World Cup recap - Day 10
Day Ten results
Netherlands 2 - 0 Qatar
Ecuador 1 - 2 Senegal
Wales 0 - 3 England
Iran 0 - 1 USA
The first teams took their place in the Round of 16 overnight as the group stage drew to a close for the eight sides that took the field in last night’s matches.
The Netherlands were able to see off host nation Qatar, who will now exit the tournament as the first host nation not to win a game at their home World Cup.
The win means Netherlands will now play against the USA in their Round of 16 match after the Americans saw off a brave Iranian outfit 1 - 0 in their final game of Group B.
England recorded a relatively easy 3 - 0 victory over Wales and consigned their British neighbours to an unceremonious exit in their first World Cup for 64 years without having recorded a win.
The win booked the English a ticket into the Round of 16 against Senegal, who beat Ecuador 2 - 1 to advance to the knockout stages. The win sent fans of the Senegalese into raptures as they booked their spot in the knockout stages for the first time since 2002.
Here are five things we learned from last night’s games, as well as a look ahead to tonight, where Australia will have their biggest chance in 16 years to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Five Things We Learned
Senegal’s Squad Steps Up in the Absence of Injured Star
When Senegal’s best player, Sadio Mané, limped off for Bayern Munich just before the World Cup, many people wrote off Senegal’s chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. However, in Mané’s absence, his Senegalese teammates have stepped up to fill the void left by their injured talisman and have registered five separate goalscorers for their five goals so far at this World Cup.
Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou, Bamba Dieng, Ismaila Sarr, and Kalidou Koulibaly have each scored a goal for Senegal as the African Champions progressed to the knockout rounds in second place in Group A.
Needing a win against Ecuador in their final game, the Senegalese were able to score two goals and keep a clean sheet as Ecuador fell agonisingly short of a place in the knockout stages.
Senegal now goes on to play England in a game they will be the underdogs but feel they have a solid chance of getting a result against the English.
If Senegal can repeat their performance from their opening game, where they were arguably the better side against the Netherlands for large parts of the match, they will feel they are a good chance to get the first goal against the English.
With all of the pressure that will mount on the English players if that does happen, Senegal will feel they are a legitimate chance of qualifying and taking on likely opponents France in a quarter-final if they can get an early goal against the English and turn the game in their favour.
It Took a Half, But England Finally Opened the Floodgates
It took more than a half of football for England to score their first goal against Wales, but when they did, the English opened the game right up from that point on.
When Marcus Rashford’s scored from a free-kick five minutes after halftime, England was good value for their lead. Wales had relatively little possession and only a few half chances to score in the first half, and England showed no signs of slowing down after halftime.
When Welsh veteran Gareth Bale came off the pitch at halftime, potentially for the last time in his international career, it was a sign that the Welsh weren’t playing the type of football that booked them a place at this year’s World Cup.
Bale was Wales’ equal top scorer in qualifying, and his departure from the game signalled that Welsh manager Rob Page knew that he had to try something new if he was going to get a result against Wales’ British neighbours.
But unfortunately for the Welsh, Bale’s departure only spurred England on.
The Three Lions scored another two relatively simple goals once Rashford’s free-kick had gone in, which sunk Welsh hearts as the realisation that they were not going to beat their fierce rival well and truly set in.
England will be looking for a better first-half performance in their next game against Senegal.
The Senegalese were impressive in their opening performance against the Netherlands and Gareth Southgate’s England team will want to click things into gear much sooner against Senegal than they did this morning.
For the Welsh, they go home after a disappointing World Cup, which didn’t see them win a single game. It will mark the start of a new era for Welsh football as they begin their campaign for the next World Cup. Ageing duo Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale are unlikely to have as meaningful of a role in their next bid for qualification, and Wales will look to some of its younger players to step up in their place.
It will be interesting to see how the Welsh respond. Having waited since 1958 for a place in the World Cup finals, fans of the Welsh team will be hoping that they don’t have to wait as long for their next chance at World Cup glory.
USA Emerge Victorious Against Gallant Iran
It’s been well documented that the Iranian players are playing for more reasons than just on-field success at this World Cup.
With so much turmoil going on back in their home nation, the Iranian’s will to win and desire to give their supporters something to cheer about was on show in their brave 1 - 0 defeat to the USA.
A draw would have been enough for Iran, who attacked the American goal-mouth until the last minute of added time. Sadly for the supporters of the Iranian team, they were not able to equalise and book their place in the knockout stages of the competition.
The USA will progress, though, and face the Netherlands in the Round of 16. The Americans will be sweating on the fitness of their best player Christian Pulisic, though, after he was injured whilst scoring the winning goal against Iran.
Pulisic was substituted at halftime, and if he cannot play against the Netherlands, it will be a massive blow for the USA, who has been one of the surprise performers of the tournament so far.
For Iran, it was a disappointing end to their World Cup campaign after they finished top of their qualifying group to book their ticket to Qatar.
They would have felt they were a good chance to hold the USA to a draw and book their place in the final 16, but it wasn’t to be.
