Good morning, TSF! Happy Thanksgiving to all y’all in the U.S. (and elsewhere) who celebrate. The World Cup and the content rolls on and cares not for our family meals, however, with a full slate of four World Cup matches, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Dog Show, three NFL games, and more.
Today, we had Switzerland - Cameroon early, Uruguay - South Korea at 8 am ET, Portugal - Ghana at 11 am ET, and Brazil - Serbia at 2 pm ET.
Morocco 0 - Croatia 0: by xG, the worst match of the tournament - just 1.01 xG combined between the countries. Father Time may finally have caught up to the Croatia side, even if Luka Modric seems to have found a way to defy him individually.
Germany 1 - Japan 2: a deserved victory for Japan, who were the better side in the match, especially in the second half. The tactical shift enabled by Takehiro Tomiyasu coming on for the second 45 was critical for the Blue Samurai. Former Arsenal player (who couldn’t get a work permit) Takuma Asano scored one of the goals for Japan.
Spain 7 - Costa Rica 0: yikes. Spain looked really good, but Costa Rica looked terrible, as well. It was the first time since 1990 a team didn’t manage a shot attempt in a World Cup match - Costa Rica matched their own mark for futility there. I might have to add Spain to the list of elite teams.
Belgium 1 - Canada 0: harsh on Canada, who were the better team. Alphonso Davies had a poorly taken penalty saved. Canada should have had another penalty, but the officials and VAR incorrectly called offside on a ball played by Belgium that put a Canadian in to be fouled in the box.
I mentioned elite teams earlier. With one round of matches almost complete, my feeling is that England, France, Brazil, and Spain are a cut above everybody else and should be favored to win their matches. As for the rest, I think pretty much any team can win any particular match.