The high ranked countries in Groups E and F have the pressure of their nations on their shoulders after some hap-hazard starts. The underdogs are showing that they are hungry to upset the mainstays like Brazil and Germany. Groups E and F are full of drama, our World Cup Review looks at how matchday two played out for these two groups!
In matchday one Brazil failed to get a win. They were kept in check by Switzerland, splitting the points. Serbia’s first match saw them beat a well-organized Costa Rican side. After the first match Serbia were in the driver seat, and Costa Rica were in the basement; while top-ten ranked Brazil and Switzerland each had one point. Serbia looked to go through to the knockout stage with a win over Switzerland; Brazil looked to right their ship by taking the game to a good Costa Rican side.
Brazil: 2 Costa Rica: 0
In a match that was full of drama, Brazil met Costa Rica. The Brazilian players carried the weight of their whole country on their shoulders. This one produced a score line that would lift that pressure off of Brazil, but that was not the case for the first 90 minutes of the match.
Costa Rica came out firing. As the game was still taking shape they created a lethal counter attack, the finishing touch was the only thing missing as a shot fizzed just wide of the post 13 minutes in. After that chance Brazil awoke. The rest of the first half showcased the Brazilian’s flashy style of football, but saw no goals.
In the second half Brazil picked up where they left off! They sent in chance after chance after chance, yet Kaylor Navas and Costa Rica were able to keep the ball out of the net. That all changed in second half stoppage time.
Brazil played a ball into the box and was knocked down into some open space. Philippe Coutinho speed through, and finished the chance! Brazil found the winner. There were still a few minutes left in stoppage time, and Brazil stayed on the front foot. Some nice passing saw Brazil in again. Neymar was all by himself in the middle of the box, the ball was played to him and he passed the ball into the side of the net! Brazil won this one 2-0, and some of this huge pressure was lifted off their shoulders!
Serbia:1 Switzerland: 2
Two European sides who have their sights on a deep run into the knockout rounds met in matchday two. Right from the jump this match proved to be a high-paced, back-and-forth contest! Serbia struck first; some nice possession culminated in a cross into the box, where Aleksandar Mitrovic rose above all to snap a header home. This goal coming in the forth minute lit a fire under Switzerland.
As the game progressed, Switzerland gained momentum by creating attacks that were purposeful and powerful. This continued in the second half when Switzerland found the equalizer. Some good attacking lead to a Swiss shot that was blocked. The ball bounced out to a streaking Granit Xhaka. He struck it first time, and the ball curled to the far post to tie the game! As the game went on it looked like it was going to end a point a piece for both sides.
As the game moved into its final minutes. Switzerland sprung an attack. A long ball was played towards Xherdan Shaqiri who was all by himself in the attack. He out ran the last Serbian defender, but still had the keeper to beat. The keeper came out, and Shaqiri slipped the ball by him and into the net. Switzerland found the dagger and took all three points, they beat Serbia 2-1!
As things begin to take shape heading into the final matchday, the two favorites have emerged on top. Brazil and Switzerland getting wins gives them momentum heading into the final dat of matches. Switzerland play eliminated Costa Rica in their final match. Will we see Costa Rica play spoiler to Switzerland’s impressive group stage campaign? Brazil takes on Serbia in a match where both teams need a win to guarantee advancement. If Serbia loses they are knocked out, if Brazil losses then they will have to hope that Switzerland loses as well and that Brazil’s goal differential is higher. Three of the four teams have everything to play for heading into matchday three, and its anyones guess who’ll come out on top!
So, Group E…
4) #CRC #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/C01rVGhsSy
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 22, 2018
There hasn’t been a more shocking outcome from a game so far like Mexico beating Germany on matchday one. Mexico sitting on three points take on South Korea in matchday two. South Korea lost their opener to Sweden. As matchday two approaches Mexico can advance to the knockout round with a win over South Korea; Sweden can do the same by beating Germany. Should South Korea and Germany lose both would be eliminated from the World Cup with a game still to play in the group stage.
