Russia 5 : 0 Saudi Arabia. Until the 91st minute the most interesting thing in this game was the font on the Russian’s shirts. The Saudis have the ball away for fun, and were rudimentary across the back. The goals in the 91st and 93rd were good, but that doesn’t mean Russia were.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 14, 2018
Egypt 0:1 Uruguay. The goal was a great header but Uruguay didn’t deserve it. Often too narrow, with no midfield worth remembering, Egypt contained them, which says a lot when /you’re defending against Suarez and Cavani. Did Egypt play for the point? And surely Salah was needed?— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 15, 2018
Morocco 0:1 Iran. Cool heads did not prevail. Two teams light on skill, heavy with heart & way too willing to maim. It’s a shame because it could have been a fast, open game. Instead the referee was more out of breath from blowing for fouls than any of the players. OG says it all— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 15, 2018
Portugal 3:3 Spain.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 15, 2018
Spain were clearly the better team.
But Ronaldo is Portuguese.
An amazing game. Beyond amazing. This is World Cup football. Likely the best team in the world. Against a team with the best player in the world.
A. Maz. Ing.
30 other teams shudder.
France 2:1 Australia. Great organisation and fitness can win games. But not when you can only do it for 75 mins. That was the story for the Aussies against a deeply underwhelming French side without urgency or invention. The French pen was not a pen, I don’t care what VAR showed— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 16, 2018
Argentina 1:1 Iceland.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 16, 2018
Quite rightly all the talk will be of Iceland. Tight, well-drilled system, fearless in attack and a great keeper.
But how are Argentina such a mess? Aguero and Messi barely connected. The defence was amateur. And no creative midfielder to speak of. Odd.
Peru 0:1 Denmark.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 16, 2018
Lots of huffing and puffing in this game but a dearth of quality, especially in the last third for both sides. One good break led to the goal. Along the way, there was one God-awful penalty miss by Peru; it’s well worth catching it on replay.
Croatia 2:0 Nigeria.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 16, 2018
On the surface this came down to an OG and a daft foul that led to a penalty. But Nigeria just had no answer to how well-organised Croatia’s midfield were. There’s nothing more to say, they were simply out played. Comprehensively.
I missed the Costa Rica vs Serbia game because I was playing (we won)!
Germany 0:1 Mexico.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 17, 2018
An extraordinary result and a great game. Germany just had no response to how the Mexicans attacked in the first half. Three men up front? Brave. And it worked. Mexico sat way too deep in the second half but their five-man defence held. Just.
Brazil 1:1 Switzerland.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 17, 2018
So, that’s how you make them look ordinary. Attack their flanks. Be strong in the tackle. Keep them outside the box. Hope they don’t find their magic (because nothing can stop magic).
But take nothing away from Switzerland. They were worthy of the draw
Sweden 1:0 South Korea.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 18, 2018
I think South Korea could have played for 100 hours & not come close to scoring. Sweden weren’t much better but at least they had a few shots. SK lined up with a 4–1-4-1. Against Sweden. You get the feeling they’re going to get spanked by Germany & Mexico
Belgium 3:0 Panama.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 18, 2018
It wouldn’t be Belgium if this emphatic win wasn’t tinged with some doubt. Why, for instance, does it take them 60 minutes to start playing? And why were they so static in the first half? Very odd.
That said, the goals illustrated their quality.
Tunisia 1:2 England.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 18, 2018
England shone, then underwhelmed. A scorching start led to an extended period of wastefulness. Tunisia sorted their act out. Dropped deeper. Cut off England’s diagonals. Worryingly, England had no response. A winning goal in the 91st minute was lucky
Colombia 1:2 Japan.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 19, 2018
Kudos to Colombia. After going down to 10 men in the 3rd minute they proceeded to play with pace and courage. No sitting back and defending deep. But by 75 minutes they started to tire. And the otherwise limited Japanese made their advantage pay. Fast game.
Poland 1:2 Senegal.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 19, 2018
Poland’s best Sunday league team did their best for 85 minutes. They’d clearly never played together before and no one told them they have one of the world’s best forwards up top. On 85 someone told them when the goal was; something they promptly forgot...
Russia 3:1 Egypt.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 19, 2018
Russia played this well. Sat back & let Egypt do the work knowing full well that they didn’t have enough in the final third. The own goal was a little lucky but after that the 2nd & 3rd were well taken. Salah could only do so much. The wind is in Russian sails
Portugal 1:0 Morocco.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 20, 2018
Morocco really didn’t deserve to lose this. They were positive, energetic & had a fair few shots on target. But deserve’s got nothing to do with it. And when you’re playing against the best player in the world, you can’t randomly decide not to track him.
Uruguay 1:0 Saudi Arabia.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 20, 2018
I have a horrible feeling Uruguay are going to do well in this tournament. They defend solidly and have two world class strikers who only need a sniff. That said, Saudi were pedestrian. They looked resigned to going home early.
