The fifth day of the FIFA World Cup 2018 started with an encounter between European team Sweden and the Asian team South Korea. Then following, the European team Belgium and the CONCACAF team Panama of Group G squared off. England and Tunisia played the last match of the day. All three matches ended in a victory for Sweden, Belgium and England. But, it was Belgium which had the biggest marginal victory and the second biggest so far in World Cup 2018.
FIFA World Cup 2018 day 5: Sweden vs South Korea
This was an evenly poised game as both the Swedish and the Koreans found themselves pressing and pressuring each other’s defence. Sweden seemed to miss the inspiration of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they had to rely on a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decision for them to get a penalty, which they converted. Otherwise, they failed to really threaten the South Korean goal. The (penalty) goal was scored by Andreas Granqvist in the 65th minute.
The Swedes come into Russia when Zlatan Ibrahimovic had decided to hang up his International Soccer boots. In other words, Zlatan is now a retired International soccer/football player. This means the Swedes entered Russia in the “post-Zlatan” era. Zlatan was the talisman of Sweden but retired his International career after the last European Championship.
The South-Koreans have the main star player of their own that currently plays for Tottenham Hot Spurs (English Premier League top football club) called Son Heung-Min, who is a real match winner. However, the South-Koreans are a shadow of the team that made it to the Semi-finals as co-hosts in the 2002 World Cup.
Some good chances to score were made by the South-Koreans but they failed to equalise as the match ended 1-0 in the favour of the Swedes.
Belgium vs Panama
World Cup 2018 is Panama’s first World Cup tournament and, they were in a group comprising Belgium, England and Tunisia. The CONCACAF team came in the match seeking their first World Cup goal and victory but were eventually outclassed by their opponents.
The game started with both teams going neck and neck in the first half. But, Belgium had most of the possession. It was in the second half that the game really came to life and excitement as in the 47th minute, number 14 (#14) Mertens opened the scoring for Belgium with a left-footed volley.
This goal is the first for Belgium in World Cup 2018. Mertins’ volley came as a result of the Panamanians trying to clear the ball out of danger. Penedo (Panama’s goalkeeper) tried to save the goal, but his diving efforts to his right was futile.
Kevin De Bryune got the chance to score Belgium’s second goal from a free kick. But his effort to get the ball in the goal failed as the ball went wide.
Panama’s #2 Murillo got a chance to score the first goal ever in the World Cup 2018, but, his shot was blocked by the #1, Courtois (Belgium’s goalkeeper).
Godoy, #20 of Panama became the 5th player to be shown a yellow card because he was arguing with the referee.
In the 69th minute, Romelu Lukaku, Belgium’s #9 scored the second goal of the match and Belgium’s second of World Cup 2018. Lukaku scored from in the 6-yard box with a header. Then in the 75th minute, Lukaku gets his second goal after he made a brilliant run and chipped the ball over Penado, who thought Lukaku would have kicked the ball on the ground, into the back of the net.
In the 83rd minute, the goal scorer Mertins was substituted with Eden Hazard’s (a Chelsea attacker) younger brother. Eden Hazard wears the #10 jersey for Belgium.
Panama almost got a goal near the end of stoppage time. A long ball shot was made on goal, forcing Courtois to make a backpedal before jumping to tip the ball over the cross-bar for a corner.
The game ended 3-0 in Belgium’s favour. This is the second highest marginal victory since the start of the World Cup. The biggest marginal victory came from Russia’s 5-0 drubbing of Saudi Arabia.
Before leaving the pitch Romelu Lukaku and another Panama player got down on their knees and prayed. I am not sure what they said. But what I do know is that it’s something that I think everyone should do, especially the players in this World Cup.
Match 3: England vs Tunisia
England started this match with a team of players who were playing for the first time together. Two very early chances were created for England to take the lead. One of those chances was a shot by #7 Jesse Lingard, which forced the Tunisian goalkeeper to make a spectacular save.
But, England never waited long to get the lead and the first World Cup 2018 goal because in the 11th minute, England’s captain, #9 Harry Kane scored. The goal came as a rebound from a save made by Tunisia’s goalkeeper after a hard header was made by #5 John Stones. The Tunisian goalkeeper (Hassen) clawed the ball out of the top corner but it only landed on the in-step of Harry Kane and back into the goal.
However, in an effort to save a goal Hussen (#22) had to come off the field due to an injury he received due to his diving efforts to keep the shots out by the English attackers. He was substituted with #1 Benmustafa.
In the 35th minute, Tunisia was awarded a penalty due to a foul committed by England’s #2 Kyle Walker, who had swung his arm back, hitting down a Tunisian player. Kyle was given a yellow card for the foul. The penalty was taken by Ferjani Sassi, who placed the ball powerfully into the back of the net. This goal is the first for the African continent in FIFA World Cup 2018.
The converted penalty was the sixth (6th) converted out of the eight awarded so far. The other two penalties that were missed were by Lionel Messi of Argentina and Cueva of Peru.
In the 91st minute, Harry Kane strikes for the second time to give England a 2-1 lead and the eventual win because the score remained this way at the end of stoppage time.
The next match for England will be against Panama on Sunday, June 24, 2018. The next for Tunisia will be against Belgium on Saturday, June 23, 2018. There is no doubt that these matches will be full of excitement for all the football fans.
Where were these matches played?
The venue for the Sweden vs South Korea match was played at Niznhy.
The venue for Belgium vs Panama match was played at Novgorod.
England and Tunisia played their match at Sochi in front of their delightful fans.
Sweden, Belgium and England are now on three points in their respective groups. Belgium and England are in the same group so Belgium now tops the group because of a +3 goal difference, whereas England has a +1 goal difference.
Sweden and Mexico are on three points in their group. They are yet to play against each other. South Korea will have Germany to face, but could they pull off an upset and beat the Germans? Well, this is the World Cup and it is not impossible. Let’s see what will happen.
I believe that group F will be quite an interesting one to watch as I believe this is the “group of death”. So, each team will be playing very well to qualify for the FIFA World Cup second round.
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