Another round-up from the 2018 World Cup in Russia including Colombia sending the Poles packing, and a thrilling 2-2 draw between Japan and Senegal.
Two years ago, Poland looked a team of real promise in the European Championships, eventually going out in the quarter-finals, losing on penalties to Portugal.
There’s no shame in that.
But the entire squad should be hanging their head in shame this morning.
Despite Robert Lewandowski scoring 16 goals during the qualifiers (only Ronaldo scored more, of course), Poland is the first European side to jam sunglasses into braided hair and head to the beach, after a 3-0 mauling at the hands of Colombia.
It was a crunch match.
Both Colombia and Poland had unexpectedly lost their opening matches against Japan and Senegal respectively, meaning the loser in this dogfight was almost certainly going to end up crashing into a mountain.
It was like a home game for Colombia with fervent support raining down from the stands in a chorus of red and gold, and the South Americans responded by going into half-time a goal to the good after Yerry Mina headed home a James Rodriguez cross.
With twenty minutes remaining it was all over.
Radamel Falcao, who missed the finals four years ago through injury, scored his first-ever goal with a sublime finish with the outside of his foot. Juan Cuadrado sealed things five minutes later, putting the ball away after another brilliant through ball by James.
Those two assists by James means he has now had a foot or head in ten goals (six goals, four assists), spread across two World Cups. Nobody else in the competition (not even Ronaldo) has more, and he will be a crucial player if Colombia is to do as well as they did four years ago when the Bayern Munich midfielder won the Golden Boot.
Japan Draw With Senegal
The Japanese remain favourites to qualify from Group H after a 2-2 draw with Senegal. Both teams came into this one buoyed by their opening victories, and it was Senegal who struck first when a series of defensive errors allowed Sadio Mané to score his first goal of the finals.
Japan equalised when Takashi Inui curled a peach of a shot into the back of the net, but Senegal retook the lead thanks to their teenage defender Moussa Wague. Japan grabbed a point in the 70th minute after their all-time top scorer Keisuke Honda came off the bench to score a tap-in late on, the third time he has scored at the World Cup Finals.
The bookies have made Japan favourites because they take on the gutless Poles in their final match. Senegal faces Colombia in what will be a winner takes all game, although a draw for Colombia may be enough to see them through if Poland win.
Group H Table
1. Japan – 4 pts
2. Senegal – 4
3. Colombia – 3
4. Poland – 0
Group H Qualification Odds
Japan – 1/8
Senegal – 8/11
Colombia – 8/13
World Cup Winners