The second week of the World Cup was packed with players representing North London on the national stage, with the opening day seeing Spurs players in every game.
Sweden vs South Korea
The first match of the week saw Sweden face off against South Korea at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, with the Korean side looking to capitalise on the talent of our own Hueng-Min Son. The opening stages of the match saw the two sides roughly equally matched, but as the game wore on, Sweden began to dominate, with Andreas Granqvist scoring from a penalty in the 65th minute. Son was reticent in interviews after the match saying;
“I’m still disappointed about my performance and feel very, very sorry for my teammates because if we don’t score, it’s my fault, because I need to take the responsibility,” (ESPN)
Son has nothing to prove about his goal scoring talent in our eyes, so here’s hoping he brings that dedication and care when he returns to London later this year.
Belgium vs Panama
The second game of the day saw Belgium drub Panama to a comprehensive 3 – 0 victory. All the Spurs in the Red Devils side got a chance to stretch their legs, with Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen starting and Mousa Dembele coming on as a substitution. All the goals came in the second half, with Dries Merten of Napoli putting home a goal in the opening few minutes, followed by two more from Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.
GOAL! Belgium 2-0 Panama
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) June 18, 2018
It was a game of mixed emotions for English fans, Spurs one in particular. Although its always good to see Spurs players doing well, and to see a rather anaemic Panamanian squad ahead of England’s match against them on the 24th June, but the form of the Belgian team will be playing on our minds until England face them on the 28th.
England vs Tunisia
We’ve waxed lyrical about the England squad’s performance against Tunisia before, so we won’t repeat ourselves too much, but England are looking set to do well this tournament. With a last minute goal from Harry Kane pushing England into the lead, its looking very encouraging for England’s final two group stage games. Much has been made of Kane’s form, both in this game and in the pre-tournament friendlies, with Kane himself professing to his aspirations to greatness, saying;
“I had to prove people wrong throughout my career and I love proving to myself I can do it…Ronaldo is the best in the world, up there with Messi, but the challenge is there to be with them.” (Independent)
It’s still early days in the tournament, but if Kane continues scoring goals with the confidence and intelligence he has so far, he’s certainly on track to be one of the stand out players of the tournament.
Colombia vs Japan
Tuesday kicked off with Colombia vs Japan, with Spurs centre back Davinson Sanchez starting for the South American team. Colombia immediately got off to a difficult start, with Carlos Sanchez being red carded for hand-balling a shot from Yuya Osako, resulting in a goal from Shinji Kagawa from the resulting penalty. Colombia responded well with a free kick from Juan Quintero drawing them equal. However, in one of the biggest surprises of the tournament so far, Osako rose to head in the underdogs winning goal in which is sure to be a solid morale boost going into their games against Senegal and Poland.
— football.london (@Football_LDN) June 19, 2018
Denmark vs Australia
A very front heavy game, with all the action taking place in the first half, Denmark vs Australia saw a 1-1 draw between the two sides. The first bit of action was a superb half volley goal from Christian Eriksen. It’s still early days, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this comes up as a contender for goal of the tournament.
GOAL! A clever reverse ball from Jorgensen in the 18-yard box finds Eriksen steaming in who meets the ball on the rise with his left foot and cannons it into the net pic.twitter.com/B59dPuOm9t
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 21, 2018
The game drew level when Australia’s Mile Jedinak put a penalty past Leicester’s Kaspar Schmiechel. Given by a VAR decision, it was another in a line of such decisions that have come to define the tournament so far.
France vs Peru
Credit to the Peruvian fans, their spirit on match day was second to none. The teams first appearance in a World Cup since 1982, the teams supporters packed the stadium with inflatable llamas and unsinkable enthusiasm. In a tournament where the big dogs of the game have been caught sleeping by the smaller teams, the Peruvian squad were sure to have been in high spirits, but it wasn’t enough in the face of the French side.
With captain and Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris pulling double duty for national side as well, he said after the match that:
“It was a great collective display overall — we were very disciplined. In these matches, you have to know how to win 1-0 and stay strong, even at difficult moments…We have found a disciplined France and that bodes well for the future.” (ESPN)
Although as football fans its always bittersweet to see a team with as much heart as Peru move closer to elimination, as Spurs fans, the solid form of Lloris bodes well for the new season.
The weekend fixtures are a littler thinner on the ground in regards to Spurs talent, with only England and South Korea taking to the pitch, but with all the players mentioned above having to opportunity to play again next week, there’s still plenty to look forward to before the group stages wrap up.