luni, 25 iunie 2018

El tigre esta vivo

England - Panama 6-1 (Stones '8 '40, Kane pen '22 pen '45 '62, Lingard '36 - Baloy '78)
Japan - Senegal 2-2 (Inui '34, Honda '78 - Mane '11, Wague '71)
Poland  - Columbia 0-3 (Mina '40, Falcao'70, Cuadrado '75)

You wouldn't believe it going by the reputation, but I sometimes find it incredible how moody this country is. The victory against Panama yesterday was nothing short of a national celebration, with flags on display on cars and balconies, people smiling and cheering everywhere and England shirts proudly brandished across the land. Brexit? Pound dropping? The March on Westminster the day before? Pressure on the NHS? Fuck all that, we beat Panama! After the likely defeat against Belgium the regular program will resume. In truth, England did look like they were enjoying themselves and, poor quality opposition aside, they might really feel able to contend this year. Maybe because it looks more like a team and less like a collection of egos? Happy for Jesse, his goal will certainly be a 'goal of the tournament' contender, happy for Panama who did manage to get their first goal in the World Cup and, with a bit of luck, they might even get a point against Tunisia, if they manage to come up with something other than 'push everyone to the ground' as defensive tactics.

Group H is the most exciting of the World Cup, with Japan the big surprise. Senegal played better than against Poland, I thought, and they did seem to be the superior side, but not by a large enough margin as to win the game. Only saw the highlight of what looked to be a very good and disputed game, but the draw means that Japan, not Senegal, is now the favorite to qualify.

Because yes, I don't think Senegal will beat Columbia, specially after the good display the South Americans put in to batter Poland to pieces. Very disappointing performance from what's supposed to be something of a golden generation for Poland. Non-existent against Columbia, while a team boasting Jamie Rodriguez, Cuadrado and Falcao in their attacking line-up ran riot and might as well win the group despite losing the first game. Doesn't make much difference, the choice is between Belgium and England in the knock-out round, they only need to beat Senegal. Which is likely, but not easy. Let's see which Falcao turns up.

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