World Cup Tour 2022: Richarlison-led Golazo highlights best group-stage openers

Month football In full swing, and since Sunday when Qatar and Ecuador started the 2022 World Cup, there has been no shortage of work. While some of the favorites looked as expected, other teams managed to shock us. Each country has now played their first match, so it’s time to take a look at what happened as the second round of group stage matches kicked off on Friday.

The best game

Thursday’s Group H match between Portugal and Ghana was an uphill ride. The first half wasn’t much, but the second half had a little bit of everything. Cristiano Ronaldo won a simple penalty kick and became the first player to score in the World Cup five times in a row. Ghana equalized and Portugal responded quickly with two goals thanks to assists from Bruno Fernandes. Ousmane Bockarie then scored the back-netting for Ghana in the 89th minute and capped it off with Ronaldo Seo’s famous celebration. The best moment came in stoppage time, and he almost dealt a crushing blow to Portugal.

Instead, the Portuguese managed to hang on to win 3-2, but this was full of entertainment from two sides ready to attack without remorse. Ghana also became the first African country to score in this World Cup and will surely make life difficult for Uruguay and Korea in Group H.

Biggest annoyance

This one is a no-brainer. Whether you set that early alarm or decide to forgo sleep and stay up late to see Lionel Messi in action… congratulations. He ended up scoring his goal, just 10 minutes later by burying a penalty. But Saudi Arabia emerged in the second half and pulled off what is arguably the most memorable moment in the country’s football history. Not only was it about beating Argentina 2-1, he was dealing a huge blow to a team that was on a 36-match unbeaten run. This should have been the easiest Group C match for Argentina and instead resulted in their first loss since July 3, 2019. The occasion was so momentous that King Salman bin Abdulaziz declared Wednesday a public holiday in celebration of the upset. This is what the World Cup is about. No matter what happens in the rest of the tournament, the Saudis will forever cherish that memory…and so will the Argentines, who now face a must-win match against Mexico to stay alive.

Spain’s players and fans had a lot to celebrate on Wednesday at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Which team looked better

The correct answer here might be France (more on that later), but at any time, a football The team puts a touchdown on the board, and it’s hard to get past that. Spain, albeit against a very weak Costa Rica team, sent the world a quick reminder that they are still very good. The goals poured in from every direction as six goalscorers contributed to the 7-0 win. Get this: When Spain won the World Cup in 2010, they scored eight goals in that entire tournament. They are just shy of that mark after their opener, and coach Luis Enrique should feel good about his choices. Having a teen, Gavi, at the forefront of this epic performance says a lot the Red May be able to do in Qatar. Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres were really strong. Their next game will be against a desperate Germany and it will really show us if this is a team destined to run or if a win over Costa Rica is just taking advantage of an inferior team.

The most amazing team

For those of us who have followed the CONCACAF Qualifiers closely, Canada’s energy wasn’t too surprising. But we also have to admit that they definitely exceeded expectations in losing 1-0 against Belgium. From the first whistle, it was clear that John Herdman had told his team to do so. Sit down and let the #2 ranked team in the world dictate the game? Nah. Instead, Canada was the dominant side as Alphonso Davies, Tajoon Buchanan and Richie Larea helped keep the pressure up. It paid off when they were awarded a penalty, but unfortunately Davies collided with world class goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. What could it have been. Canada finished with an amazing 22 shots, which tells you everything you need to know about how they handled this shot. Only three of those were on target, and those missed chances turned into a conceding goal that ended up being the difference. However, this performance was a showcase of how Canada has reached the World Cup for the first time since 1986 – and they don’t intend for this to be a quick trip to Qatar.

AL-WAKRAH, QATAR - NOVEMBER 22: France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2022 World Cup Group D match between France and Australia at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar on November 22, 2022 (Photo by Erç at Ertürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty images)

Kylian Mbappe and France look set to defend the World Cup in Qatar. (Photo by Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

the best player

Kylian Mbappe is the best player in the world. It has been for quite some time. The cool thing about the World Cup is that it allows everyone to notice the new and upcoming talent. We, as nostalgic sports fans, love to hold on to the past and greats like Messi and Ronaldo. Which is good because they are both in Qatar and should be commended. But that stick has been passed. Russia 2018 was when Mbappe proved that to the world, and he looks set to battle it out again in Qatar. When Mbappé is on the field he is simply faster and more dynamic than everyone else, especially the poor defenders who are tasked with trying to slow him down. As he often did, he sprinted past Australia creating constant pressure and orchestrating a relentless French attack. He finished with a goal and an assist, which could have easily counted as some missed opportunities. Much has been said about the various notable injuries to the current champions, but Mbappe and co have made that seem like no problem by picking up where they left off. Things are sure to get a little more difficult glaucoma Go ahead, but with a footballer like that in your team, you’ll always be a favourite. Oh yeah, and he’s only 23 years old.

Golazo week

Whenever Brazil steps onto the pitch, there is a chance that something amazing can happen. It took them a while to break through Serbia’s sound defence, but when they did… oh man. Richarlison took matters into his own hands in the final match of the group stage opener and had already bid for the tournament goal.

But we have to mention an honorable mention for Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dosari, who pulled off some magic with a sloppy move and ended up facing Argentina. It is a goal and a result that we will talk about in all tournaments and beyond.

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