World Cup Recap: Day 11

Hat-trick Kane leads England over Panama, Colombia thump Poland to conclude second round of group stage

Harry Kane was at it again. Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The last round of games in the second matchday of the 2018 FIFA World Cup took place on Sunday. England vs. Panama, Japan vs. Senegal and Poland vs. Colombia would wrap up things in Group G and H before simultaneous matches begin on Monday.

England 6-1 Panama

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod

Attendance: 43,319

Panama was overmatched as England’s talented squad ran through them in a seven goal affair. Eight minutes in, Manchester City’s John Stones knocks in a header from a corner to put the England up 1-nil. It would then be Manchester United’s speedy winger Jesse Lingard who would earn a penalty in the 20th minute. Harry Kane - who came into this match on two goals - buried the penalty to increase the lead to two. Lingard would get himself on the board with a blast from the half moon in the 36th minute. Stones would again capitalize off a set-piece, this time a free kick, in the 40th minute before Kane would convert again from the penalty spot to complete his own double in first half stoppage time. England were up 5-0 at halftime.

Kane picked up a hat-trick in the 62nd minute when a shot by teammate Ruben Loftus-Cheek rebounded off the back of his foot on its way towards the net. Despite being down 6-nil, Panama fans were ecstatic when defender Felipe Baloy would convert off a free kick to score Los Canaleros first goal at a FIFA World Cup in the 78th minute. The match would end with the 6-1 scoreline, securing England and Belgium’s tickets to the round of 16 as Panama and Tunisia look ahead to their final match.

Analysis: England go top of the group with this result and match Belgium on goal difference. This means that the final group match between those two will determine the group winner, if there is a loser. If the teams play to a tie then the side with more fair play points in their favor will be top of the group, which is why England is ahead now. If both are tied, still, then a drawing of lots will need to decide the group winner. In Panama’s case, they will play their final match against Tunisia before both sides leave Russia. Don’t expect that to be a boring affair as both will look to leave with a win. Panama will be aiming for a historic first win at a World Cup while Tunisia will be hoping to get their first win since Argentina 1978.

Notable stat: Harry Kane became the first England player to score a hat-trick at the FIFA World Cup since Gary Lineker at Mexico 1986. Lineker went on to win the tournament’s Golden Boot, an award Kane is now in the lead for with his five goals at Russia 2018.

Japan 2-2 Senegal

Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg

Attendance: 32,572

A battle for the top of the top of Group H would leave us with only the fourth draw of the tournament. Senegal would take the lead in the 11th minute after Liverpool forward Sadio Mane capitalized on a goalkeeping error by Eiji Kawashima. Senegal's Youssouf Sabaly took a shot on goal, which Kawashima punched out. Unfortunately for Japan, Mane would be there next to their goalie to have the ball rebound off his shin and into goal. The Samurai Blue would tie things up in the 34th minute when Yuto Nagatomo and Takashi Inui would combine with ninja-like footwork inside the box.

Both teams would strive for the lead in the second half, with Japan coming closest with a shot of the post around the 64th minute. It would be Senegal that would break the deadlock with a right-to-left strike from Moussa Wague in the 71st minute. The legendary Keisuke Honda would enter the match in the following minute before tying the match in the 78th minute. The match ended 2-2 with everything to be decided on the final matchday.

Analysis: This match felt like a final for both teams, knowing a win would have clinched a spot into the next round. Still with possibilities to be eliminated, both sides control their destiny and will advance with a win. Japan look to have the easier route as they will face a Poland side that has yet to taste victory at Russia 2018. Senegal will face a Colombia side that will also be fighting for qualification.

Notable stat: Senegal have now scored in six of their seven World Cup matches. Japan scored in the opening two matches of a World Cup for the first time since they joint-hosted in 2002.

Poland 0-3 Colombia

Kazan Arena, Kazan

Attendance: 42,873

Both of these sides came into this match with their backs against the wall. A win would mean relief and higher chances of qualification to the next round, a draw would barely mean survival and a loss would mean elimination. The start of the match would be a deadlock. In fact, both sides generated a combined five shots in the first half. The only shot on goal, in fact, came from the Colombia’s goal in the 40th minute where a corner transpired to a header by FC Barcelona’s Yerry Mina. Colombia would lead 1-0 at the half.

