Football | June 25, 2018

The FIFA World Cup’s 5 Best Moments from the Second Round of Fixtures

The second round of group games at the FIFA World Cup continued to provide more thrilling moments. JD Sports takes a look at five of the best:

5. Lingardinho’s Worldy in the Three Lions’ Record World Cup Win

The Three Lions beat Los Canaleros 6-1, to record their biggest win at a World Cup finals. With six of England’s eight goals, so far, arriving from set pieces, Lingard has proven to be the Three Lions’ biggest threat from open play.

After missing a hatful of chances against Tunisia, Jesse Lingard pulled a strike out of the top draw against Panama. Playing an incisive one-two with Raheem Sterling, England’s number seven curled a sumptuous long-range shot into the top right-hand corner.

4. Musa’s Double Makes the Super Eagles Fly

Off the pitch Nigeria have illuminated the World Cup with their stunning kits. However, in one of the toughest groups in Russia, it looked like their tournament might be coming to an end after just two games.

Enter Ahmed Musa: his control and finish for the Super Eagles’ first goal had the flamboyance and exuberance to match his team’s apparel. If that wasn’t enough, Musa’s second goal saw him venture on a slalom run, bursting past a defender, before rounding the keeper to coolly slot home.

Purchased by Leicester City for a club record £16.6 million in July 2016, Musa returned to the Russian Premier League on loan, after managing just 4 goals in 32 games for the Foxes. With 61 goals in 180 games for CSKA Moscow, and now two beautiful World Cup goals, Musa is clearly enjoying life in Russia.

3. Modric Masterclass Puts Messi’s Men to the Sword

After Lionel Messi’s penalty was saved against Iceland, fans around the world braced themselves for an epic performance from one of the greatest 10s in football history.

Instead, it was another number ten, Luka Modric, who served up a moment to remember, as Croatia ran out 3-0 winners and left Argentina on the brink of World Cup elimination.

Modric followed up his penalty against Nigeria in the first round of group games with a pinpoint curling shot from outside the area.

A small part of Nicolás Otamendi may have been daring the Madrid magician to shoot.  If so, that small part is deeply regretful now.

2. Prince Philippe Rescues the Samba Boys

Despite a sensational Coutinho goal in Brazil’s opening game, the Seleção had to settle for a point after Switzerland equalised from a corner.  So when 90 minutes had passed in the samba boys’ second group game, with the scoreline remaining goalless, tensions were high for all Brazilian fans.

The Brazilians had huffed and puffed – creating 23 chances compared to Costa Rica’s four – but couldn’t find a way through, until Coutinho’s composed stoppage-time effort nutmegged Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas, to send the samba boys on their way.

Neymar would add a second, and pour out emotional tears at the final whistle, but the show belonged to Coutinho, who delivered when the five-star South American giants needed their moment of inspiration.

1. Toni Hits Kroos Control to Save World Champs

In the first round of group games, there was no bigger shock than Mexico’s 1-0 victory over the World Champions Germany. A draw in their next fixture against Sweden, would have left Die Mannschaft’s qualification hopes relying on other results going in their favour.

After conceding to Ola Toivonen in the first half, Marco Reus fortuitously equalised after the break to set up a grand stand finish. But with eight minutes to go, a second yellow card for Jerome Boateng made life that bit more difficult for one of the tournament’s favourites.

In the fifth and final minute of stoppage-time, Germany were presented with one final opportunity from a free-kick to earn the win at the death. The free-kick from the left side of the penalty box appeared to be in more of a crossing position, than a shooting position. Still, Kroos executed an unstoppable whipped free-kick beyond the keeper to kick start Germany’s World Cup campaign in Russia.

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