Day 6 of the 2018 World Cup began with slightly surprising results in Group H, as the two favorites to finish in the top 2, Colombia and Poland, both lost 2-1 to Japan and Senegal respectively. In the main course Russia made the most of its chances against Egypt and Mohamed Salah, winning 3-1 to put themselves inches away from being the first side to clinch a spot in the round of 16.
Colombia 1 Japan 2 (Match Highlights)
Japan and Asian teams in general have had very little success in World Cups over the years except for 2002 and 2010. Coming in as huge underdogs, Japan made the most of Colombia’s mistakes in the second minute, including Carlos Sanchez getting sent off for a handball that probably saved a goal. Shinji Kagawa scored, and despite Quintero equalizing from the free kick spot, the player advantage and work rate of the Japanese paid off in the end as Yuya Osako headed in a corner (73rd minute) to set us up for a day of upsets in Group H.
Poland 1 Senegal 2 (Match Highlights)
The first African side to win a match in this World Cup is another one not given too favorable odds before their encounter with a European side. But an own goal in the first half (something happening quite often in this tournament) and a weird M’Baye Niang goal, introduced into the match as a substitute and immediately taking advantage of botched Polish backpass, meant Senegal were well on their way to grab their first World Cup win since 2002. Krychowiak gave Poland some false hope near the end with a fine header, but just like group favorites Colombia, things are now looking much more difficult in order to advance to the next stage.
Group H Table
Russia 3 Egypt 1 (Match Highlights)
Unless something greatly unexpected happens between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia, Russia are in the round of 16 despite early warning that they might not make it. A testy first half made way for a landslide of goals, beginning with another own goal (the fifth in the tournament) to put Egypt behind, followed by Mohamed Salah not taking care of business with an easy opportunity, to which Egypt was punished by quick goals by Cheryshev and Dzyuba. Salah did score a penalty kick later on, but it seems that his and his nation’s World Cup dream is almost over.
Group A Table
Hero of the Day: Yuya Osako, Japan
The 28-year old FC Koln striker didn’t just win the match for Japan with his 73rd minute goal, but also end an 8-year drought in the World Cup for them, while also finally putting the Samurai Blue past a South American side.
Goal of the Day: Juan Quintero, Colombia
I’m a sucker for clever free kicks, and while Quintero’s free kick goal in the Colombia-Japan match didn’t earn any points for his team, it was certainly the most impressive of the day.
3 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Denis Cheryshev (Russia)
2 goals: Diego Costa (Spain), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Harry Kane (England), Artem Dzyuba (Russia)
1 goal: Yuri Gazinsky, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Jose Maria Gimenez (Uruguay), Nacho (Spain), Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann (France), Mile Jedinak (Australia), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark), Luka Modric (Croatia), Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia), Hirving Lozano (Mexico), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Steven Zuber (Switzerland), Andreas Granqvist (Sweden), Dries Mertens (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi (Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osaka (Japan), Juan Quintero (Colombia), M’Baye Niang (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland), Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
Day 7 Matches:
Portugal vs Morocco (Group B)
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia (Group A)
Iran vs Spain (Group B)