Back at Old Trafford and back on the top of the table (at least till the other matches take place 😀)…
With a penalty before the second minute ran out, #ManU had the opening goal 🎁 for them. With the mercurial Pogba, it was a formality. And with Luke Shaw slotting in a second in the 83′, it seemed to be a straightforward victory. But it wasn’t a walk in the park for the Red Devils. De Gea left a ball to hit the woodwork and the rebound had Jamie Vardy right where he wanted to be, to pickpocket a goal right at the end.
Three points in the end, but not a game that one expects of a title contender…. 🤨
⚽ Kane (57' minutes pen)
⚽ Mina (90'+3 minutes)
England win 4-3 on penalties
England had all but the match sewn up courtesy of an ill-timed impromptu wrestling match between Harry Kane and Carlos Sanchez and the resulting penalty converted easily by a man who had scored 40+ goals last year.
A few seconds to go in the last match of the Round of 16 and then Yerry Mina, sailing high and towering over the English defense brought a nation to its knees and another to its feet.
The resulting rather tame extra time gave way to the penalties before Jordan Pickford, the most expensive English goalkeeper, managed to block out Carlos Bacca and David Ospina failed to keep out Eric Dier.
The match was an ill-tempered one with 8 yellow cards and it looked like the red one might come out any time.
Now England seem to have a rather straight forward run towards the cup and might turn out to be favourite to possibly catch up with Brazil in the title clash…But then who knows… this is football.
⚽ Ignashevich (11' minutes og)
⚽ Dzyuba (41' minutes pen)
Russia win 4-3 on penalties
After a rather tame capitulations in the first set of matches of the knockout phase, this was a humdinger… The only possibility that Russia (70th ranked) could hope for to defeat Spain (10th ranked and outright favourite) was to ensure that they won the lottery. And boy, did they do it and how…
The famous Spanish tiki-taka was brought to a standstill by a rather determined and iron-clad Russian defense. In fact, over a thousand passes and two hours of play later, Spain could never hit the back of the net. Russia seemed to be playing solely for the penalty shootouts. Even in that, La Roja had some previous experience in shootouts whereas it was a new territory for the Russians playing in their home ground. And when Akinfeev denied Koke first and then Iago Aspas, it was the story of a persistent underdogs beating the much-vaunted superstars. So far, that’s what this World Cup has been so far.
Does this mean the end of the tiki-taka style football?
⚽ Cristiano Ronaldo (4')
⚽ Diego Costa (24')
⚽ Cristiano Ronaldo (44')
⚽ Diego Costa (55')
⚽ Nacho (58')
⚽ Cristiano Ronaldo (88')
This is what a world cup finals match should be… Amazing end-to-end plays with superb strikes.
Cristiano Ronaldo shows why he is considered one of the best players in the world. And what a strike his hat-trick goal was. Soaring out and above that wall and then curling inwards towards the goal when all hapless De Gea could do was watch strike the back of the net.