So, remember those rumors about France being scared before the start of the World Cup? They may still have some merit.
Ignore the scoreline. For those of you who used your weekend well and didn’t get up at 6:00 am or earlier for the game, you missed one hell of a game from Australia. The first 45 minutes were a defensive masterclass from the Socceroo’s. France’s pacey winger’s attacked, Australia defended, then counterattacked and… wait… they actually held the ball in the attacking end? And then ran back to shut down Mbappe and Dembele?
After the half, two penalty shots in quick succession made the score 1-1. The first was a foul in the box from Australia and Antoine Griezmann easily converted. Five minutes later, Samuel Umtiti committed a handball in the box allowing Mile Jedniak to equalize.
Then, Paul Pogba showed up, and took a one time shot that finished bar-down, and needed Goal Line Technology to give France the 2-1 lead.
French fans: Be Afraid. Even after the second goal, France’s midfield committed sloppy errors and didn’t possess the ball well all game. After playing the easier of their three opponents, Didier Deschamps must be shaking in his shoes.
Congratulations are in order for the basketball team at Bayern Munich! They won their fourth German Championship with 3-2 series win over Alba Berlin at the Audi Dome in Munich.
This was a tremendous season for Bayern as they also finished first in the table during the regular season and won the BBL Pokal back in February over Alba Berlin as well.
Croatia is one of the more intriguing teams in the tournament with its mixture of crafty veterans and youthful exuberance. In its 2-0 dispatching of a young and inexperience Nigeria squad, the Vatreni calmly controlled the game and let the Super Eagles spend the contest trying to force the issue directly at a savvy group led by Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, and Mario Mandžukić.
An own goal by Oghenekaro Etebo gave the Blazers a lead before a crucial penalty by William Troost-Ekong, who tackled Mandžukić on a corner attempt, brought Modrić into the limelight. The Real Madrid midfielder, who played higher and in more of an attacking role than he does for his club, smoothly deposited the PK to give the game its final margin.
While the story of the game was the patience and superior poise that Croatia displayed, it might just be a matter of time before the squad unleashes Ante Rebić and Andrej Kramarić to create havoc for opposing defenses.
Our friends over at Where is Football are in Russia for the World Cup putting out some tremendous content. They went to the Iran and Morocco match and put together a wonderful photo essay of Iranian women attending the match in Russia. Back in Iran, women are still banned from attending matches in stadiums.
The women of Iran just want to support their national team. It’s time that the Iranian government let them.
Iceland will gain more fans after drawing with Argentina
There are many reasons to support Iceland. From the David vs. Goliath story line to the revolutionary and open national soccer program to the rabid Icelandic fan base. The whole atmosphere surrounding Strákarnir okkar is just fun, even if some critics are lambasting the conservative play from Iceland.
Talented FC Augsburg man Alfreð Finnbogason evened the game in the 23rd minute after Sergio Agüero had given Argentina a lead just four minutes earlier. The key moment, however, was when Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson (more on this below!) swatted away a penalty kick attempt from Messi with 25 minutes remaining in the game.
Messi's penalty is SAVED!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 16, 2018
Halldorsson comes up big to keep Iceland level with 25 minutes left. pic.twitter.com/OpLTEgyoRA
Simply put, Iceland did what it had to do> bottle up Leo Messi, survive against a more talented Argentina side, and earn a hard-fought draw. As for Argentina, they just have to be better.
Iceland’s goalkeeper is also a film director
Hannes Halldorsson is a talented goalkeeper, as we saw on Saturday. However, what you may not know about Halldorsson is that he’s also a film director. In fact, he directed the Coca-Cola commercial that is being aired in Iceland throughout the World Cup! Check it out:
Denmark outlasts a flashy Peru side
RB Leipzig man Yussuf Poulsen scored a goal in the 59th minute to give Denmark a very solid win over Peru in their opener. Peru actually played a very spirited game and gave the world a chance to see the quality of soccer players that the country has, but the squad ultimately couldn’t finish. Like at all. Like it was kinda sad.
Denmark is one of the teams on the cusp of being a contender, but probably does not have a deep enough roster to truly and consistently compete with the likes of Germany, Brazil, or France as of yet. In a one-game scenario, however, this Danish side has enough skill to make like miserable for anyone.
Aside of Poulsen, Denmark features Tottenham Hotspur star Christian Eriksen, new Borussia Dortmund signee Thomas Delaney (by way of Werder Bremen), and Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The base level of talent is there, but can they withstand the likes of France? We’ll find out later this month.
— Chuck Smith