Saturday, November 26, 2022

The M-Saviours

Today I woke up to watch two matches I had been very excited about to watch in this World Cup: Denmark-France and Argentina-Mexico. Both are in each of their ways almost modern classic, as the sides have played often in both World Cups and European championships (in the case of Denmark-France).

Denmark-France was as expected  match where France would dominate the puny and defensive Danes. While the absences of Kanté and Pogba were barely felt for France, Denmark missing Delaney and Kjær were a huge weakness for a side that came out to tie. In the end going for a tie should be punished, and it was by no other than the great Kylian Mbappé, who scored both French goals when squeezing in between the Danish defense in tight spaces, even after Andreas Christensen's equalizer.

France has weaknesses: the dependency on Kylian Mbapppé's speed and their lack of concentration in defense (Denmark should never have had the quality to threaten them), but with two victories in two matches they should be considered favourites, even though they are yet to face any quality opposition.

Denmark in the meantime has to defeat Australia. This is in no way a given (they tied in 2018), but nobody would cry for this Danish side to be eliminated.

Argentina were up against the wall after losing their opening match to Saudi Arabia, and were to face a Mexican side that has looked very weak lately, but are managed by Tata Martino who has in depth knowledge of Argentina (he has managed Paraguay, Argentina and Barcelona). He put a strong disciplined defense, and although Mexico had a couple of approaches in the first half it appeared clear that they were going for the tie. After 0-0 in the first half Argentina pressed more, but at one point it appeared that nothing would open Martino's lock. In the end it was none other than Lionel Messi who with a quick and precise shot from outside the area gave them a well-deserved lead, and the young Benfica player Enzo Fernandez who came on to make it 2-0 with a great strike, and give Argentina a victory that Mexico never had any reply to when it came to attack.

Playing like this Mexico should struggle to defeat Saudi Arabia (who played great against Poland despite losing 0-2, and are still playing to make the last-16). In the meantime Argentina showed that they are still in the tournament, and their next match against Poland will be a heart attack. Poland are not brilliant but certainly have an attack than can threaten Argentina's shaky defense, and one of the tournament's best goalkeepers in Wojciech Szczesny.

Don't miss it.

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