A showdown awaits.

What Happened

The unthinkable. The two sides slated to impress in this group actually did.

Belgium took Tunisia to the cleaners in a commanding 5-2 result. Lukaku and Hazard had the ball on a string, darting through a Tunisian defence skittled by injury to each score braces.

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England were imperious in every sense of the word in their 6-1 thrashing of World Cup rookies Panama. Lingard netted a worldie (see Goal of the Day) on the world stage, Kane buried the most fortunate of hat tricks and the Canal Men scored their first goal on the biggest stage of all – celebrating harder than the English did for any of their six strikes.

Stand Out Performers

  1. Eden Hazard is delivering as the captain of Roberto Martinez’ side. The Chelsea phenom looks sharp, with 6 key passes over his opening two matches showcasing that Hazard is no typical run-and-gun winger.
  2. Harry Kane’s penalty-taking technique may well be the greatest at the World Cup. Two penalties saw the ball hit the same way, in the same spot, with the same venom on each strike. No keeper would be able to save those.
  3. The positivity surrounding the England camp is the strongest it has been since the early 2000’s and Gareth Southgate has to be credited for it. An offence that failed to gel in their opening encounter put six past a hapless Panamanian defence, looking every part a semi-final bound team over the 90 minutes.

Talking Points

If Match Day 1 was the arrival of Belgium, Match Day 2 is the arrival of the Three Lions. Can the English sustain it? Could the trophy be “coming home”? We’ll know more after Friday Morning’s spectacle against the Red Devils.

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What it Means

Panamanians and Tunisians alike will descend on Saransk with nothing on the line except the chance to play a competitive match of World Cup football. This usually results in goals, so keep the highlights packages handy when watching the Belgians take on England at the same time in a taste of what is to come over the knockout stages.

Needs Work

England supporters.

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A large portion of fans seriously believe “it’s coming home” after scratching past Tunisia and pummelling the worst nation at this World Cup. It needs to stop, as the hype is only setting the nation up for nuclear fallout when Southgate’s men underwhelming exit at the hands of Germany/Brazil in the Quarter Finals.

What’s Next

Friday. 4am Eastern Standard Time.

England v Belgium (and Tunisia v Panama).

No coffee will be required for this one.

Goal of the Day

As earlier mentioned, Jesse Lingard put one of England’s six into the net in truly stunning fashion. After teaming up with Raheem Sterling for the one-two, the Manchester United winger unleashed the right footed curler dreams are made of:

 

Miss of the Day

Michy Batshuayi may not have hopes of usurping Romelo Lukaku’s role but the striker would have been hoping to do better than earn The Football Sack’s coveted Miss of the Day honours. A shot from Carrasco spilled out of Ben Mustapha’s lap, right into the path of  the 24-year-old. However, all Batshuayi could do was cannon it into the crossbar from six yards out.

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Sheesh.

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Adelaide-based writer, content creator and story-teller. Like one of those determined ants that require a second flick.