FIFA WC 2018: Titans Cut Down to Size in Socialist Russia

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The 2018 world cup began with a convincing victory for the hosts. But for many tournament favourites the going has been tough. However the fall of the giants actually point to the progress some of the weaker sides made in the tournament. Mexico, Senegal and Japan were convincing in their victories over much stronger sides.

 

At the same time a number of sides held stronger opponents to thrilling draws. Spain's Diego Costa and Portugal's Cristiano faced off in a thrilling encounter and the latter currently leads the goal scorers chart with four goals including a beautiful free kick that nestled in the top right corner of the Spanish goal. Messi on the other hand, had a difficult time in the match against Iceland, missing a penalty and getting caught in the web of Icelandic defenders. Neymar also had a match to forget after the Swiss defenders used brute force to neutralize his runs.

Mexico's single goal win over Germany was the upset of the tournament with Ochoa receiving much deserved credit for his heroics with the gloves including a free kick save which threatened the top left corner of the Mexican goal. The tournament saw a number of beautiful goals including a curler from Kolorov and a long range effort from Coutinho. Salah missed the first match to his Champions League final shoulder injury and was off colour in the second match against Russia in which his penalty goal was insufficient to prevent an early exit for Egypt. Romelu Lukaku scored a brace to help his side Belgium overcome Panama and used the occasion to point to the racial insults he received from Belgian fans earlier.

English skipper, Harry Kane began with a brace against Tunisia in a match that was settled in the injury time. The tournament also saw a number of own goals ascertaining the quality of the crosses and lapses from defenders once in a while. Spanish goal keeper De Gea missed a straight forward shot from Ronaldo and Pique regretted a slight push on Ronaldo which led to the equalizer. Saudi Arabia played a much better game against Uruguay although they lost the game to a lone goal from Suarez who tapped in a corner which the young Saudi goalkeeper misjudged. The Asian side sorely missed a good striker as clear chances went unconverted in the match. Uruguay were unimpressive although they won both their matches on the slightest of margins. Japanese and Senegalese fans won hearts after they cleaned up the stadiums after their teams' victories.

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