FIFA Fever: Croatia thrashes Argentina 3-0; Marches on to knockout stages
France ended Peru's aspirations for the WC, defeating them 1-0. The goal scored by K Mbappe breezed past Peru's defenses into their goal and was enough to secure the win for France. The following game between Denmark and Australia proceeded into a dog fight with neither team gaining an edge on the other. The match ended with a draw putting both team's chances of reaching the knockout stages in jeopardy. In the final match for the day, Argentina was devastated by Croatia in a 3-0 upset that left football legend Diego Maradona in tears. Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic were the goal scorers for Croatia. France and Croatia will move on to the knockout stages whereas Argentina's chances to qualify will largely depend on Iceland's performance in the coming game.
After he was repeatedly fouled in the match against Switzerland, Brazil’s Neymar drew the attention of Brazillian media when he left a practice session limping. Questions have been raised concerning the Paris Saint-Germain star’s condition and whether he will make it to the starting line-up for Brazil’s game against Costa Rica. The Brazilian captain was fouled ten times by Swiss players, the most ever since 1998. This isn’t the first time in the tournament that a star player has been the target of violence as Real Madrid star Ronaldo was also fouled time and again, in the match between Portugal and Spain.
In a bid to stop them from launching lethal attacks, Switzerland took a calculated risk by aggressively disrupting Brazil’s midfield. This paid off as Switzerland tied the match with one of the top contenders for this year’s WC. Considering this failure in strategy, Brazillian coach Tite may take measures from this happening again ahead of their match versus Costa Rica.
If we presume that Neymar is unfit to lead Brazil in the approaching game the onus of leading the offense against Costa Rica will probably fall on Phillippe Coutinho. The 26 year old winger was responsible for Brazil’s lone goal against Switzerland. What kind of performance can we expect from him today?
Costa Rica couldn’t put a dent in Serbia’s defense. As the game progressed their attempts at goal became more frantic and risky. A careless foul by David Guzman cost them the game as Serbia’s captain Aleksandar Kolarov converted the free kick into a goal. Guzman was substitued but by then the damage had already been done. After facing so much trouble in such an evenly matched game, Costa Rica’s chances at victory against Brazil are looking slim.
Iceland has been thrust into international spotlight after the media and football fans regaled them for match Argentian point for point in their debut game in the WC. Call it beginners luck but the debutants were able to hold their own in the field with Argentina. Argentina having tied with Iceland and their subsequent defeat by Croatia has put Iceland in an ideal position to reach the knockout stage.
Icelandic players may find themselves the subject of more attention that can deal with. Iceland player Rurik Gislason who made a brief appearance against Argentina gained 330,000 followers on Instagram overnight following the match.
Nigeria failed to make any impressions on football fans after their unspectacular game against Croatia. Failing to convert 3 scoring opportunities instead blundering with an own goal, their’s was one of the poorest performances amongst the African teams participating in the WC. Unlike Iceland, Nigeria has been a part of 5 WCs, the last being in 2014. Will this gap in experience give them an edge against the newbie Iceland? Catch their game at 8.30 P.M IST to find out.
In the final match for the day, the remaining teams from Group E, Switzerland and Serbia will face each other. Both have started the WC on a positive note and will be looking to consolidate their position ahead of the knockout stages. The obvious favourite for the game is Switzerland who managed to draw the game with Brazil. On the other hand Serbia, who are leading their Group in points may be in a position to dictate the pace of the game. Initially, the pressure will be on Switzerland to break through Serbia’s defenses and grab an early goal. Both teams favour the defensive 4-2-3-1 formation. Which team will be the first to adapt to their opponents ahead of their match? Find out at 11.30 P.M IST.
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