|Japanese players in dreamland after they got off to a flier against Germany in their World Cup Group E encounter on Wednesday. (Photo credit: GOAL)|
The ongoing FIFA World Cup is serving surprises and we’re not even done with the first round of group games. This is why we love football, this is why we love the World Cup.
Wednesday’s fixtures didn’t prove as straightforward as expected. African countries are blowing hot and cold so far but Morocco stood and got counted against Croatia; the Luka Modric-led side was the favorites in the encounter but Morocco could have won.
Both sides had the same number of shots on target (2) and while Croatia edged the ball possession, an eye test would show that the North African side did well to deserve the point and more. Both sides still have to negotiate with Canada and Belgium, the group would be fun.
Speaking of Canada and Belgium, the Red Devils labored to a 1-0 win over Canada in the other Group F encounter but the score line doesn’t tell the entire story. It could have gone a different way had Canada taken their chances and we’ll be discussing another major upset.
Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies missed an eleventh-minute penalty. Mitchy Bashuayi scored the only goal of the encounter with just a minute remaining of the first half and then, Roberto Martinez’s side had to weather the storm from the Canadians as they dominated the closing exchanges.
Group E served the breakfast of the day. Japan beat Germany 2-1 in a repeat of the 2018 result between the pair. Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan had fired the German Machines in front midway into the first half and Kai Havertz had a goal disallowed for offside.
Japan grew into the game and they eventually hit the Germans hard in the closing stages. Ritsu Doan leveled with a quarter of an hour to go and former Arsenal forward, Takuma Asano fired in the winner with just seven minutes on the clock.
Spain wasn’t going to let reporters feast on them, they instead roasted Costa Rica in a 7-0 rout in the other Group E game of Wednesday. Coach Luis Henrique had fielded a strange eleven with Marco Asensio as the false 9, flanked by Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo and it didn’t take long for them to hit.
RB Liepzig’s Olmo scored the opener in the 11th minute and the floodgates opened from there. Asensio scored ten minutes later and Torres scored twice on either side of the halves. Gavi, substitutes Carlos Soler, and Alvaro Morata both got on the score sheet and it was a wrap.
What do we expect on Thursday from an unusual world cup that is serving surprises?