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World Cup Rewind: Germany ties Spain, Canada eliminated, and more


Germany and Spain squared off in Group E action on Sunday with Hansi Flick’s squad fighting back to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Nicklas Fullkrug’s 83rd minute equalizer helped the Germans earn one point against Spain in a 1-1 draw. VAR ruled out an opening goal for Germany while Alvaro Morata’s second-half goal had propelled Spain in front.

Fullkrug came off the bench to help Germany tie things up with seven minutes to go. The veteran forward steamed upfield before taking the ball off of Jamal Musiala’s foot and blasting past Unai Simon.

Morata got on the end of Jordi Alba’s cross in the 62nd minute to break the deadlock, propelling Spain in front at the time.

Antonio Rudiger’s headed finish in the 40th minute looked to have given Germany a first-half lead, but VAR ruled that the veteran centerback was offsides. Joshua Kimmich came close to giving Germany a lead in the 56th minute, but Simon was up to the task to deny the Bayern Munich midfielder.

Simon finished with three saves while Manuel Neuer made two of his own.

Spain remains top of Group E heading into Thursday’s showdown with Japan while last-place Germany needs to defeat Costa Rica to have any chance of advancing.

Here is a closer look at Sunday’s World Cup action:

Croatia 4, Canada 1

(Andrej Kramaric 36′, 70′, Marko Livaja 44′, Lovro Majer 90+4′) – (Alphonso Davies 2′)

Croatia received an early sucker punch from Croatia in its Group F showdown on Sunday, but eventually rallied to score four-answered goals in a comeback victory.

Andrej Kramaric scored twice for Zlatko Dalic’s squad while Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer also celebrated goals of their own in a 4-1 win. Croatia now leads Group F following Morocco’s shock win over group favorites Belgium.

Canada took an early lead with Alphonso Davies scoring his first World Cup goal after only 69 seconds. Tajon Buchanan’s deadly cross from the right wing was headed home by Davies, giving John Herdman’s squad an early advantage.

Croatia took some time to get things going, but eventually swung momentum back in its favor of good. Ivan Perisic’s low cross in the 36th minute was hammered home by Kramaric for his 21st international goal for his country.

Marko Livaja propelled Croatia in front 2-1 just before halftime after Josip Juranovic’s picked out his offensive teammate in the box. Livaja did the rest, beating Milan Borjan to the bottom corner.

Kramaric extended Croatia’s lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute with Perisic once again playing the distributor for the goal. It was the latest defensive breakdown for Canada, which struggled to keep the veteran Croatian side at bay.

Majer came off the bench to add a fourth goal for Croatia in the final minutes, eliminating Canada from the tournament with one match remaining.

Croatia will face Belgium on Thursday while Canada aims to take Morocco with them in the final group stage match.

Belgium 0, Morocco 2

(Abdelhamid Sabiri 73′, Zakaria Aboykhlal 90+2′)

Morocco earned one of its most-historic victories on Sunday with a 2-0 shutout triumph over tournament contenders Belgium.

A pair of second-half goals propelled Walid Regragui’s side to an important three points heading into Thursday’s final group stage showdown with Canada.

Hakim Ziyech was denied a first-half opener by VAR despite sending a powerful strike past Thibaut Courtois. Ziyech’s free-kick finish was waived off for offsides as Romain Saiss was whistled as the guilty party.

Munir denied both Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens in the second half, keeping the two sides level with 25+ minutes to go. Morocco would claim the breakthrough goal with Abdelhamid Sabiri beating Courtois with a free kick.

Sabiri curled a right-footed shot into the box from the left wing, but did not need a touch from his teammates as the effort nestled into the bottom corner.

Courtois could not get to Sabiri’s free kick finish in the 73rd minute, as Morocco celebrated a historic lead.

Morocco would ice the victory in stoppage time as Ziyech’s pass was roofed into the top of the net by Aboukhlal. Munir finished with three saves as Morocco leapfrogged Belgium into first place.

Belgium will take on Croatia on Thursday while Morocco faces Canada.

Japan 0, Costa Rica 1

(Keysher Fuller 81′)

Costa Rica rebounded in a major way on Sunday with the Ticos edging Japan 1-0 thanks to Keysher Fuller’s second-half goal.

Both teams struggled majorly for offensive chances, but Fuller came up with the breakthrough goal in the dying moments of the match. Yeltsin Tejeda passed to Fuller at the top of the Japan box, before watching the right wing back curl a shot into the top corner.

Keylor Navas finished the match with a three-save shutout as Costa Rica stayed alive heading into its final group stage match. Japan will take on Spain on Thursday while Costa Rica faces Germany.


