Saturday, November 26, 2022

World Cup News: US Stonewalls England Stars; Japan Stuns Germany; Ronaldo Makes History In Portugal Win; Courtois Saves Belgium; Spain Puts Seven Past Costa Rica; Richarlison Brace Leads Brazil

The shining stars of the Premier League were checked by an aggressive United States men’s team in a goalless draw on Friday. With an enormous talent advantage, the seasoned England team could not overcome the aggressive play of the Americans. Both sides struggled to create chances with Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic hitting the crossbar with the match’s best chance for the US.

The US finished with just one shot on goal with England putting just three attempts on target. England Manager Gareth Southgate came under criticism after the match for not employing Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold to help open up the US defense. Neither Premier League star saw the pitch on Friday. England still appears a lock to advance absent a heavy defeat against Wales next week.

The Welsh fell 2-0 to Iran on Friday as the Iranians scored the latest winning goal in tournament history. The match was into the eighth minute of final stoppage time when Iran scored its first goal and then added a second three minutes later. The tournament is seeing extended stoppage times as officials are putting increased emphasis on recapturing lost regulation minutes. Wales played with ten men from the 86th minute onward after a red card was assessed against former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy. The US needs to beat the Iranians Tuesday to make it to the knockout round.

While the US draw with group favorite England was impressive, it was Japan which delivered the tournament’s second shocker when the Blue Samurai defeated Germany 2-0. Japan came from behind following Germany’s first half penalty kick by Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan. Germany was unable to convert its chances as the Germans launched 26 shots, nine of which were on target. Chelsea striker Kai Havertz had a first half goal pulled back due to an offside call against Germany.

Former Chelsea and current Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty kick and another former Chelsea player, Mich Batshuayi, scored the game winner in Belgium’s 1-0 win over Canada.

Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, celebrated his newly won freedom from Manchester United by becoming the first man to score in five World Cups when he scored a penalty kick in a 3-2 Portugal win over Ghana. Ronaldo’s now former Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes had two assists in Portugal’s win.

Spain scored the nation’s most ever goals in a World Cup match in a 7-0 rout of Costa Rica. Former Manchester City forward Ferran Torress scored twice for the Spaniards while Gavi became the youngest goal scorer at the World Cup since Brazil’s Pele.

Brazil began play in this year’s tournament with a 2-0 defeat of Serbia as Tottenham Hotspur’s Richarlison scored both goals for the Selecao. Richarlison’s second goal on a bicycle kick is perhaps the goal of the tournament to date.

Robert Lewandowski finally scored his first World Cup goal in Poland’s 2-0 win over a Saudi Arabia side which had shocked Argentina days earlier. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny stopped a penalty kick in the Poland win.

France became the first club to seal their advancement to the knockout round as Kylian Mbappe scored twice in a 2-1 defeat of Denmark for France’s second consecutive group win. A Lionel Messi goal, meanwhile, helped Argentina rebound from its loss to Saudi Arabia and avoid an early tournament exit with a 2-0 win over Mexico. 

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