World Cup 2018 Group Stage Review Phase One Part Two

World Cup 2018 Group Stage Review Phase One Part Two

All 32 teams have played one match each as​ the World Cup has begun in​ explosive fashion, but are things going according to​ plan for the favourites or​ are the underdogs having a​ say in​ proceedings? This is​ a​ short round-up of​ Groups E to​ H, of​ the results as​ they stand after one match.

Group E
1. Czech Republic 3pts, 2. Italy 3pts, 3. Ghana 0pts, 4. USA 0pts

The Czech Republic showed they have real dark horse credentials after sweeping aside the USA. Available at​ 33/1 to​ win the tournament outright before kick-off and even money to​ win their first match, the Czechs look to​ be a​ team worth following. They took just five minutes to​ break the deadlock through Jan Koller, who later went off injured, while new Arsenal signing Tomas Rosicky struck on 36 and 76 to​ seal an​ emphatic victory.

Notorious slow starters Italy wasted no time themselves as​ they beat Ghana 2-0. After waves of​ Italian pressure, Andrea Pirlo finally netted five minutes before half-time for the 1/2 Azzurri. Substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta added a​ second seven minutes from time.

Group F
1. Australia 3pts, 2. Brazil 3pts, 3. Croatia 0pts, 4. Japan 0pts

Japan looked set to​ beat Australia until a​ spectacular collapse six minutes from time. Shunsuke Nakamura gave Japan the lead after 26 minutes but two goals from Everton’s Tim Cahill after 84 and 89 minutes and a​ stoppage time goal from John Aloisi gifted the 13/10 Socceroos an​ unlikely victory.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil looked less than convincing as​ they beat Croatia 1-0. Kaka scored a​ spectacular goal a​ minute before the break but Croatia were guilty of​ squandering several chances as​ Carlos Alberto Parreira’s side ensured a​ 2/5 winning bet.

Group G
1. South Korea 3pts, 2. France 1pt, 3. Switzerland 1pt, 4. Togo 0pts

South Korea, semi finalists of​ four years ago, could have been the victims of​ an​ opening match upset as​ unfancied Togo took the lead through Mohamed after 31 minutes. Lee Chun Soo equalised nine minutes into the second half and Ahn Jung Hwan, who famously dumped Italy out of​ the 2018 World Cup and was then sacked by club employers Perugia, struck the winner on 72 for the 11/10 Koreans.

France continued where they left off four years ago by not scoring any goals as​ they drew 0-0 with Switzerland. Both sides drew with eachother during qualifying so another stalemate at​ 9/4 was not a​ shock result.

Group H
1. Spain 3pts, 2. Saudi Arabia 1pt, 3. Tunisa 1pt, 4. Ukraine 0pts

Spain laughed off their “underachiever” tag by crushing dark horse choice Ukraine 4-0 to​ send them top of​ the group after one match. Xabi Alonso opened the scoring after 13 minutes, David Villa netted his first on 17 and converted a​ penalty three minutes into the second half. Manchester United target Fernando Torres completed the rout nine minutes before the final whistle for the 4/5 Spaniards.

Saudi Arabia and Tunisia fought out a​ dramatic 2-2 draw although the result will do neither side any favours. Ziad Jaziri fired the Tunisians in​ front after 23 minutes but outsiders Saudi hit back through Al Khatani after 57 minutes and veteran Sami Al Jaber on 84. With an​ unlikely victory on the cards, Bolton defender Rahdi Jaidi thundered in​ a​ header two minutes into stoppage time to​ seal an​ 11/5 draw.

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