  1. Vacqui- You seemed to understand the player pool as I do. So you know Sargent & Haji were bread, trained, & developed in the youth system to be CFs for the US. So was Morris before them. For me, it’s not about the “sexy pick”@ CF but I would like to see the 4-3-3 function properly. I see you & Telle57 had a NFL conversation. So you understand gap integrity!! Giroud may not have scored in ‘18 but he kept the opposing defenses honest, by shooting & having hockey assists. Morata & Fullkrug weren’t highly thought of by their managers. Morata was Enrique’s sub to change things up & jolt some energy to the line up, or else he starts over Ferran Torres. Enrique’s mistake is playing Pedri & Gavi at the same time. Fullkrug was with Bremen when they went down to the B2 and last minute injury replacement for Germany. I think, naw, scratch that I know, US main issue with the 4-3-3 is LM. MMA only has 2 multi-goal matches, both in WCQ, to their name. Pedri & Gavi aren’t strong enough yet, to handle physical play, opposite of MMA, which is physical midfield, not creative or inventive at all. As you know, Champions League matches hide stuff like this. International play exposes players weaknesses. Musah doesn’t have any assist for country and maybe has 1 for Valencia. You stick Jesus (9 assists in the MLS b4 converting to a CF), or LDT, (who sets players up for 1 time shots, only for players to miss shots on goal), at LM, our CFs will get service. You put Weah at LW, the CFs will get service. CP always drops, rarely passes to the middle. Never passes it to Jedi on the run, never passes a through ball to release Jedi, so Jedi can pass it pass the goal mouth. Example-Canada WCQ home. (After Pefok held the ball up, Pefok passes to Acosta passed the ball to Jedi, Jedi sends the ball across goal; BA knocks it in back post). CP in 2 WC matches isn’t looking to get the CFs involved, something he used to do. Gio Reyna would be nice at LM. GB is his godfather so who knows what the situation is w/ him & GB. Gio also hasn’t shown he can play ‘90 minutes of international comp without being injured. However Tuesday turns out w/ personnel or tactics, I hope we win. Players hold more responsibility than a manager, so a win v Iran would def be a team achievement.

  2. Well, what do you know?! Spain puts in a CF, and they score. Germany puts in the only CF on their roster and they score. Is their a country who is successful without playing a CF? Weah won’t be a good CF for the US because he doesn’t stay central. He likes breaking in from an outside position and he has setup moves similar to players we’re familiar. Like Mane, Mbappe, Hazard, Muller, Gnabry, Sterling, Salah, aren’t good CFs, neither is Gio Reyna, nor BA. US needs to play with a CF to keep the defense honest. False 9s, which no one in the world is, do not work. The false 9 purpose is to get your best dribbler inside the 18 against the CBs. This puts pressure on the CBs to make a decision to defend without giving up a penalty. The false 9 also has the ability inside the 18 to pass, shoot, or dribble; creating what is commonly known as a triple threat position. Argentina created this exclusively for Maradona in the 80s. I repeat- The 1980s!! Is there any club/country with a player that has any of these characteristics? Harry Kane is the closest to this and he does most of his decision making in the midfield and not the 18. Firmino is CF that drops. He’s hardly ever in triple threat position in the 18 because he drops into the midfield. Anyone who isn’t a traditional CF playing CF, doesn’t make them a false 9. They’re just a player playing out of position. Make sense?

    • why can’t we play 2 forwards, we used to have landon and dempsey up top at a point. neither of them was a target guy. nor does 3 across the top seem to be resulting in a bunch of chances. personally i see it as a thinking response to not really having a single target or functioning false 9 concept. it also lets you push the wings back to the mid line which gets you a sound 2 layer wing defense concept. most importantly, i mean, god forbid we notice what works. 4 years and change of this and there’s near zero reason to play a 433 other than we’ve been stubbornly trying to play this way since we hired GB.

    • “US needs to play with a CF to keep the defense honest.”

      I’m sure even Gregg would agree with you. Morata and Fulkrug would start for the USMNT right now but they’re not USMNT eligible.

      You have an American CF who is worth a fuck?

      • didn’t we just see how a 442 occupied the whole backline, slowed thinking, created passing misfires? you have a CF for each CB. the wings can push up to the wingbacks. no longer can they run the poor lone 9 around playing keepaway, or make the forwards shift side to side.

        to get punchy the modern idea of the 433 is get those wings going to goal. like you really have 3 forwards and not just a central guy. what we do feels like a 451 but with the wings pushing dangerously high with no defensive help. it’s a 433 but the wings are out near the chalk. the forwards are not close enough to all take shots on goal, or pass to each other. we then too often just whack in lofted crosses to an isolated and often “unavailable” 9 like some 1990s EPL side before they made the continental style shift, got the ball on the ground. the offense is ineffective low percent chance stuff. if 442 is inherently better for defense and makes them more lively on offense, leave the old formation curbside. for all the snob gibberish about 433 if we keep the ball mostly on the ground 442 can be just as slick — perhaps more so because the forwards can support each other, or make runs closer to the wings — so we don’t just whack crosses in like a kickball team. it’s more about what we “do now” than how a formation has been used “before.” the talent level has gone up, the skill level has gone up, i don’t see this ever becoming some houston dynamo 2006 style kickball team even if it lines up in a 442.

        i mean, i have seen 451 as kickball with the northern irish and tiki taka with spain. i have seen 433 as kickball. i think the folks trying to force this to stay 433 under this coach are just being naive control freaks.

