WORLD CUP BITES: MATCH DAY ONE

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There’s been little sleep since Saturday morning. With so many games, it’s essential to get a taste of each plus an idea of what’s in store. So this is where World Cup Bites comes into play. When the fixtures thin out, we’ll cover more analysis. But for now? We’re going to enjoy this lack of sleep and ramble a little about each game. Because they’re all incredible.

The biggest highlight so far? The heart of some of these sides is UNREAL. Not just heart, they’ve done their homework. Teams who people label “easy beats”, have come along, studied and pulled out some absolutely ripper displays. The World Cup hey.

 

GROUP A

France 4 – 0 South Korea

It was magic. France came out with a point to prove and proved it. Once the early goal went into the back of the net, there was never any doubt France were going to get anything but a win. While it was Renard who literally stole the headlines, the work of Henry cannot be underestimated. South Korea didn’t stand a chance.

 

Norway 3 – 0 Nigeria

It’s was an end to end affair, which was refreshing to watch in the first half. The second half? I wouldn’t know, there were too many stoppages that allowed me to slip back into sleep. Nigeria’s downfall? Cheap turnovers. Losing the ball in key areas lead to Norway capitalising.

 

MATCH DAY TWO PREDICTIONS

Nigeria v South Korea

The story once again will be cheap turnovers. If Nigeria give them away? South Korea will be ready to pounce quicker than a dog eating breakfast.

 

France v Norway

A blockbuster in the making. Norway have shown their discipline without the ball, whilst looking to go forward and capitalise with an uncanny ability to finish. While France look to have packed their goalscoring boots. With the crowd behind them though? It would take a mad person to bet against this French team right now.

 

GROUP B

 

Germany 1 – 0 China

I’m not sure whether it’s been talked about enough, but China going into this with a 442 was what made a HUGE impact to the result. The threat up top with the traditional two forwards was excellent, even if they finished as poorly as a burnt meat pie. Meanwhile Germany couldn’t find their rhythm. Credit to China, they completely ruined it. Germany were lucky to sneak away with a goal and win.

 

Spain 3 – 1 South Africa

This is a game I feel absolutely ripped off by. South Africa put in the hard work, got a head and looked the better side. Some VAR decisions and the change in handball rule all worked against Banyana Banyana in a way accidentally putting in salt instead of sugar ruins weet-bix (a moment to remember that horrible experience, it’s bad). Spain didn’t look likely to score a goal outside of two soft penalties.

 

MATCH DAY TWO PREDICTIONS

Germany v Spain

The thieves play each other. Both sides were on the ropes despite going in as “heavy” favourites to their group one match. Honesty? My salty side would love a draw for justice on how I feel following match day one.

 

South Africa v China

It’s going to be South Africa’s speed on the transition that could catch an otherwise organised China off guard. China will hopefully have some more shooting practice under their belt, so will be looking to actually put away their chances. The pace and South Africa’s ability to pull a goal out of thin air could be a deal maker here.

 

GROUP C

 

AUSTRALIA 1 – 2 ITALY

The mongrel. Australia lost that in the midfield. Add on a highline, putting pressure on the defenders all game long and Italy capitalising on some mistakes? Italy put in the work to win this, they had the second half in the same way as I had a cuppa tea at half time.

 

BRAZIL 3 – 0 JAMAICA

Christiane ages better than fine wine. Legit, she was in form. And when she got her hattrick? Subbed off immediately. I love it. Up the other end was just as exciting. With Shaw leading the line, Jamaica were giving as much as they got whilst just missing out on the pastries. The game of the round for me. Just an absolute joy to watch, even in the face of my country losing mere moments before hand.

 

MATCH DAY TWO PREDICTIONS

Australia v Brazil

Oh. If Australia can’t find the mongrel in them against Brazil, they never will. Brazil looked to have found their joy in the game against Jamaica. Will that translate successfully here? All I know is that more mistakes in the back by either side, it’ll be capitalised.

