FOOTBALL – There was much talk of the World Cup game when Japan won 2-1 against Spain allowing both teams to progress but sending Germany home. The controversial winning goal for Japan looked to be over the line before the goal was scored. Photos clearly show this. However, the rules state “the ball is out in soccer when the whole ball has completely crossed the goal line or touchline on a football pitch”.
The final 8 teams of the group stages
At 4.00 pm on Friday, South Korea v Portugal and Ghana v Uruguay kicked off. Portugal had already qualified to move onto the round of 16.
South Korea v Portugal
Portugal went one up after just 5 minutes with a goal from Horta. However, South Korea equalised in the 27th minute when Kim scored, and then Hwang scored the decider one minute into stoppage time for the game to finish 2-1 to South Korea.
Ghana v Uruguay
Meanwhile, in the other game, Uruguay won 2-0 against Ghana, and ended up on the same number of points as South Korea.
However, due to goal difference, Uruguay would only have qualified, if they had scored once more. During their game, there were several controversial decisions that looked to be clear penalties.
This included one in the 57th minute. But VAR confirmed the referee´s original decision that it was not a penalty.
Uruguay were going home
Then, in the 90th minute, Uruguay’s Cavani was brought down inside the box. The player from Ghana got a touch to his leg and prevented him from progressing with the ball. However, the referee didn´t want to know. If a penalty had been awarded, the result might have been very different. As it stood, the late goal by South Korea meant Uruguay were going home.
De Arrascaeta scored both goals for Uruguay in the 26th and 32nd minutes of the game.
Anger over controversial decisions
As the game ended, Luis Suarez could be seen openly crying. Players on the field obstructed match officials trying to leave as they made their feelings clear. Cavani was also seen lashing out at the VAR monitor. Several token yellow cards were issued because of the harassment and their conduct.
Serbia v Switzerland
It was almost half time, and the score was 2-2. But, in the final moments of the first half, Serbia claimed a penalty due to a hand ball in the box. However, the referee waved play on. Serbia needed a win to progress, whereas Switzerland needed only a draw.
The third goal came for Switzerland at the start of the second half. However, in the 66th minute, Serbia had a good chance to equalise. Mitrovic was clearly pulled down by Schar just as he was about to strike. Another controversial decision as the referee denied the calls for a penalty.
Switzerland maintained their 3-2 lead, and qualified for the final 16.
Cameroon v Brazil
The first half ended 0-0. But in the second half, Cameroon managed a dramatic last-minute goal to win the game. Aboubakar scored for the Cameroon side 2 minutes into stoppage time. However, as he took his shirt off to celebrate, the referee reluctantly handed him a yellow card. But as it was his second yellow, he was sent off – but in the nicest most apologetic, least controversial way.
Brazil had already qualified for the next stage.
The last 16
Netherlands v USA
The first games of the last 16 got underway on Saturday December 3. Netherlands v USA ended a well deserved 3-1. The first goal came for Memphis Depay after just 10 minutes into the match. Daley Blind got the second goal just before half time. In the second half, goals came from Haji Wright of the USA, and Denzel Dumfries of the Netherlands.
Argentina v Australia
The second game of the day was Argentina v Australia. The game ended 2-1. Once again, Messi didn´t disappoint when he scored first for Argentina. Alvarez claimed the second goal, and the goal for Australia came as an own goal in the 77th minute by Fernández.
The Netherlands and Argentina go through to the next stage of the World Cup. They will play against each other in the quarter-finals on Friday December 9 at 8.00 pm.
Sunday December 4, and the 2 games were Poland v France, and England v Senegal
Poland v France
Poland v France was up first, and despite good efforts from Lewandowski, Poland failed to score early on. France were by far the stronger team. Poland managed to get a goal back, but France scored 3. These came from MBappe just into stoppage time, and 74 minutes in. Lewandowski scored Poland´s goal. Oliver Giround became the all-time best goal scorer for France when he scored the opener today.
MBappe is the first player to have scored 8 goals in world cup matches before he reached 24 years of age.
England v Senegal
The majority of the first half seemed to lack something and was fairly uneventful. As such, it did not produce goals for either side. That is until Henderson opened the score line up for England after 38 minutes when he neatly tucked the ball into the net. Then a good chance game for Harry Kane just before half time. However, it went over the net. But he managed to pull his next attempt off in stoppage time. The first half finished 2-0.
In the second half, a perfect pass from Foden across the front of the goal was met by Saka who surely ended Senegal’s hopes at progressing.
The match ended 3-0 with England going on to play France in the quarter-finals on Saturday December 10 at 8.00 pm.
The other 8 teams still to play in the knockout round of 16 are Japan v Croatia, and Brazil v South Korea who all play today at 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm respectively. Tomorrow´s games are Morocco v Spain at 4.00 pm, and Portugal v Switzerland at 8.00 pm.
The winners of these 4 games also go through to the quarter-finals.
Also read: Official World Cup broadcasting rights