Although they haven’t gotten what they would have hoped out of this World Cup in terms of on-field success, the Iranian players earned plenty of fans with how they conducted themselves throughout this tournament.
Images of Iranian fans crying in the crowd and applauding as their players stood silent in protest during the Iranian national anthem will live long in the memory as a reminder of what the people of Iran faced during the time of the 2022 World Cup.
Hopefully, the Iranian people, who have experienced so much hardship recently, can at least be proud of their national team and its performance at this World Cup.
Qatar Bundled Out of Group Stage as the Most Unsuccessful Host Nation Ever
Much was made of the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to host nation Qatar, but at the end of their first appearance at the World Cup, they will largely be disappointed by the results their team produced. In losing all three games and scoring only a single goal, Qatar now has the unenviable record of being the first host nation not to win a single game at their home World Cup.
The Qatari’s reportedly spent US$220 billion on this World Cup, and they will have been disappointed to only come away from it with a single goal. That’s before mentioning the thousands of reported deaths that occurred whilst building the infrastructure required to hold this World Cup.
With Qatar’s World Cup now over, it’s hard to think that another country like Qatar, which traditionally doesn’t have a strong national football team, will bid to host a World Cup, having seen the financial and human cost this World Cup has had.
Cody Gakpo Continues Goal Scoring Form
One of the best things about the World Cup is seeing the emergence of the next group of stars who may not have had exposure to the highest level of football yet in their young careers. This year, one of the standout players has been the Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo, who plays for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch first division.
Since making his World Cup debut, Gakpo has scored three goals for the Netherlands, one in each of their games, to stake his claim for the tournament’s highest scorer. Gakpo currently shares the lead for the Golden Ball with France’s Kylian Mbappe, Ecuador’s Enner Valencia and England’s Marcus Rashford, who each have three goals.
Gakpo’s good form has already been enough to catch the attention of one of the world’s biggest clubs, with Manchester United manager Erik Ten Haag looking to sign Gakpo as his replacement for the recently departed Cristiano Ronaldo.
If Manchester United can sign Gakpo, it’s likely his meteoric rise will continue as he looks as if he has the talent to thrive in the Premier League.
Gakpo’s current club PSV has come out and said they have no intention of selling the young attacker. However, if his current form continues, Manchester United will only strengthen their resolve to sign the young attacker and may even have some competition from other big clubs around the world to do so.
2am AEDT - TUNISIA v FRANCE
Australians are only likely to have one eye at the most on this game that takes place at the same time as Australia’s final group game against Tunisia.
There’s a chance France will make several changes to their starting XI as they look to rest players before the knockout stages, having already booked their place in the Round of 16.
Tunisia can qualify if they beat France and results go their way in the game involving Australia. Still, they will feel deflated after their loss to the Socceroos all but ruined any chance they had of qualifying.
France has arguably been the best-performed team so far in this World Cup, with Kylian Mbappe sitting at the equal top of the goal-scoring table with three goals so far. Even if France is to rest their best players, they still have enough depth in their squad to make it incredibly difficult for Tunisia to get a result.
The French arguably boast as much squad depth as any other team at this World Cup, so if players who usually sit on the bench are given an opportunity, they will want to stake their claim for a place in the starting XI for the knockout stages.
2am AEDT - AUSTRALIA v DENMARK
The Socceroos will have their best chance in 16 years to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup when they take on Denmark in their final group game.
A draw will suffice in seeing the Socceroos through to play likely opponents Argentina, Poland or Saudi Arabia in the Round of 16.
It will be a tough task for the Socceroos, with Denmark going into the game as heavy favourites after they were able to give France a run for their money in the 2 - 1 defeat suffered during their last game.
But Graham Arnold’s men will be fired up and looking for a repeat performance of their game against Tunisia after the Socceroos fought gallantly for 90 minutes to record a famous 1 - 0 victory.
If the Socceroos can get a draw against the Danes, it will arguably be their biggest-ever achievement to qualify for the knockout stages from a group that contains two of the world’s top 10 ranked teams in France and Denmark.
The Socceroos will want to be positive in the way they go about playing against Denmark.
If Australia sits back in defence and invites pressure as they did in the first game against France, it’s likely the Danes will find a way through the Australian defence at some stage within the 90 minutes.
Australia’s best chance of qualifying is to bring the game to Denmark, as they did against Tunisia.
If Australia can score the first goal, their chances of qualifying will be significantly enhanced as the Danes will need two goals from that point to book their place in the Round of 16.
6am - AEDT - POLAND v ARGENTINA
The top spot in Group C is up for grabs when Poland takes on Argentina at 6am tomorrow.
Lionel Messi and his Argentinian teammates took a little while to get going at this World Cup, with a loss to Saudi Arabia in their first game ensuring that they had to win both of their final group games to finish top of their group.
Thanks to a goal and an assist to Lionel Messi against Mexico in Argentina’s second game, they now have the opportunity to register that required results and top their group despite a defeat in their opening game.
