So we're done with the first round of group matches and into the third. It's been a weird Cup so far - we've seen four own-goals so far; the most own-goals ever scored in a Cup was six, in 1998. We'll see what happens!
Plus, Russia. Oh, geez, Russia...
But first let's finish the Groupday 1 matches. Japan over Columbia 2-1, with the first red card of the Cup to Columbia (in, like, the third minute). That meant Columbia's down a man (and will be down a player in their next game too), and Japan played SUPER aggressively. Columbia's always fun to watch but Japan got it done. Bit of an upset there but good on you, Japan!
Then Senegal over Poland, 2-1. Poland looked better on paper, but messed around with the FIFA ranking system to get into the cup. Senegal's team is 'The Lions of Hospitality' and they actually looked pretty good - but one of their goals was an own-goal off a Polish defender, and the other was because a player had come in to sub from an injury, so the keeper (who was distracted by bright lights and a terrible guttural sound from the stands) didn't see him, and the sub scored on an open goal. Senegal's pretty hyped but I don't think they'll go too far this tournament, since they're in a group with Columbia and Japan. Mad props to the Senegalese goalkeeper, though - some of the best keeping I've seen in a while.
And then the first of the second match day with Russia against Egypt. Russia won 3-1, and one of Russia's goals was the fourth own-goal of the Cup. It looked suspicious, to tell the truth. Egypt's superstar Salah looked - fine, not the best but not the worst. I saw the dead start to rise and enter the stadium, but they weren't needed to secure the win for the home team, this time. It was only a few of the dead, anyway - some sloppy necromancy there. As a team Egypt was way too tricky - you know when you run over the ball and pass it behind you? Yeah. That's some amateur middle-school shit right there. Egypt's keeper was having an off day too - maybe he was fazed by the presence of the Russian undead.
Russia, to remind you, was the lowest-ranked FIFA team going into the Cup (you get in when you host). So far I've seen more of Russia's wins because of opponent errors than any stellar Russian play - but they've been up against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, not exactly powerhouses. We'll look closely at their match against Uruguay on June 25th for shenanigans.
Here's my top-five picks from what I've seen so far: Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Belgium, Brazil.
Belgium's only in there because of the waffles, though.
It's been a weird first-day set of matches - not 'Wow Exciting!' weird, but 'hunh. Didn't expect that.' weird.
Okay! One of three groupdays down - and the second one started!
Steve said: I don't know... I am enjoying the hell out of this commentary.. but I'm starting to doubt the accuracy and the commitment to "fair and balanced" reporting... I've rewatched the England v. Tunisia game three times through and never once saw that curved blade. There's six hours of my life I'll never get back...