Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup action features three games: Belgium vs. Tunisia, South Korea vs. Mexico and German vs. Sweden. Check below for game reports, highlights and other key facts from World Cup 2018 Day 9.
4:00 p.m. ET: Germany 2, Sweden 1
For a moment, it looked as though Sweden was going to pull off an upset victory over Germany in the teams’ 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F game.
That was until Nationalelf reminded everyone why they are the defending World Cup champions.
After the Swedes struck first in the match, Germany responded with two unanswered goals, including a brilliant strike in stoppage time, to earn a 2-1 win in their second of three Group F matches.
The game’s first tally wasn’t pretty by any means, but Ola Toivonen did just enough to put Sweden on top in the 32nd minute.
Sweden maintained its lead into the break, but Germany wasted no time in the second half knotting the score at one apiece. Much like Toivonen in his goal, Marco Reus was in the right place at the right time to pot Germany’s first goal.
Things got worse before they got better for Germany as the game ensued, as Jerome Boateng was issued his second yellow card of the match via a violent tackle.
But Germany would get the last laugh, as Toni Kroos netted the game-winner off of a set piece with mere seconds left in stoppage time.
Here’s a look at the game by the numbers:
Man of the Match: While Roos will receive all the glory, Reus helped set the pace for Germany and nixed all of Sweden’s momentum with his goal.
Up Next: Both teams return to the pitch Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET for their final Group F matches. Germany will take on Korea, while Sweden battles group-leader Mexico.
1:30 p.m. ET: Mexico 2, South Korea 1
If you weren’t doing so already, you probably should start taking Mexico seriously in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
El Tri followed up their stunning victory over Germany in the Group F opener with a convincing 2-1 win over South Korea on Saturday. While a late goal from South Korea made the score close, the game, in reality, wasn’t.
Carlos Vela banged home a penalty kick in the first half to put El Tri up 1-0, and Javier Hernandez scored the decisive goal in the second half.
Check out the full highlights:
Mexico now appears destined for a spot in the Round of 16.
Here’s the game by the numbers:
As was the case in Belgium’s victory over Tunisia on Saturday, the stats give the impression that the game was close. However, Mexico truly dominated for stretches, and looked every bit as good as the team that knocked off Germany.
After the match, Chicharito (Hernandez) talked about Mexico’s magical run thus far.
Mexico now turns its focus to Saturday’s match between Germany and Sweden. If Germany loses, El Tri are on to the Round of 16. South Korea, meanwhile, will be eliminated if Sweden wins or draws.
Man of the Match: Hernandez, whose second-half goal ultimately was the difference-maker.
Next up: Both teams will return to the field Wednesday. Mexico will play Sweden, while South Korea will take on Germany.
10 a.m. ET: Belgium 5, Tunisia 2: Belgium on cusp of Round of 16 after dominant performance.
Despite an unimpressive first half, Belgium beat Panama 3-0 in its 2018 FIFA World Cup Group G opener last week. But things were much different Saturday, as the Red Devils scored early and often in a 5-2 win over Tunisia in Russia.
Belgium scored three times in the first half, and both Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard finished the game with two goals. Truth be told, the Red Devils easily could’ve scored six or seven goals this game.
Check out the full highlights:
The Red Devils might be the team to beat in the tournament.
Here’s Belgium vs. Tunisia by the numbers:
Don’t let some of those stats fool you: this was a lopsided affair.
With his two goals, Lukaku now is tied with Cristiano Ronaldo on the top scorer leaderboard.
Belgium now has six points in the group stage, so it has all but ensured itself a spot in the Round of 16. Still, despite scoring eight goals in their first two games, the Red Devils likely need to beat a stronger opponent before being considered a favorite.
Man of the Match: Hazard, who was all over the pitch Saturday afternoon.
Next up: Belgium will play England on Thursday in what will be a major test for both clubs. Tunisia will square off with Panama on Thursday, but could be eliminated by then, should England draw with Panama on Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports Images
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