Mexico: 2 South Korea: 1
Mexico stunned Germany in their first game in Group F, they looked to do the same to a South Korea side who were facing elimination if they lost in matchday two. As the two nations began the game it was clear that Mexico’s will was stronger than South Korea’s.
As the game kicked off both teams felt each other out. It was clear that South Korea were going to push numbers forward as they were desperate for the win. This lead to Mexican counter attacks and scrambled South Korean defense. This paid off for Mexico in the 24th minute. A ball was played into the box, and a sliding South Korean player whose hand was extended handled the ball. This resulted in a penalty for Mexico. Carlos Vela stepped up and slotted the chance home. This was enough to give Mexico the lead into half time!
As the second half commenced, Mexico continued to dominate the game. South Korea still tried to thow numbers forward when they had possession, but they could not create dangerous chances. When they lost the ball, Mexico flew on the counter attack, which paid off in the 66th minute. A three on two break saw the ball on the hand side of the box. Chicharito on the ball in the box made one defender miss, and place the ball clinically past the keeper!
Mexico had the game in hand, but South Korea’s game plan of throwing numbers forward finally paid off. In the third minute of second half stoppage time, a long effort came off the foot of Son Heung-min and flew into the top left corner of the net. The goal was a nice consolation for South Korean, but it was not enough to keep them alive. Mexico win 2-1, eliminating South Korea, and helping them move to the knockout round.
Germany: 2 Sweden: 1
In their second match of Group F, Germany were in uncharted territories. With a loss to Sweden, they would be knocked out of the World Cup. Sweden had a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds, should they pull off a win, and early on Sweden looked raring to do just that!
Sweden did well to stop some early German chances, and looked dangerous on their own attacking sequences. Their hard work paid off in the 32nd minute. Ola Toivonen found a way behind the German defense. Manuel Neuer rushed out to snuff out a chance, but Toivonen chipped him, and gave Sweden the lead! They shocked Germany and took the lead into halftime.
As the second half started Germany looked possessed to get back into the game. A great attacking sequence saw a chance that was first dealt with by Sweden. A second chance ball fell to Marco Reus, who slotted home the effort give Germany their equalizer just three minutes into the second half. As the match went on it looked like it would end in a tie, then a wrench was thrown into the match.
Jerome Boateng received a red card for a two footed slide into the back of a Swedish attacker. Germany would have to play with 10 men for the remaining eight minutes. This should have made Sweden smell blood in the water, but it did not. The red card actually made Germany play better. Then in the fifth minute of stoppage time Germany had a free kick on the edge of the box. Two German players stood over the ball. Toni Kroos palyed the ball to his teammate who returned it right back to Kroos, he then hit a one time curling effort towards the far post. The ball went right past the outstretched hand of the keeper and hit the net. 10 man Germany found a way to get a win. With the win the stay alive in contention for the knockout round!
At the end of matchday two for group F things are beginning to take shape. Mexico’s win over South Korea have them through to the knockout round, and in a great space to win the group. South Korea losing their second in as many matches means they have been all but knocked out of the competition. They’d need a momentous win over Germany, and a hope that Mexico beat Sweden by a few goals. Sweden and Germany have all to play for to make it to the knockout round. In their respective final group matches, both sides will have to win, hope for the other to lose or score more goals than the other. This all for the chance to finish second in the group. It should be fun to watch!
Group F suddenly looks a bit different after that late winner…
4) #KOR #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/wKprPjF2on
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 23, 2018
More action to come!
As the tournament roles on, we will continue our reviews! Come back tonight for a review of match two for Groups G and H! Also, check back tomorrow for a review of match three of Groups A and B Catch all the games on Fox or Telemundo! Replays of matches are also available on the FoxSportsGO App!
Check out these matches or replays of today’s matches:
England vs Panama (Group G) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App
Japan vs Senegal (Group H) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App
Poland vs Columbia (Group H) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App
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Mandatory Credit: Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports