for his constant chopping and changing, but while he might be reactive, that doesn’t mean he’s defensive. Here, he used a 4-2-3-1 system, rarely seen throughout Mexico’s qualifying campaign, in order to nullify Germany’s strengths and expose their weaknesses.” Independent – Michael Cox (Video)

World Cup 2018: Germany ‘crestfallen’ as shock Mexico defeat is called ’embarrassing’
“It was a defeat that left Germany ‘crestfallen’, was described as an ’embarrassment’ by the country’s media and even triggered an earth tremor, such were the celebrations in Mexico. World Cup holders Germany looked a shadow of their usual selves as they were humbled 1-0 in Moscow – and the result could have been much worse for them. But despite the loss – the first for a German team in a World Cup opener since 1982 – coach Joachim Low remains confident that his side will progress to the knockout stage in Russia.” BBC (Video)


Harry Kane double ensures England defeat Tunisia in World Cup opener

June 18, 2018

“The clock had ticked past the 90-minute mark. Harry Kane was there and, in that position, Gareth Southgate could not have wished for any other player to be primed inside the penalty area. An old English routine: the corner, the flick-on, the back-post header and, suddenly, England’s opening game of the World Cup had its happy ending. A deserved one, too, bearing in mind the pattern of this game and the long spells when it had been threatening to finish with a churning sense of deja vu. England, after all, had managed only five wins in their opening fixtures of every World Cup and European Championship since 1950.” Guardian


Andreas Granqvist gives Sweden victory over South Korea after VAR intervention

June 18, 2018

“There is a feeling with VAR that all it is doing is replacing one sort of controversy with another. In days gone by, Swedish fans would have railed against the non-award of a penalty for Kim Min-woo’s lunge on Viktor Claesson and the rest of the world would rapidly have forgotten and moved on. But now, in this happily technological age, South Korea fans can rail against the eventual award of a penalty for the same challenge as the rest of the world rapidly forgets and moves on.” Guardian


Belgium 3 – 0 Panama

June 18, 2018


“Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium proved too good for World Cup debutants Panama in the opening match in England’s Group G. After a goalless first half, Belgium, ranked third in the world, finally broke Panama’s resistance when Dries Mertens steered in a spectacular volley. Panama, 55th in the rankings, had a chance to snatch an equaliser but Thibaut Courtois was quick off his line to save Michael Murillo’s shot with his legs.” BBC (Video)

World Cup 2018 tactics: Roberto Martinez in danger of putting Belgium’s star-shaped pegs in square holes
“Roberto Martinez has been criticised by Belgium supporters for many of his tactical choices amid concerns this crop of superb talent might be in the hands of the wrong person. Martinez’s exclusion of Radja Nainggolan – the third best player in Belgium, according to Martinez’s predecessor Marc Wilmots – was… confusing. Nainggolan retired from international football as a direct result. But – and there is a but – Martinez won the FA Cup with Wigan once. So he must know what he’s doing. Right?” Telegraph


I’ve Got Some Things to Say

June 18, 2018

“I remember the exact moment I knew we were broke. I can still picture my mum at the refrigerator and the look on her face. I was six years old, and I came home for lunch during our break at school. My mum had the same thing on the menu every single day: Bread and milk. When you’re a kid, you don’t even think about it. But I guess that’s what we could afford.” The Players Tribune (Video)


‘All the gods were with us’: Salif Diao tells the inside story of Senegal’s historic campaign at the 2002 World Cup

June 18, 2018

“When Bruno Metsu told the Senegal players that beating France would be “an earthquake in the world”, he did not just have an eye on future history books. He also had a problem he wanted to go away. The team’s achievements has since consigned it to the footnotes of the story, but before their first game at the 2002 World Cup the Senegal team was engulfed by scandal.” Independent