If Mexico beat Saudi Arabia, Poland would only need a draw to qualify for the top spot of Group C, but they will not want to rely on the results in the other game to book their spot in the knockout stages.
It would be a huge result for Poland if they can get a result against Argentina and finish top of the group.
Argentina was the second favourite to win the tournament before it started, and they will have done well to recover from a nil-all draw in their opening game if they are to finish first in Group C.
They will be buoyed by the fact that their star striker, Robert Lewandowski, has got the monkey off the back, so to speak, after scoring his first World Cup Finals goal in Poland’s last game against Saudi Arabia.
Lewandowski will want to continue his scoring run now that he has finally found the back of the net after going scoreless in the entirety of the 2018 World Cup and throughout the opening game against Mexico.
Argentina will feel they are a good chance to defeat Poland and rescue their World Cup after it looked like it might have ended in disaster following their opening defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Lionel Messi has been instrumental in helping his Argentinian side into their current position, having scored in six games in a row.
If Poland is to have any chance of stopping Messi and his teammates from leap-frogging them into the top spot in the group, they will want to ensure that Messi is kept quiet and unable to continue the scoring run that has seen him net a remarkable 12 goals in his run of scoring in six games in a row.
6am AEDT - SAUDI ARABIA v MEXICO
Saudi Arabia will be hoping they can defy the odds and book their spot in the knockout stages of the World Cup with a win against Mexico.
Going into the tournament, Saudi Arabia was the 51st-ranked side in the world, the only team in their group to sit outside the top 50. Compared with Argentina’s 3rd, Mexico’s 11th and Poland’s 26th FIFA World Ranking, the Saudis weren’t given much chance of qualifying for the Round of 16 before the competition began.
A shock win against Argentina in their first game has delivered Saudi Arabia this golden opportunity, however, and they can now book their spot in the knockout stages for the second time in their nation’s history if they win against Mexico tomorrow morning.
Standing in their way will be a Mexican team that will be bitterly disappointed to find itself at the bottom of Group C at this year’s World Cup.
Mexico will be relying on the results of the game between Argentina and Poland if they are to qualify and, at the very least, will want a comfortable win against Saudi Arabia to give them their best chance of making it through.
Going into this World Cup, Mexico was the 13th-ranked team in the World, and it will be regarded as a glaring failure if they do not qualify for the knockout stages.
Should they fail to make it out of Group C, it will be the first time since 1990 that Mexico has not made it to the Round of 16 at the World Cup. Also, it will only be the second time since 1966 that Mexico has appeared at a World Cup and failed to reach the knockout stages, a feat they have achieved nine times in that period.
Mexico has already qualified for the next World Cup, as they will co-host the tournament with the USA and Canada. With that being said, so many of Mexico’s key players are now over 31 years old and they will want to go as far as they can in this World Cup to make the most of that generation of players whilst they have the chance.
They will need a lot to go their way if they are to do so, but they can start with a win against Saudi Arabia, and maybe things will go their way.
The Socceroos game against Denmark will be the highlight of tonight’s proceedings. If Australia can qualify for the knockout stages, it will be arguably the biggest result in the Socceroos history. Let’s hope that they can get the result they need and book their place in the next round!
BEST BETS UPDATE:
At the start of the tournament, we mentioned several bets that we thought were the best value at this World Cup. As we near the end of the group stage, let’s check in and see how some of them are going.
Group A Forecast - Netherlands 1st and Senegal 2nd - $3.50 This was our first winning bet from the bets that we placed prior to the tournament beginning. Ecuador were second favourites to qualify behind the Netherlands, but a win to Senegal over Ecuador this morning delivered the Africans second place in Group A and a spot in the quarter finals.
ON TRACK Outright Winner - Brazil - $5
Brazil have so far been one of the better performing sides this World Cup.
Although an injury to superstar Neymar has threatened to halt their progress, he is likely to return for the knockout stages and Brazil have already qualified for the Round of 16, most likely in top spot from Group G.
Brazil’s price has already come in from $3.50 to win the tournament from the $5 price they were when tipped before the World Cup started. They are a good chance to see that price coming down further as their tournament continues.
There is still improvement left in the Brazilian side, who did not create as many chances in their second game without Neymar. Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimarães also played 32-minutes in the game against Serbia and looked to be much more suited to the Brazilian midfield than Fred, who has started each of Brazil’s games so far. If Guimarães starts in midfield for Brazil, they are likely to improve as Fred has been a bit disappointing in his two games so far.
Multi - Brazil, England, Netherlands and Argentina to top their group - $3.75
If Argentina can to win tonight, they will secure top spot in their group and this bet will most likely collect.
So far, England and the Netherlands have secured their spot at the top of their group, with Brazil also being in prime position to do so. Brazil would need to lose their final game to Cameroon and have Switzerland make up a difference of 4 goals against them if they were to miss qualification in the top spot.
Argentina go into tonight’s game as heavy favourites and are currently $1.40 to win the game against Poland. For the sake of the bet, it would be great if Argentina win, but if they do and Australia also qualify, the Socceroos will face Argentina in the next round.