World Cup Matchday 1: Groups G & H
Group G: Switzerland 1 – 0 Cameroon
Two underdog nations from Europe and Africa kicked off the Group G action as Switzerland and Cameroon went head to head. The match was evenly contested, especially in the first half. The possession of the ball was just about 50-50, but both nations failed to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net.
That changed quickly in the second half. A nicely worked ball by Switzerland found the feet of their talisman Xherdan Shaqiri. He picked out the run of Breel Embolo who slotted home the first-time effort to give the Swiss a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute. Embolo was full of emotion when scoring; He denied to celebrate as he was born in Cameroon, and just scored against them in a World Cup.
The one goal would be the difference in the match. Even though Cameroon had chances to score to get the game level, they failed to secure that finishing touch to do so. Switzerland took all three points in their first match over Cameroon.
Group G: Brazil 2 – 0 Serbia
The final match of Matchday one at the 2022 World Cup featured the main favorite at this World Cup, Brazil, and a European dark horse side, Serbia. As the game started it was clear that Brazil was going to dominate the ball, and Serbia was going to defend for their lives. Brazil dominated the stat sheet when it came to passing; completing 87% of their 582 passes in the game. Serbia had to stop this force by winning their tackles; a feat they could only do 46% of the time winning 11 of 23.
While the match was one-sided in favor of Brazil, they failed to find a goal in the first half. The second half looked the same for the first 15 minutes, but that was not for lack of trying. Brazil took 22 shots in the game, eight of which were on target, nine that were not, and five that were blocked by Serbia. They were creating chance after chance, and in the 62nd minute, they found their breakthrough.
Jogo Bonito is alive and well in this Brazillian team as they passed the ball through Serbia where Richarlison was able to tap the ball in to give Brazil the lead. About 10 minutes later Richarlison hit a ball that may end up being the goal of the tournament. Some nice dribbling and passing by Vinicius Junior got the ball to Richarlison in the box. In a moment of brilliance, he dinked the ball in the air to himself and hit an overhead kick past the onrushing Serbian defenders and a diving goalkeeper. The match would end 2-0 for Brazil, but they may be without their captain Neymar who went down late in the match with an ankle injury.
Group G Standings
- 1st – Brazil – 3 pts
- 2nd – Switzerland – 3 pts
- 3rd – Cameroon – 0 pts
- 4th – Serbia – 0 pts
Group H: Uruguay 0 – 0 South Korea
It has been said all before this Men’s World Cup that certain nations in Group H could be the dark horse that charges to shock the world. Two of those nations, Uruguay and South Korea, went head to head in their opening match. While both of these teams are seen as ones that could make a run a this World Cup, this match was a tale of missed chances.
Uruguay had 10 shots, one on target, seven off target, and two blocked; South Korea had seven shots, none on target, six off target, and one block. It wasn’t the best game from either side. Uruguay had 0.59 expected goals while South Korea had 0.64; both had big chances to score that were missed.
Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez, and South Korea’s Ui-Jo Hwang both missed big chances inside the box. The balls were placed on a platter for them and they both skied the opportunities. Both nations split the points in a scoreless draw and will have to look forward to their next matches to make a scoring impact.
Group H: Portugal 3 – 2 Ghana
Matchday 1 of Group H play at this World Cup concluded with a spirited match between one of Europe’s best going against one of Africa’s best. Portugal took on Ghana in a match that took some time to get going, but when it did it was a sprint to the finish.
The first half showed that both teams wanted to exploit open spaces on the pitch, but neither side could find their finishing boots. That all changed with 25 minutes to go in the game. Portugal found the opening goal as their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo slotted home a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Less than 10 minutes later, Ghana was flying around the pitch and found the equalizer through Andre Ayew.
It was 1-1 with just 15 minutes to go, but this game was far from over. Portugal scored two goals in two minutes as Joao Felix and Rafael Leao scored to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes to play. Ghana opened things up even more now down two goals. This paid off for them as they got a second goal in the 89th minute thanks to an Osman Bukari header. Even though there were nine added minutes at the end of this one, Ghana couldn’t find a third goal to tie the match as it ended 3-2 in favor of Portugal.
Group H Standings
- 1st – Portugal – 3 pts
- 2nd – South Korea – 1 pts
- 3rd – Uruguay – 1 pts
- 4th – Ghana – 0 pts
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