Colombia would arrive in the second half with growing confidence, especially after goalkeeper David Ospina denied the equalizer to one of Europe’s top strikers in Robert Lewandowski. Lewandowski’s FC Bayern Munich teammate James Rodriguez would pick up his second assist of the match as Radamel Falcao scored Colombia’s second in the 70th minute. Juan Cuadrado would pen the third for Los Cafeteros just five minutes later. Ospina would suffer an injury at around the 82nd minute on another denial to goal. The Arsenal keeper asked for a substitution but Colombia had made all its changes forcing Colombia to play with a keeper on one good leg for the rest of the match. The South Americans would dominate possession with Poland only posing danger once in the final stretch.

Analysis: This was an uplifting win for Colombia and one that may kick off a run in this World Cup. James Rodriguez showed his quality, picking up Man of the Match honors in his return to the starting lineup. The gravity of Ospina will be the question moving forward but Colombia has good options on the bench in Camilo Vargas and Jose Fernando Cuadrado, both players from the domestic league. For Poland, this is a disappointing exit and it will be interesting to see the energy they show in the final match despite having nothing to play for.

Notable stat: Colombia’s all-time leading scorer, Radamel Falcao, scored his first goal at a FIFA World Cup against Poland.

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Monday, June 25

9 a.m. - [Group A] Uruguay vs. Russia (FOX, Telemundo)

9 a.m. - [Group A] Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt (FS1, NBC Universo)

1 p.m. - [Group B] Spain vs. Morocco (FS1, NBC Universo)

1 p.m. - [Group B] Iran vs. Portugal (FOX, Telemundo)

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There's an elephant in the room when it comes to the Houston Texans. No, it's not Bill O'Brien. He's the ominous black cloud that hoovers over the whole building. That cloud is like a slow moving weather system that's constantly dumping rain and flooding the city. Eventually, it'll pass, we'll rebuild and recover from it.

It's not even the McNair family. Cal and Janice are the building itself. It exists, but needs people around and operating it in order for it to fully function. Sure, it could use some work. After all, it's almost twenty years old and could probably use a facelift. It happens when buildings age and are only taken care of or held to minimal standards.

The elephant in the room is Deshaun Watson. More specifically, his progress as a franchise/superstar quarterback. I've heard different people talk about this in one way, shape, form or whatever. AJ and Fred covered it on ESPN Houston's The Blitz. My friend @itsDanielBsr tweeted it and brought it up as well. There were others who talked about this topic, but these were the two places I encountered it in which I could pay closer attention.

When it comes to Watson, most people believe he's a great talent. However, there is a growing sentiment that it's time for him to take the next step. Watson turned 25 on September 14. He signed his four-year extension about a week before his birthday. When you're getting paid like a top quarterback and people recognize you as one of the better young quarterbacks, there comes a time when you need to poop or get off the pot.

When calling Watson to the carpet, people will call O'Brien into question. O'Brien is a factor in holding Watson back some. He's been the play-caller his whole time here in Houston up until this year when he allegedly turned it over to Tim Kelly. We've all seen how that has gone. O'Brien is also the general manager that traded away Watson's top target in DeAndre Hopkins. These type of things can hinder a young quarterback's growth and development, but at what point do we stop blaming O'Brien and start looking at Watson?

Some will point to the offensive line as a key factor as to why Watson isn't progressing. We've seen him escape sacks and create plays out of thin air. But when is it time to call him to the carpet for not going through his reads and/or making a check-down? He often escapes sacks and looks downfield, but should he be looking to scramble more often? Should he be reading progressions better? These intimate details are answers we won't ever get, but we hope we can understand that Watson is making his reads and decisions the way he's supposed to.

Whether it's his big extension, his bumbling idiot of a head coach, his lack of protection, or his lack of weapons, fans will eventually stop giving Watson a pass. Del said it best on ESPN Houston's The Bench: When will people stop bringing up Clemson when talking about Watson's greatness? NFL quarterbacks have their college career talked about in their rookie seasons. After that, it's all about what have you done for me lately. I sincerely hope Watson realizes his tremendous potential. He's a star now and a superstar in the making. The one thing that he needs is the success on the field that will catapult him into the upper echelon of the other top talents at his position. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Pat Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson all have either a league MVP award and/or a Super Bowl ring. If Watson is to be mentioned in that rarefied air, he needs to start taking the necessary steps. The clock is ticking and people are watching. Your move Deshaun.

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