Iran 0:1 Spain.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 20, 2018
Iran got their tactics spot-on: use what you have. They defended with a 5-4-1, often a 5-5-0. And they broke with vigour. They could have had 2, perhaps 3. Spain, for their part, essentially had 1. And a ricochet at that. This was a brave performance. Iran rocked
Denmark 1:1 Australia.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 21, 2018
On balance, Australia played better. Their 4-4-2 looked a little too defensive in the first half but they made it work in the second. Their balls in the final third, though, were below par. And their goal, a harsh penalty. That may be the of it for them.
France 1:0 Peru.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 21, 2018
Peru’s World Cup reinforced the adage that you have to take your chances when you get them. They didn’t have many in this game, that said. France, rejuvenated through Giroud, got their goal and then shut them out. Peru’s relentless energy came to nothing, sadly
Argentina 0:3 Croatia.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 21, 2018
Extraordinarily poor defending culminating in one of the worst keeper errors you’ll ever see started this annihilation. A petulant game that deserved more cards with Messi anonymous. Taking Aguero off was daft. Argentina need to rebuild. Croatia look tasty
Brazil 2:0 Costa Rica— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 22, 2018
Brazil should’ve killed this game way before their 1st goal on 91. They’ve not started to click yet bt perhaps they did for the last 15 of this. CR tried to kill the game with ‘injuries’. Neymar’s dive for a penalty was ridiculous. Coutinho’s the difference
Nigeria 2:0 Iceland.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 22, 2018
As Iceland waned, Nigeria waxed. By the end, Nigeria’s quality shone through & Iceland’s organisation finally let them down; the gap between defence & midfield made no sense. This might have been the 1st game Iceland were favourites of. The pressure showed.
Serbia 1:2 Switzerland.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 22, 2018
Fantastic match. Fast. Physical. Skilful. Back & forth. The Serbs started well. It looked unlikely the Swiss could equalise. But they did. And then Mitrovic was *blatantly* fouled in the box. No penalty given. Not even VAR. Shaqiri’s winner was well taken
Belgium 5:2 Tunisia.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 23, 2018
Although Belgium always looked stronger, the game was close until the end of the 1st half. But Belgium’s third goal just before half time effectively killed the game. In the 2nd half Tunisia had little to offer & Belgium could have scored way more.
South Korea 1:2 Mexico— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 23, 2018
SK woke up for this game (compared to their previous one) but Mexico just had too much quality. The score makes the match seem closer than it was. SK just didn’t have enough threat. Mexico continue to look impressive, occasional defensive madness excepting
Germany 2:1 Sweden.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 23, 2018
I missed the England vs Panama game (6-1) because, let's face it, it should not have been a tough match, and clearly wasn't.
Japan 2:2 Senegal.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 24, 2018
What a fast game. At first it looked Senegal had the edge but as it went on Japan got back into it. Then Senegal got back. Then Japan. Two goals were down to awful goal keeping but otherwise they were evenly matched. This group (H) is wide open. Love it.
Poland 0:3 Colombia.— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 24, 2018
I have a new favourite team. Colombia were scintillating. Organised at the back. Extraordinarily fast on attack. Utterly sublime with the ball at their feet. A delight. Poland, well, I called them Sunday League last time; they weren’t much better this time
I missed Uruguay vs Russia (3-0) and Saudi Arabia vs Egypt (2-1).
Iran 1:1 Portugal— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 25, 2018
Spain 2:2 Morocco
You get the sense the luck is with Spain. 3 mins into added time Iran equalise pushing Portugal into 2nd place; they’ll now have the harder match in the next round, Uruguay. Spain face Russia who earlier returned to being a shambles. Amazing
I seem to have missed all four games on this day. Perhaps I needed some time off...
- Australia 0:2 Peru
- Denmark 0:0 France
- Nigeria 1:2 Argentina
- Iceland 1:2 Croatia
South Korea 1:0 Germany— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 27, 2018
Mexico 0:3 Sweden
Let’s be clear, SK were awful. And yet Germany made their defence look like a fortress. If SK could pass a final ball they’d have won 7-0.
Mexico were rubbish. All that promise destroyed by a parsimonious defense. The Swedes are a force
Serbia 0:2 Brazil— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 27, 2018
Switzerland 2:2 Costa Rica
Brazil turned up. Serbia looked devoid of ideas but the real story seemed to be a well-organised Brazil team, perhaps aided by the reckless Marcello going off after 3 minutes with some bizarre injury.
Switzerland continue to impress.
Senegal 0:1 Colombia— Pritpal S Tamber (@pstamber) June 28, 2018
Japan 0:1 Poland
Poland’s Sunday league team finally won a game. That wouldn’t be news were it not for the consequences. By winning, second place was a tie on points, games won, drawn & games. So, what’s the next differentiator? Yellow cards, apparently. Ugh
I had the England game 'in the background' so didn't really watch it:
- Panama 1:2 Tunisia
- England 0:1 Belgium