World Cup: Groups A & B Matchday 2 recap

The second matchday at the 2022 Men’s World Cup kicked off with the eight nations from Groups A and B fighting to see who can get in a better position to advance, or to stave off elimination!

World Cup Matchday 2: Groups A & B

World Cup
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Group A: Senegal 3 – Qatar 1

After falling 2-0 to the Netherlands on Monday, Senegal redeemed themselves with a victory over Qatar, 3-1. Qatar is officially the first nation to be eliminated from the 2022 World Cup and the second host nation ever to be knocked out in the group stage.

Senegal struck first in the 41st minute. Boulaye Dia finished into the bottom left corner to give his country their first goal of the tournament. Qatar was defending well throughout the first half, but Senegal’s first goal would hinder them for the rest of the match.

Senegal would strike again in the 48th minute. Famara Diedhou’s header from Ismail Jakobs cross would double the Senegalese’s lead. A brilliant cross from Jakobs and a finish from Diedhou put Senegal in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the match.

Mohammed Muntari would get Qatar on the scoreboard in the 78th minute. Ismaeel Mohammad’s cross soared over the heads of the Senegal defenders and Qatar would celebrate their first-ever World Cup goal.

In the 84th minute, Senegal sealed the match with their third goal. Bamba Dieng beat Qatar’s Meshaal Barsham to give the Senegalese three points. A Senegal side missing their star forward, Sadio Mane, pulled off a win they were desperate for to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Match Highlights

Group A: Netherlands 1 – Ecuador 1

Both the Netherlands and Ecuador were fresh off of wins coming into Friday’s match. After 90 minutes between the two countries, they both walked away with a point each. With their draw, the Dutch have extended their group-stage unbeaten streak at the World Cup to 16 games.

Dutch wonderkid Cody Gakpo put De Oranjes on the board first just six minutes into the match. His goal is also the fastest in the 2022 World Cup thus far. Ecuador’s Enner Valenica, who scored the first goal of the 2022 World Cup on last Sunday, was denied by Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert in the 32nd minute. A strong chance to even the match, Ecuador would have to wait a little bit longer.

During the three added minutes in the first half, Pervis Estupinan of Ecuador would appear to tie the match, but his goal would be overturned by VAR. Four minutes into the second half, Valencia would give Ecuador their equalizer. With his tournament-leading third goal, Valencia has been Ecuador’s star thus far. Unfortunately, Valencia was taken off the pitch due to an injury later in the final half.

Ecuador would come close to taking the lead in the 59th minute, but Gonzalo Plata’s strike would hit the crossbar, giving the Dutch a lucky break. After 90 minutes of action, the game would end in a 1-1 draw.

Match Highlights

World Cup Group A Standings

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

Group B: Iran 2 – Wales 0

On Monday, Iran was pummeled by England, 6-2. Wales, on the other hand, drew against the United States, 1-1. The match between Iran and Wales on Friday was a crucial one for both teams who both needed maximum points.

Wales nearly started the goal-scoring in the 12th minute. Kiefer Moore had a chance to give the Welsh an early lead, but Iran’s goalkeeper, Hossein Hosseini, kept the game scoreless with his incredible save. In the 15th minute, Iran looked to take the lead, but Ali Gholizadeh’s finish would be reversed by VAR due to an offside call. After the first 45 minutes, the game would remain even.

Iran came incredibly close in both the 51st and 73rd minutes to break the deadlock, but their chances remained unfinished. In the 84th minute, Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey would receive a red card, resulting in Wales having to play with 10 men.

In the 98th minute, Iranian midfielder Roozbeh Cheshmi’s right-foot shot from outside the box would beat the Welsh keeper to give Iran their first lead of the World Cup and a 1-0 lead. In the 101st minute, Iran would put the game away with a goal from Ramin Rezaeian. With two goals in just three minutes, Iran walked away with three crucial points.

Match Highlights

Group B: United States 0 – England 0

In the most anticipated match of the tournament thus far, the USMNT and England each gained a point in a 0-0 draw. The USMNT dominated in attack but failed to capitalize on their chances.

The USMNT outshot England, 10-8, but only had one short on target compared to England’s three. Possession was nearly even with England owning 56% compared to the USMNT’s 44%. England remains at the top of Group B with four points, just one point ahead of Iran. On Tuesday, the USMNT will face Iran. It’s a must-win game for the Americans to keep their World Cup campaign alive.

In the 10th minute of Friday’s match, England’s Harry Kane nearly put the Three Lions on the scoreboard. His shot was blocked just in time by USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman, keeping the game even.

In the 17th minute, USMNT’s Haji Wright’s header just missed wide of the goal. Shortly after in the 26th minute, Weston McKennie had a golden opportunity for a goal but skied the ball over Jordan Pickford. In the 33rd minute, a strike from Christian Pulisic hit the crossbar. The USMNT generated scoring chances during the entire first half but couldn’t finish.

USMNT captain, Tyler Adams, was putting on a defensive masterclass in the midfield. Six minutes into the second half, Adams tackled Bukayo Saka which ended a potential scoring chance for England.

USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner also put on a show of his own. Stopping a goal-scoring opportunity from Mason Mount at the end of the first half, Turner is thriving during this tournament. His confidence on the international stage was obvious during the match, which resulted in his key saves.

Match Highlights

Group B Standings

  • 1st: England – 4 pts
  • 2nd: Iran – 3 pts
  • 3rd: United States – 2 pts
  • 4th: Wales – 1 pt

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