• Don Collins

The World Cup is Finally Here

Now that I have had some time to digest the first week of the world's greatest sporting event I can now talk about some of the matches that I watched. Games start as early as 7am and run throughout the day so it is a bit difficult to get to every match while working full time, so I pick and choose which games to watch and not just the most popular teams.

For my first post I would like to talk about one of the more exciting and underrated games in the tournament. This past Tuesday, the host's Russia played Egypt...Mo Saleh FC. Both teams had really aggressive defensive tactics, pressing and pressuring very high up the field from both sides.It made for an interesting match because you saw players flying at the ball left and right and not just sliding and shifting as you do with club soccer. It being Egypt's first game of the tournament ever since their dramatic game to earn the spot in this event, they came out extremely sloppy and unorganized leaving me feeling that it was going to be a long 90 minutes for them.

Egypt however proved me wrong and showed that they were worthy of the spot that they earned, gathering themselves and fighting tooth and nail with Russia and the thousands of fans that were restless the whole match. Having Mo Salah in your side and the season he had at Liverpool you will expect Egypt to play through him, which they did several times, either springing him on the counter or just playing through him and making runs off of that. Russia, on the other hand were looking to find the ball wide often and early and delivered lethal balls early to their 6'5 forward who seemed to be a large threat. In the end after lots of back and forth play, the game was 0-0 at halftime.

Early in the second half things did not go well for Egypt, Russia scored early and after that, that's all she wrote. The early goal gave life to Russia and even backed the fans, leading them to increase in intensity, closing the ball down even more aggressive and faster. The one thing good that came out of this game for Egypt is that VAR (Virtual Assistant Referee) was used effectively, getting the call reversed and awarding Egypt with a PK. Mo Salah stepped up and converted the PK but it was too little too late because by then the game was already 3- nil and the Russian supporters were in full song. A very quiet and uncharacteristic Mo Salah and company opened their 2018 World Cup account with a 3-1 loss to Russia.

I look forward to the rest of the tournament and continuing to post, hope you all enjoyed it.

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