Star players step up as Brazil, France & Portugal qualify for the Round of 16
Match Day 2 of the FIFA World Cup produced some absolute edge-of-the-seat thrillers. While a few dreams ended, a lot of teams are still hopeful of a spot in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
The hosts Qatar were the first team to get eliminated from the Group Stage. While defending champions France become the first team to qualify for the knockout rounds. Brazil despite the absence of Neymar managed to come out on top against Switzerland. Tite’s side became the second team to qualify with a 1-0 win, while Canada’s dream ended.
From comebacks to setbacks, a round of football that had everything in it. Asian side Iran glided past Wales with two injury-time goals. One of the contenders, Belgium, suffered a painful loss at the hands of Morocco. Bruno guided Portugal to a 2-0 win over Uruguay making them the third team to qualify.
The stage is all set for the final match day where a lot of dreams will be shattered and a few will take centre stage. We are closing in towards the business end of the tournament. But, before we head into the final round of fixtures from the group stage let’s have a look at the Team of Match Day 2.
Match Day 2 Results
Wales 0 – 2 Iran; Qatar 1 – 3 Senegal; Netherlands 1 – 1 Ecuador; England 0 – 0 USA; Tunisia 0 – 1 Australia; Poland 2 – 0 Saudi Arabia; France 2 – 1 Denmark; Argentina 2 – 0 Mexico; Japan 0 – 1 Costa Rica; Belgium 0 – 2 Morocco; Croatia 4 – 1 Canada; Spain 1 – 1 Germany; Cameroon 3 – 3 Serbia; South Korea 2 – 3 Ghana; Brazil 1 – 0 Switzerland; Portugal 2 – 0 Uruguay.
FIFA World Cup 2022 Team of the Week Match Day 2
GK: Wojciech Szczesny(Poland)
Szczesny has been the star for Poland in the ongoing World Cup. He is the best shot-stopper of the World Cup so far with 9 saves out of 9 shots that he has faced. Poland managed to cling onto the initial one-goal lead thanks to Szczesny who stood like a big wall behind the back four. Lewandowski scored late in the match as Poland emerged victorious.
LB: Pervis Estupinan (Ecuador)
Ecuador managed to stay in the hunt for the knockout stages with a draw against the Netherlands. Pervis played a major role in helping his side stand tall against a team full of superstars. The wingback created panic in the opposition’s box with probing deliveries from open play and set pieces. In short, it was a well-rounded attacking display from Brighton & Hove Albion player.
CB: Thiago Silva (Brazil)
Yet another clean sheet for Brazil and at the heart of it was Thiago Silva. The Chelsea centre back despite being one of the oldest players in the tournaments has performed exceptionally so far. He helped Brazil maintain a high line. Silva was intercepting balls and making tackles high up on the pitch. The execution was spot on by the Brazilian skipper.
CB: Pepe (Portugal)
The 39-year-old centre-back has been the go-to man for Portugal alongside Ronaldo for almost two decades. He returned to the XI last night and was brave with his tackles and ensured that they kept a clean sheet against a dangerous Uruguay side. The pace of the opposition did bother Pepe at times but the timing of his tackles and positioning did the job.
RB: Keysher Fuller (Costa Rica)
The 28-year-old right-back was one of the hardest-working players on the pitch against Japan. He dealt with the numerous balls into the box and even blocked quite a few. Fuller managed to neutralise the threat of Japan well enough. He went on to score a goal and keep his team alive in the tournament. It was a wonderfully struck goal with his left foot that revived Costa Rica who had taken a hammering at the hands of Spain in match day 1.
CDM: Casemiro (Brazil)
As long as Casemiro is there to protect the Brazilian backline, it seems impossible for the opposition to score. The Manchester United player was spot on with his defensive duties and he added a cherry on top with a world-class volley into the top right corner. His goal helped the South American side win 1-0 and confirm their ticket to the knockout stages.
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CM: Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)
Bruno has been at the peak of his powers in the last few matches for Portugal. Last time around he created two goals and yesterday against Uruguay he scored twice to ensure that Ronaldo and company make it to the round of 16 with a game in hand. United’s star man was the engine of the team, with key passes, and constant pressing.
CM: Mohammed Kudus (Ghana)
South Korea entered the contest high on confidence after a courageous draw against Uruguay on match day 1. But, little did they know that a 19-year-old would steal the show. The Ajax midfielder scored twice and ensured that Ghana have a strong chance of making it into the knockout stage heading into the final group game. He displayed the qualities that make him the huge prospect that everyone talks about. A matured head on young shoulders.
LW: Kylian Mbappe (France)
It feels like Mbappe has made it a habit to step up and win games on his own. The PSG forward was deadly on the left wing and every time he came inside from the flank, the feeling was something is about to happen. Another scintillating display by the French forward as he scored twice and helped the defending champions win the game. His 86th-minute winner made France the first team to qualify for the knockout stages.
ST: Cho Gue-sung (South Korea)
While South Korea might have failed to get something from the game against Ghana. Cho surely did showcase his mettle. It was a proper centre-forwards performance from the 24-year-old striker. The Ghanaian defence had no clue whatsoever when he had the ball under his feet. It was very difficult to stop him once the quality of the crosses started to improve.
RW: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
While some might think age is catching up to the great man. But, his performance in a must-win game against Mexico should have cleared the doubts. Whenever he had the ball, the Mexican defends charged at him in numbers but he still managed to glide past them. Messi might not have lit up the stage with some extraordinary stuff but the only time he had space and time, he did the damage with his left foot scoring a banger low down towards the bottom right corner. He then went on to assist young Enzo Fernandez for his first-ever world cup goal.