5 p.m. ET: Russia is on a roll at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The tournament’s host nation defeated Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday in their second Group A game. The win puts Russia on the brink of clinching a place in the World Cup round of 16 for the first time in four attempts since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Egypt celebrated Mohamed Salah’s return to the lineup after recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered just three weeks ago. The Pharaohs forward helped Egypt stand toe-to-toe with Russia during the goalless first half in which they had the better scoring chances.
The course of the game dramatically shifted in the second half, starting in the 47th minute when Egypt defender Ahmed Fathi deflected Roman Zobnin’s shot into the net for an own goal.
Fathi’s misfortunes continued the own-goal fest that the 2018 World Cup has become.
Russia doubled, then tripled, its lead within the next 15 minutes. Denis Cheryshev continued his third goal of the tournament in the 59th minute.
Artem Dzyuba scored his second World Cup 2018 goal five minutes after Cheryshev struck.
Salah reduced Egypt’s deficit in the 73rd minute when he converted the penalty kick he won in the previous sequence.
But there was no spoiling Russia’s day, and the hosts still are celebrating the well-deserved win.
Man of the match: Cheryshev’s goal reflected the danger he constantly posed Egypt.
Next up: Russia will play Uruguay and Saudi Arabia will play Egypt at 10 p.m. ET on Monday in the Group A finales.
1:30 p.m. ET: Group H officially is full of surprises.
Senegal stunned Poland 2-1 on Tuesday in their 2018 FIFA World Cup opener. Poland’s Thiago Cionek scored an own goal in the first half, and Mbaye Niang doubled Senegal’s lead in the second half. Grzegorz Krychowiak’s late goal wasn’t enough to rescue a point for Poland. Senegal joins Japan atop Group H, and Poland and Colombia occupy the bottom position after one game.
The balance of play was even in the first half, but Senegal took the lead in the 37th minute when Idrissa Gana’s shot cruelly deflected off Poland’s Cionek.
The teams were so evenly matched, they needed 50 minutes to register the first shot on goal. Poland superstar Robert Lewandowski did the honors.
Niang scored one of the strangest World Cup goals we’ve ever seen just 10 minutes later. The referee allowed the Senegal striker to return from the sidelines, where he had just received treatment for an injury, and he pounced on Krychowiak’s back pass with devastating effect.
Poland held the initiative over the final 30 minutes, and Krychowiak rewarded his team’s efforts in the 86th minute with this perfect header off Kamil Grosicki’s free kick.
But the Lions of Teranga held on for the win, earning the right to celebrate as only they can.
Poland will rue losing a game in which it arguably was the better team and also lament falling victim to its own historical failings.
Next up: Senegal will play Japan at 11 a.m. ET and Poland will take on Colombia at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday in the second of three Group H games.
Man of the Match: Niang’s sneaky game-winning goal made all the difference.
10:30 a.m. ET: Tuesday’s action in the 2018 FIFA World Cup started with a jolt.
Japan defeated Colombia 2-1 in Saransk, Russia, in the Group H opener. The Samurai Blue assumes top spot in the group with the shocking win and Colombia’s loss roots Los Cafeteros to the bottom.
Colombia fielded a weakened lineup, as 2014 World Cup hero James Rodriguez started on the bench and was limited to just 30 minutes of action due to a recent calf injury.
The game’s pivotal moment came in the third minute, when Carlos Sanchez blocked a shot with his hand, conceded a penalty kick and was shown a red card. If you reckon Sanchez’s dismissal happened in a flash, there’s good reason.
Shinji Kagawa then gave Japan a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
Japan seized the initiative but couldn’t extend its lead. It’s counter-attacking strategy created a few goal-scoring chances but the Samurai Blue lacked cutting edge in the final third.
Colombia capitalized on Japan’s leniency by tying the score in the 39th minute on playmaker Juan Quintero’s inventive free kick.
Japan outplayed Colombia in the second half and deservedly re-took the lead in the 73rd minute when Yuya Osako headed home a corner kick.
Japan held off Colombia to confirm its upset win and become the first Asian nation to beat a South American opponent in 18 World Cup games, per Opta.
Man of the match: Japan striker Yuya Osako scored the game-winner and provided a constant threat to Colombia throughout the
Next up: Japan will take on Senegal at 11 a.m. ET and Colombia will face Poland at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday in the second of three Group H games.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/USA TODAY Sports Images
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