Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane scored two goals each to give wins for Belgium and England respectively while VAR was needed to help Sweden past South Korea on day 5 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Mexico stunned defending champions Germany while..
Kane breaks Tunisian hearts
England left it late to beat resolute Tunisia 2-1 and claim all three points at the Volgogard Arena, Volgogard.
The Three Lions were off the traps with frantic pace and threatened immediately. Harry Kane slotted in a rebound from a John Stone header to give England an early lead. Tunisian goal keeper Mouez Hassen got injured in the process and had to be replaced.
Mid-way through the first half Tunisia steadily got in to the game with some threatening moves of their own.
Kyle Walker then lashed out an elbow at Fakhreddine Ben Youssef resulting in a penalty. Ferjani Sassi coolly slotted home to level the score.
England came close once again with some frantic goal mouth action and John Stones failed to connect from point blank range. Jesse Lingard should have made it 2-1 for England with his deft touch hitting the outside of the bar just before the break.
Half Time – Tunisia 1 – 1 England
Start of second half both teams were cautious in their approach and looked to hold on to possession in the midfield. At the midway point in the second half it was England who had the majority of the possession but failed to complete the moves in the business end of the pitch.
Tunisia barely threatened and was contained in their own half the entire second half giving England the opportunity to push more bodies up front. Introduction of Marcus Rashford ignited some spark to the England attack which was lackluster till that point in the second half.
England’s push finally got rewarded in injury time when Harry Kane flicked home a diverted corner to break Tunisian hearts.
Full Time – Tunisia 1 – 2 England
Man of the Match – Harry Kane (England)
Tunisia – Ferjani Sassi (P) 35’
England – Harry Kane 11’, 90+1’
England – Kyle Walker 33’
2nd half blitz hands Belgium easy win
Belgium showed their intentions clear by attacking from the word go. Despite spotting lots of gaps in the Panama defence, Belgium lacked the sharpness to translate any if their efforts into goals.
As time wore on, Panama grew in confidence and even managed to push forward whenever the chances arose.
Half Time – Belgium 0 – 0 Panama
Belgium proved why they were billed as one of the favourites of the tournament as they broke the deadlock right after the restart.
Dries Mertens unleashed an exceptional volley from the edge of the box catching the goalkeeper off guard to give his side the lead. One feared the flood gates may have opened.
The match saw a lot of yellow cards with Panama players clearly not being able to control their emotions, sometimes their mouth.
Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne combined well to set up the second goal for Romelu Lukaku. De Bruyne’s outer boot cross found Lukaku who headed the ball into the back of the net.
It didn’t take much time for Lukaku to double his tally as he expertly chipped the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper of Hazard’s ball off a counter.
The match ended three goals in favour of Belgium who started their bid with a comprehensive performance. Panama will take the defeat graciously and will look to put in a better performance.
Full Time – Belgium 3 – 0 Panama
Man of the Match – Romelu Lukaku
Belgium – Dries Mertens 47′, Romelu Lukaku 69′ & 75′
Belgium – Meunier 14′, Vertonghen 59′, De Bruyne 88′
Panama – Davis 18′, Barcenas 45+2′, Cooper 49′, Murillo 51′, Godoy 57′
VAR penalty assists Sweden in win
A fast start to the game by both sides resulted in both sides committing a high number of fouls throughout the half with.
After the first quarter of the game Sweden started to settle down into their own style of play and took matters into hand by gaining the possession and control of the game while Korea counter attacked on a couple of opportunities but failed to execute the final passes.
Sweden had three close opportunities to go one up but was denied by the Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo who was in excellent form.
Half time – Sweden 0 – 0 South Korea
Second half started with Sweden continuing their dominant performance. The pressure continued to build on Korea which eventually led a Korean defender to slide recklessly to clear a ball in the penalty box which brought down the Swedish forward but was waved play on by the referee.
However, the play was halted soon after for the tackle to be reviewed and a penalty was awarded after the VAR intervention. Swedish captain, Andreas Granqvist then stepped up to the penalty spot to grab the lead for the Swedes in the most calmed manner.
The second half continued with Korea valiantly trying to get one goal back but was unsuccessful in their attempts.
Full time – Sweden 1 – 0 South Korea
Man of the Match – Andreas Granqvist
Sweden – Andreas Granqvist 65’
Sweden – Viktor Claesson 60’
South Korea – S.W.Kim 9’, H.C.Hwang 53’