 

Jamaica v Italy

Italy will have a bee in their bonnet in all the right ways given their last gasp victory. Both have a lot to play for here. How organised will Italy be in the face of players thundering at them with the ball at their feet? Or will Bonansea fire Italy to a nearly sure thing of the knockouts?

 

GROUP D

England 2 – 1 Scotland

England have come out to play. Whilst Scotland put up a fight, and nearly a fright in the second half. The first half was the English. Absolutely lethal in front of goal. The right side of England was something special with the combination of Bronze and Parris like that of cheese and tomato on a toastie. Special.

 

Argentina 0 – 0 Japan

Mate. This is a different Argentina side than the Cup of Nations and they’ve kept the might of Japan at bay. Why? They’ve found a midfield general and organisation there. Keep in mind, Japan is often a slow starter in the competition. But this is a special moment from Argentina, like they’re growing up from uncooked cake batter into a lush birthday cake. It’s tasty and I want seconds.

 

MATCH DAY TWO PREDICTIONS

Japan v Scotland

Japan haven’t clicked yet, nor shaken the monkey off their back with scoring a goal in the tournament yet. Rattled? Rarely would you call Japan that. But if Scotland can keep their shape? Japan may well be rattled because Scotland have the players up top who can turn it on in a moment.

 

England v Argentina

It’s all about England’s right side and who leads the line. If England have a forward who can put them into the back of the net, then it’s coming home. If not? Argentina can stoke up the BBQ and get dancing, so long as they can handle what England’s right flank will bring.

 

GROUP E

Canada 1 – 0 Cameroon

A goal on half time after Cameroon had done so well to keep the Canadians at bay is a brutal start to the campaign. Again, I may have fallen asleep by the second half and was barely aroused by the commentator raising their voice with anything interesting. I’m sure it was an interesting game. But guys, I really needed sleep and after seeing Buchanan score on half time, figured it would end in heartbreak for Cameroon, despite some fine looking counters.

 

Netherlands 1 – 0 New Zealand

Heartbreak. An absolute heartbreaker. New Zealand fought, looked great and created some magic. But the Netherlands, on the death, snatch it from our Kiwi neighbors. There’s a lot to say tactically about this match, but heartbreaker is all that needs to be said. 

 

MATCH DAY TWO PREDICTIONS

Netherlands v Cameroon

It’ll be all heart. The Dutch again, can control play. But. Cameroon are here to play. They managed to keep Canada at bay for lengths and look difficult to break through the centre. The Netherlands will be hoping their flanks can give them wings to fly.

 

Canada v New Zealand

I feel like Canada so far have this air about them that they’ll win no matter what, but almost as if they’re not trying yet. The other side, there’s New Zealand, who are written off by many at the start but put in the heart to make you think “yep they could do the unexpected”. Either way, both sides struggle to score. Strong defences will prevail, but can someone please composure in front of the net? Probably Sinclair.

 

GROUP F

Chile 0 – 2 Sweden

I watched the first half of this the same way someone watches a game on the radio. With my eyes closed. By the sounds of things, and when I did force my eyes open, it was Sweden camping out in their attacking half but Endler stopping anything from happening. A lightning delay in the second half and a sneaky look at the result having not watched after half time and Sweden obviously struck gold after the break.

United States  13 – 0 Thailand

Probably the only game I’m going to refuse to watch now that I know the score. I don’t know what went wrong for Thailand, but obviously something seriously worked for the US here. It’s a little frightening the blow out here given how closely contested every other match has been so far.

MATCH DAY TWO PREDICTIONS

Sweden  – Thailand

Can Thailand bounce back from a flogging? Can Sweden find the back of the net? Who knows. But if Sweden are looking for those crosses into the box, they’re likely to find some goals too. Thailand will need to find some guts and determination to make it through alive.

United States  – Chile

The US could possibly be coming into this with a false sense of illusion. However I doubt that. Chile will be desperate to put in a display that doesn’t see them a battering ram too. It’ll probably once again come down to Endler in goal, because Chile looked like they were struggling to thread more than three passes in a row.

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