Super Sunday in Qatar

Super Sunday





Four games in a day - Qatar 2022 will go down in history for yet another reason.

A super Sunday began with Costa Rica, humiliated 7-0 by Spain, beating Japan, conquerors of Germany. The Ticos' victory was the best redemption story of this World Cup and leaves Group E wide open. After the euphoria of beating Germany, Japan will be scratching their heads at how this got away from them. An opening win is never enough alone to get out of the group.

Morocco's 2-0 win over ailing Belgium was met by ecstasy from the thousands of their fans in the Al Thumama stadium, back home and in the many countries Moroccans live, including Belgium. It was the Atlas Lions' first win at the World Cup since 1998 and their greatest World Cup victory ever.

A raucous feel in the Al Thumama belied the accusations of poor atmosphere in Qatar and the win completed a hat-trick of victories for the Arab world, after wins for Iran and Saudi Arabia, in this Middle Eastern World Cup.

Canada, so unlucky against Belgium, got off to a dream start against Croatia with a flying header from Alphonso Davies to round off a flowing move. The Canucks' first World Cup finals goal will live long in the memory. Their positive attitude and healthy disrespect for opponents' status has been so refreshing, but Croatia's class told in a 4-1 finish and Canada were eliminated.

The Croats looked like they had picked up where they left off in 2018 with a formidable midfield, solid defence and crisp passing to disarm their opponents. Canada fired briefly at this World Cup, won many admirers  and will at least not have to wait another 36 years to return - they are joint-hosts in 2026.

Super Sunday.
German saviour Niclas Fullkrug    

The fourth match today was a heavyweight clash - Spain v Germany, and the biggest showdown of the first round ended honours even with both prizefighters landing a sucker punch.

It lacked the fiery feeling of the day's previous encounters as watchers admired the talent on display.

Spain's slick passing was to the fore again but Luis Enrique's men failed to turn their superiority into a win. The Barcelona tactic of always playing out of defence on the ground almost embarrassed them a few times as well.

Germany were hoping to avoid a second first-round World Cup exit in a row but were sailing dangerously close to it with their tactic of containing Spain.

Alvaro Morata's 62nd minute flick past Manuel Neuer looked to have sunk Hansi Flick's men until seven minutes from time. Enter Werder Bremen's Niclas Fullkrug, 29 years old, who has played much of his career in the second division and made his debut for Germany as recently as 16 days ago - a narrative redolent of Toto Schillaci at Italia '90.

Ubiquitous talk of Germany's glaring lack of a centre-forward quickly evaporated.

His strike was also the first from a German substitute since Mario Gotze in the 2014 World Cup final.

Deutschland live to fight another day, and Group E stays open for the life or death of the third game.

Qatar 2022

Al Rihla Official Ball

Qatar 50/50

Qatar v Ecuador - Opening Match

Qatar is the World's Cup

Hakuna Matata

Hotels in Doha

Images of Qatar


Offside Technology

Opening Ceremony

The Calling

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post