World Cup: Groups A & B Matchday 1 recap

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The four opening matches of the 2022 Men’s World Cup kicked off some great actions at the beginning of the week! If you missed any of the action here’s a look back at Groups A and B!

World Cup Matchday 1: Groups A & B

World Cup
Marcus Rashford (11) of England scores a goal and celebrates 5-1 with teammates during the FIFA World Cup 2022, Group B football match between England and Iran on November 21, 2022 at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Pro Sports Images/DPPI/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

Group A: Qatar 0 – 2 Ecuador

The World Cup started with a bang as the hosts Qatar took on South American underdogs Ecuador. It looked like a party on the field pregame for Qatar, after just 3 minutes that party came to an abrupt halt. After a sequence of last-ditch defending from Qatar, and some crazy bounces of the ball, It looked like Ecuador had gone 1-0 up.

Enner Valencia tapped home an easy goal and went off to celebrate. However, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) called the goal back for a fraction of a player being offside in the buildup to the goal. It was not the only chance Ecuador would get. In the 16th minute, Ecuador won a penalty kick and Valencia converted the chance. He had his goal now, and he and his team were off celebrating.

As the first half went on, Ecuador bossed the match. Valencia scored a second goal off a beautiful header in the 31st minute. The goal buried Qatar, and they couldn’t overcome it in the whole second half. The hosts had just 0.32 expected goals. They did something unprecedented, a host losing their first game at a men’s World Cup.

Highlights

Group A: Senegal 0 – 2 – Netherlands

In a match that featured the two teams favored to get out of Group A, Senegal looked lean toward their strength in defense to stop a Netherlands team built on good build-up play. The first half showcased these two styles of play. The Netherlands held the majority of possession, and Senegal looked to defend and counter.

Senegal had the majority of the chances on goal, and they looked like the better side as they were able to disposes the Dutch and create a numbers advantage against them. The only reason why it wasn’t a perfect game for Senegal was that they couldn’t punish the Netherlands. This allowed the Dutch to get back in the match.

Late in the game, the Netherlands clicked their style into gear. Cody Gakpo headed home an effort off a great pass from Frenkie de Jong in the 84th minute. The game looked done and dusted as Senegal had to frantically try to equalize. Since Senegal was more exposed, the Dutch found a second goal late in stoppage time from Davy Klaassen en route to a 2-0 win.

Highlights

Group A World Cup Standings

  • 1st – Netherlands – 3 pts
  • 2nd – Ecuador – 3 pts
  • 3rd – Senegal – 0 pts
  • 4th – Qatar – 0 pts

Group B: England 6 – 2 Iran

In the opening game of the Men’s World Cup in Group B, favorites England took on an Iran team looking to make a statement on the field. Iran was powerful in their pregame showcase as they spoke out about their government’s treatment of women in their country and didn’t sing their national anthem ahead of the match. Unfortunately for them, this didn’t translate to a win on the pitch.

England came into the game after making the semifinals of the 2018 men’s World Cup. They wanted to show they could go on a run like that and scored three goals in the first half. youngsters, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka made it 2-0 by the 43rd minute, and Raheem Sterling made it 3-0 before halftime.

In the second half, Saka added a second goal; it was 4-0 England in the 62nd minute. Iran then found a way to score a good goal thanks to the efforts of Mehdi Taremi, but it was short-lived bliss. England subs Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish made it 6-1 by the 90th minute. The game would end 6-2 as Taremi added a second goal for Iran on the last kick of the game; it was a huge win for England and a tough result for Iran.

Highlights

Group B: USA 1 – 1 Wales

The first matchday of Group B play at the 2022 men’s World Cup was capped off with two sides fighting to claim the second-best place in the group. USA and Wales duked it out in two very different styles. the Welsh were willing to sit back and hit on the counter, while the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) wanted to dominate the ball and the way the game played out.

In the first half that favored the USMNT. They were able to be dominant and break the lines of the Wales team, but couldn’t find the breakthrough until the 36th minute. Some nice hold-up play from Josh Sargent sprung Christian Pulisic to run at the scattered Wales backline. He found a streaking Timothy Weah who hit a first-time shot that beat the keeper the USA had the lead, but switched how they played in the second half.

In the second half, the USA changed from being dominant on the ball to sitting back to not allow a Welsh to get an equalizer. It looked like it might be enough to get all three points, but it fell apart in the 82nd minute. A bad challenge led to a Wales penalty kick and their captain Gareth Bale converted it. Both nations split points, and now their fate will come down to who can get the best out of their final two matches of Group B.

Highlights

Group B World Cup Standings

  • 1st – England – 3 pts
  • 2nd – Wales – 1 pts
  • 3rd – USA – 1 pts
  • 4th – Iran – 0 pts

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Mandatory Credit: Pro Sports Images/DPPI/Icon Sportswire

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