Sunday in Russia was a bit more interesting, enjoyable and controversial than Saturday – maybe because New Zealand weren’t playing. Stay tuned for an exciting game (I know right?), a skied shot and video replay confusion as I look back at Day Two in the Confederations Cup.
The first game of the day saw European Champions, Portugal, take on Mexico in Kazan. This match-up saw a pragmatic Portuguese team take on an attractive-to-watch Mexican side. Pepe thought he had headed Portugal in front but the referee went to his video replay and ruled the goal out (rightly) for offside but the offside was so long before the actual goal that it may as well have been back when Pepe was bald.
The Europeans took the lead as Cristiano Ronaldo went from drunk Sunday league player to world-class footballer in the space of a few seconds when he stumbled over the ball, only to turn and slide an accurate ball into Ricardo Quaresma who slotted home after taking it past Guillermo Ochoa in the Mexican goal.
Mexico hit back through former Manchester United striker, Javier Hernandez, who headed home after good work on the right by Carlos Vela. The Mexico attack of Hernandez, Vela and Dos Santos was very fluid and brilliant to watch. For once we could see some quality at this tournament. Meanwhile down the other end Ochoa was doing his best to keep Portugal, and specifically Andre Silva, out. He produced an impressive save to deny the young striker but could only flap at a deflected shot from Cedric as Portugal took the lead late on.
However, the drama(ish) didn’t end there as Hector Moreno headed in a Mexico corner to equalise at the death for the Central Americans. It did take a full 30 seconds for ITV commentator, Clive Tyldesley to realise it was in fact Moreno and not Oribe Peralta who had actually scored the goal which was as incompetent as it was infuriating.
The game between Cameroon and Chile may as well have started in the 80th minute. The rest of the match was as dull as I’ve seen and both teams’ finishing was hardly prolific, that was until Alexis Sanchez came on. The Arsenal forward set up Arturo Vidal with around 10 minutes to go but it wasn’t until Eduardo Vargas put the ball in the back of the net a few minutes later did confusion ensue. Sanchez had dribbled into the 6 yard box only to be denied a goal at the last second, the ball fell to Vargas who slotted home but the linesman had his flag up. The referee referred to the VAR system but the goal stood, many were confused as to why he was going to the replays. The game ended 2-0 but the VAR debate will go on long into the night.
Day Three is Russia will see World Champions Germany face the mighty Aussies at 4pm GMT. The game will probably be similar to the Russia vs New Zealand game so I would only watch if you wanted to be entertained by VAR madness. Germany have Leroy Sane, Julian Draxler and Emre Can while Australia have Tim Cahill at their disposal. It’s bound to be a dull, one-sided game so it won’t be much of a change for Germany from their World Cup qualifiers.