The World Cup continues after Mexico stun the defending champions
Day 4 Review: Mexico stun Germany, Switzerland hold Brazil
Day 4 of the World Cup saw the first big shock of the tournament and what a shock- Germany beaten! In Moscow fans packed the Luzhniki Stadium with Germany fans expecting another routine win, Mexico had other ideas. Mexico’s quicksilver attack made Germany midfield due Khedira & Kroos look slow as they were constantly caught out by Mexico’s incisive counter attacking and promising striker Hirving Lozano turned Mesut Ozil inside out to give Mexico a deserved first half lead. Germany improved after the break but couldn’t fashion a clear-cut chance with Julian Brandt’s flashing drive the closest they got and Mexico held out for a shock 1-0 win.
Earlier in a more low-key encounter Serbia faced 2014 surprise package Costa Rica. The Serb’s impressed with their strong defending and a new creative talent in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic but it was the old money- free kick specialist Aleksandr Kolarov whose beautiful 30 yard effort beat Keylor Navas to secure a deserved 1-0 win.
Finally in the late game Brazil made their tournament bow and started playing the beautiful samba football of old but Switzerland are always tough nut to crack and it took a special long range strike from Philip Coutinho to break the deadlock. But after a scintillating 30 minutes Brazil took their foot off the gas and Switzerland regained their confidence and 5 minutes after the break a pinpoint Xherdan Shaqiri corner found Steven Zuber who buried his header in the Brazilian net and despite the hint of a push on a Brazilian defender the goal stood and the Swiss were level. Brazil pushed for the winner but Neymar was closely marshalled by Valon Behrami and despite a series of late chances Brazil couldn’t force the winner and it finished 1-1.
Day 5 Preview
Sweden vs South Korea
The other game in Germany’s group (or should we say Mexico’s group) sees Sweden take on South Korea. The Swedes survived the toughest of the qualifying campaigns, securing a playoff behind France and ahead of Holland. In the playoffs they saw off Italy 1-0 over 2 games, proving what we already knew: Sweden can defend. the problem is they don’t score many but in playmaker Emil Forsberg they have a promising playmaker who could give them a spark. As for South Korea they too can defend and counter at pace and in Tottenham’s Son Heung -Min a real goal threat. With Mexico’s shock win yesterday both these 2 need 3 points today to stay in contention so this may be a more open than either side would like.
Prediction: Sweden 2-1 South Korea
Belgium vs Panama
Can Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ finally deliver in a major tournament? Well they’ll have to do it without captain Vincent Kompany for now at least as he nurses a groin injury and question marks remain over star-man Eden Hazard. Panama should represent an open goal of an opening game- Panama have little quality but plenty of pride after securing their first ever World Cup qualification. Belgium will win this game is just a case of how many.
Prediction: Belgium 3-0 Panama
England vs Tunisia
So to England and the big question- Will the Three Lions finally roar? Gone are the golden generation and big names but England have a new manager, a new team and for once modest expectations and a defined system and style of play. Everything seems to be looking good for England but we’ve said that before…England don’t lack for firepower with Harry Kane amongst the golden boot favoruites and there’s plenty of goals in the supporting cast to boot! The question is do they have the passing players to knit the side together? Tunisia will look for a draw and try to frustrate England and hit with occasional counter attacks. The longer Tunisa keep it tight the more English nerves will start to jangle, I supect this game won’t be pretty but I think England will do enough, just.
Prediction: England 1-0 Tunisia