World Cup Daily: Portugal, Brazil look like contenders in tournament debuts
While Uruguay failed to live up to the pre-tournament hype in its 2022 World Cup debut, Brazil and Portugal looked as convincing as any team that’s played so far.
Here’s everything that happened in the World Cup today and what to watch tomorrow.
Breel Embolo, who was born in Cameroon, scored the game-winner for Switzerland against the Indomitable Lions on Thursday. Out of respect, he didn’t celebrate his goal.
Cameroon picking up three points against Switzerland is huge considering who its next two opponents are: Serbia and Brazil.
There were scoreless draws in the first round of group stage matches — four to be exact — but none was as uneventful as Uruguay-South Korea. Neither team had a shot on goal. Both teams picked up points, though, which puts them in a good position going into the final two group stage matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo got things going for Portugal in its first game of the tournament and his teammates returned the favor, scoring two more and holding off a late comeback effort from Ghana. Portugal is now at the top of the group and if it consistently plays like it did on Thursday, there’s no reason to believe it’ll fall from that spot.
It’s incredible that Brazil didn’t have more goals than it did against Serbia. We knew Brazil’s attacking combinations would be unfair before a ball had even been kicked, but they lived up to the hype in the first game. Of the 22 shots it took, nine were on target, and it finished with an xG of 2.34.
GOAL OF THE DAY
Forget Goal of the Day; this might be the Goal of the Tournament when it’s all said and done.
ASSIST OF THE DAY
Bruno Fernandes entered the tournament as one of the world’s most dangerous setup men — he showed why on Thursday. Any later, and João Félix would have been offside.
Iñaki Williams nearly bagged a late-equalizer for Ghana because he sneaked behind Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa, who had no idea he was there.
Had it gone in, it would have been one of the tournament’s most memorable moments — instead, it’s just our must-see moment of the day.
Wales vs. Iran, 5 a.m. ET on FS1
Fans of Iran and Wales won’t be the only people watching Friday’s game attentively. The United States’ hopes of advancing to the knockout stage would get a nice boost with an Iran win or draw. The last thing the U.S. needs is a Wales win.
Qatar vs. Senegal, 8 a.m. ET on FS1
After losing its opener to Ecuador, Qatar will be looking to get its first win of the tournament against a Senegal team trying to do the same. A loss would effectively disqualify the host nation from the World Cup.
Netherlands vs. Ecuador, 11 a.m. ET on FOX
Ecuador had no problem against Qatar in the opening match of the tournament — how will it fair against a Netherlands side coming off of a confidence-building win against a team many thought would be a dark-horse for the title?
England vs. United States, 2 p.m. ET on FOX
Soccer? Football? It will all be decided on Friday, as will the United States’ path to the knockout stage.