    • Mr. Voice,

      “why can’t we play 2 forwards, we used to have landon and dempsey up top at a point. neither of them was a target guy.”

      You could put Pulisic up there if you had a Giroud or a Clint neither of which we have. Pulisic and Giroud were a good combo with Chelsea. Of course Chelsea have a lot of other attacking options to replace what Christian does on the wing, something the USMNT does not have.

      ‘nor does 3 across the top seem to be resulting in a bunch of chances. personally i see it as a thinking response to not really having a single target or functioning false 9 concept.”

      “3 across the top”, “a single target”, a “false 9” it doesn’t matter because none of these concepts work.

      All this tactical talk is just one big circle jerk.

      Gregg needs to way to get the team to score consistently and reliably.


      1. He doesn’t know how to set up his guys to do that
      2. His guys can’t do that

      Either way Gregg is not getting the job done.

      Either get a new Gregg or get new guys.

      If Pulisic is Donovan then you have to find a Clint and the only thing Ferreira has in common with Clint is a beard and Texas. He might speak French but that doesn’t make him Giroud.

      Jordan is a former team mate and probably good friends with Clint but no, he’s not Clint. And I don’t think he speaks French either. And he’s losing his hair.

      And no one is mistaking Hadji or Josh for Clint or Giroud anytime soon. The USMNT doesn’t have the talent to act on replicating your twin forward suggestion by Tuesday.

      And while I know that Pefok speaks French he’s not here and not as good as Giroud.

      Americans are used to buying into lies, fantasy and bullshit. This is a very promising player pool but it’s a lie that it is the greatest ever, at least not yet.

      There are some seriously significant holes.

      I would call the lack of a halfway decent regular scorer other than Christian ( 21 goals) a serious hole.

      A proven number 10 that the manager is willing to play as a #10 is another potentially serious deficit.

      • personally as a defender i always questioned whether we had the DEFENSE of a golden generation team. we have had some injuries but it’s not yet clear if we have 4 good backs who can mark. i found that blind spot telling of the folks making such comments. you will play excellent offenses. you need to be able to stop them and not just be looking ahead to your next possession. you need 2 halves of a successful team. but then i feel like we have organizational capture by folks who took this in a soft passing direction and have already had to correct back to the middle to give this team some grit, though not yet the offense.

        though i am not sure if we have (m)any effective strikers, i think the offensive situation is closer to a selection question than a talent one. we have a ton of players and it’s figuring out the mix to get more varied skill sets to create chances and finish. we could use a sniper and maybe some more MF skill, but it’s a pretty good bunch of players. defender is more where i am worried if we have the talent level anywhere in the pool or pipeline to compete with elite teams and elevate the program. i remain somewhat concerned that while there was a lot of 2010s lip flapping about improving the team, that some of what happened was the juggle king end of the sport grabbing hold of the team using “improvement” as a cynical and insincere catchphrase when they don’t really have a better solution other than “try my thing and see what happens” but knew that at the time of bradley and first cycle klinsi when these arguments were being had, you had to sell new ideas to a fanbase who could already expect regular round of 16 trips. they thus went with, “this will take us beyond the plateau.” judging by how WCQ went, as well as the tie to start this tournament, they aren’t onto secret sauce. they were just sick of kickball and said whatever it took to get a change made.

        personally i think the snobs pimping this stuff are stuck back in 2010-15 with spain or something. the world has moved on. 433 is passe as fashion. there are more effective formations. there are newer fashions. move on. but then we hired a coach whose last league success dated back to 2015. i kind of think the segment of the fanboys pushing this stuff is stuck back 5 years ago reacting against bradley still. the team was already ball on the ground by klinsi. the team is already aeons past 2010 in terms of skill level. the formation does not make that so and you can funnel that talent into whatever mold we want and still probably get mostly ground ball soccer. nothing says we have to play 433 to balance traditional US athleticism, defense, and organization with a more sophisticated and skilled offense. historically french, german, argentine, and italian teams have mixed skill one end with spine the other way. the two are not mutually exclusive and that’s the biggest lie of them all. which i think we have relearned again this cycle.

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