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World Cup 2022: Matchday Eight Talking Points

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Soccer Football – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group H – South Korea v Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar – November 28, 2022 Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Molly Darlington

  • Cameroon only have themselves to blame for failing to maximize on all three points against Serbia yesterday, in a game laced in goals 
  • The Indomitable Lions got into this fixture needing an all three points, given they face an uphill task against Brazil in their last match of the group stages.

Concentration lapses cost Cameroon

The Indomitable Lions only have themselves to blame for failing to maximize on all
three points against Serbia yesterday, in a game laced in goals.

Cameroon got
into this fixture needing an all three points, given they face an uphill task
against Brazil in their last match of the group stages. Victory would have
given them a more solid platform to build upon heading into matchday 3.

After
Jean-Charles Castelletto had put them ahead in the 28th minute, Cameroon
decided to sit back in a mid-block 4-3-3 narrow formation that emphasized on
denying Serbia any spaces to create inroads.

They also
tried not to tight mark Mitrovic, who is very good at holding the ball up and
using his brute strength to spin away from opponents while also creating spaces
for other people.

However,
they just could not concentrate, as they conceded two quick goals before the
break heading into halftime.Cameroon just could not find a way to mitigate
Filip Kostic’s threat down the left hand side, as he was giving them all sorts
of problems with his dangerous deliveries.

For Serbia’s
third goal, he combined well with Mitrovic, before giving a dangerous low cross
that caused confusion in the Cameroonian penalty box which resulted in a goal
by Mitrovic.

The
introduction of Vincent Aboubakar stretched the Serbian defense, which
eventually resulted in an equalizer for Cameroon in the 66th minute. From then
on, Cameroon tried to huff and puff, but they could not find a way to score a
fourth. Their superior 2.29 xG to Serbia’s 1.18 suggests that they were
slightly the better side, but concentration lapses defensively cost them
bigtime.

 

Ruthless
Ghanan finish off South Korea 

Mohammed
Kudus showed the world why most sides are after his signature, as he netted a
brace that was vital in giving Ghana a much needed 3 points at the expense of
South Korea.

The first of
his two goals was a timely header past Kim Seung-Gyu’s net after getting on the
end of Jordan Ayew’s well weighted cross to put his side 2-0 up.

The second
was the winning goal for Ghana, after they had forfeited the lead and let South
Korea back into the game through two goals from Gue-Sung Yo.

Left back,
Gideon Mensah got to the byline and delivered a cut back meant for Inaki
Williams, but Williams intelligently dummied it before it got to the path of
Kudus who hit it first time into the back corner.

Kudus’
finishing summed up Ghana’s luck in front of goal last night, as all their 3
goals were from a 1.80 expected goals (XG), which now sets them up well for their
third match against Uruguay.

 

Uruguay’s
tactical tweak troubles Portugal

Uruguay are
a side well renowned for being successful in a 4-2-2-2 formation, first under
the legendary Oscar Tavarez, and now under current incumbent, Diego Alonso. In
qualifying, they were very successful using this formation.

The main
highlight of their tactical blueprint involved the midfield pivot of Rodriguo
Bentancur and Fede Valverede were excellent at taking turns dropping between
the center backs to collect the ball before spraying it forwards as the other
made runs to support the attack.

However,Alonso
opted for the 3-5-2 formation with the aim of blocking the spaces Joao Felix
and Bruno Fernandes are capable of operating in before creating chances, and
although it helped mitigate this, it still was not enough to prevent the loss
to Portugal.

Using Cavani
as a withdrawn striker to help create overloads in the midfield, Portugal’s
technicians struggled to create inroads in the first half, and it had to take
until Bruno Fernandes’ attempted cross to Ronaldo to get into the back of the
net.

Portugal
sealed all three points through Bruno’s late second goal of the night through
the penalty spot, sealing their place in the round of 16 and leaving Alonso
scratching his head as to whether he should revert to basics ahead of their
final match.

 

Casemiro
unleashes inner joga bonito

Casemiro is
renowned for being a discrete player in the mold of Gilbeto Silva, in that he
wins the ball back and gives others a platform to express themselves. He did it
countless times at Madrid as he allowed both Luca Modric and Tony Kroos to set
the tone for their matches which contributed to their 3 consecutive champions
league titles.

For Brazil,
he occupies a role not too dissimilar, as he allows Lucas Paquetta and Neymar
to have the freedom to create inroads and win matches for Brazil. To be the
water carrier, the less flashy player.

Against
Switzerland last night, he got the all-important goal for them, after a finesse
shot past Yann Sommer’s net. Marquinos sprayed the ball wide to Vinicius
Junior, who then passed it to Rodriguo who then instantly layed it onto
Casemiro’s path before striking the ball in.

The goal was
enough to seal Brazil’s place in the round of 16 with a game to spare.



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