World Cup Day 6: Own Goal-den Boot

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Day 6 saw two big surprises, with Japan beating 10-man Colombia and Senegal upsetting Poland.

Meanwhile, the ‘own goal’ fest continued and host Russia piled on three more goals to give them eight in two games.

The Wrap
Colombia 1 Japan 2
Poland 1 Senegal 2
Russia 3 Egypt 1

GOOD

Russia: ‘Out of form.’ ‘Worst team to ever host a World Cup.’ ’Won’t make it out of the group.’ Pretty much the sentiment from most pundits going in. Well, the Russians have blown all of those predictions out of the water with two rampant displays, having scored 8 goals in two games. They’re now all but assured of moving on to the knockout rounds.

Three points for Japan: Playing most of the match with a one-man advantage helped, but after a Colombian equaliser, the Samurai Blue had to dig deep and they did. They are atop Group H with surprising Senegal.

Three points for Senegal: Two goals, one deflected and one courtesy of a defensive howler. But it doesn’t matter how it happened – it did. After they celebrated, the Senegalese fans helped clean up – how good is that?

BAD

Sanchez sees red: Talk about putting your team behind the 8-ball. Carlos Sanchez was red-carded for a handball in the 3rd minute, gifting Japan the lead and causing Colombia to play with 10 men for 85 minutes.

Poland’s bad goals: In my Group H preview, I mentioned that Poland ‘can concede bad goals.’ Sure enough, last night’s Senegal match-winner came from a defensive mixup (admittedly assisted by some Senegalese gamesmanship).

Superstars struggling: For every Ronaldo or Lukaku, there other big names that haven’t delivered. James Rodriguez (under an injury cloud) and Radamal Falcao were both ineffective last night, while Poland’s Robert Lewandowski failed to fire. It’s unfair to criticise Mo Salah – who converted a penalty last night – but still hasn’t recovered from his Champions League injury.

UGLY

Own goal leads the Golden Boot: There have been five own goals already. The World Cup record is six from France 1998.

Group A: Everyone joked about Putin rigging Group A to get a weak Russia team through, and while the host nation has surprised a few people, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been woeful.

Player remonstrations: There are still way to many players surrounding referees, gesticulating for yellow cards and (in a new twist), screaming for VAR.

What do you think?