Welcome to the Group H highlight of the FIA World Cup 2018.
This is the last group of the tournament. The occupant of this group has some advantage of seeing how the other group fare. While it is still too early to make a call of a strategic decision, it is a nice one to have a kind of vantage view.
Let’s do the Group H highlight.
Group H Highlight
Columbia vs Japan
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- Columbia qualification journey is not flashy. Finish only fourth in the South American section, Columbia just barely escape has to play off to come to the world cup.
- Reached the Quarter Final in 2014’s world cup, Columbia looks like a sure thing to qualified from the group stage.
- Japan always qualified for the world cup from 1986. And made it past the group stage in 2002 and 2010. But only in April 2018, the head coach Vahid Halilhodsiz was fired and a new coach with a new strategy, Akira Nishino, is in charge.
- Japan star Keisuke Honda (Pachuca) is nearing the 100-cap mark for Japan and a good scorer. The captain, Makoto Hasebe, also have more than 100 international caps for his country. Also with an average of 28 years old, Japan surely indeed have many experience player.
One fun fact about Columbia is that for the last 18 world cup, their matches never ended without a goal. I expect very tactical and speedy attack to Japan. Columbia win for 2-0.
- Wow! Drama, drama and drama:
- Just 3 minutes from kick off, a fast attack from Japan force Carlos Sanchez to become the 2nd goalkeeper, a.k.a. using his hand to deflect the ball. As it was intentional and he did it in the penalty area, and also in front of him, referee Damir Skomina (Slovenia) have no choice except to give a straight red card. The first for this World Cup, the 2nd fastest red card in the history. And Columbia downed to 10 men.
- To add insult to injury, Kagawa of Japan converts the penalty kick awarded to a goal that made Japan lead 1-0.
- At 39′, a trickery awards Columbia a free kick at a very good position just a few meters in the corner of the penalty box. And the free kick converted to an equalizer goal by Juan Quintero. 1-1.
- That was a clever free-kick as Quintero make a low on the ground kick as the wall of defender leap up (anticipating high curve free kick) and the ball just rolled into the net, belatedly held by the goalie.
- And that was another drama. As the ball roll into the goal, the goalkeeper of Japan, Eiji Kawashima, tried to convince the referee with his outright lie that the ball never crossed the line. What a blatant lie as in the replay you can see literally he talked to the ball, “Oh, no, not behind the line, ball… Let me put you a bit further back here to a better position. Ah… That’s right..no goal” Where the hell is sportsmanship, man?
- So, for 87 minutes, Columbia just play with 10 men. In the rest of first half, Columbia is still in contention. But as soon as the 2nd half kicks off, Japan just dominating totally.
- Japan makes history as the first Asian nation who beat Sout American nation in World Cup! Well done to the Samurai Blue!
Poland vs Senegal
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- Poland was seasoned world-cup participant. The 2-times third-place finished (1974, 1982) won the European group qualification ahead of Denmark.
- But Poland only scored in 2 out of 8 most-recent games in the world cup. And rely heavily on their superstar player Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich). Lewandowski scored 16 out of 28 goals Poland made in the qualification. Can a “one-man show” team do some damages in the world stages?
- Senegal is full of surprise. Only qualified once at 2002 but they end up in quarter-finals. What a performance. Even beat the champion, France, on their first match in world cup 2002.
- Motored by Sadio Mané (Liverpool), we will see another good quality football from Senegal.
I will call this Senegal’s win. 1-0.
And hope they can at least match their quarterfinals performance.
- Senegal becomes the first African team who win at World Cup 2018. At opening match of 2002, Senegal also scored a victory against the reigning champion, France then.
And to make it sweet, the captain who played at that 2002 game is now the head coach, Aliou Cisse.
- Senegal victory started at 37 when shot to the goal from Idrissa Gueye deflected on Thiago Cionek(Poland) and becomes the first goal.
- Senegal’s second goal was a total blunder by Poland defender where a back pass to the backline was stolen. Even the goalkeeper needs to go almost at the half field only to see his post got broken into.
- After trailing 2-0 almost the whole game, Poland’s ball possession domination (57%) harvested a goal. A beautiful header from Krychowiak at 86′ giving Poland some consolation goal.
- Aliou Cisse becomes the latest internet mem with his powerful celebration routine.
I am copying you, Aliou Cissé of Senegal! — World Cup manager wins the heart of the internet, becomes glorious meme https://t.co/GrQAbFe8Gi
— Denis Kristanda (@xtanda) June 20, 2018
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Standing after the first match
The group standing after their first match in group H. Thanks for reading