World Cup round-up: Senegal's sensational comeback, USA through

November, 30/2022 - 16:43
In Group A, the Netherlands are through after beating Qatar 2-0, while Senegal completed a stunning comeback against Ecuador to progress. Wales and Iran said their goodbye to the tournament after losses to England and the USA.

 

Senegal came back from the brink of elimination. — AFP/VNA Photo

Anh Đức

HÀ NỘI — The final round of the group stage in the 2022 FIFA World Cup started with Group A and B matches on Tuesday.

In Group A, the Netherlands are through after beating Qatar 2-0, while Senegal completed a stunning comeback against Ecuador to progress. Wales and Iran said their goodbye to the tournament after losses to England and the USA.

Young stars help Netherlands top group; Senegal stuns Ecuador to progress

Qatar became the first-ever World Cup host to exit the competition without a single point.

The Maroons were dominated by a relaxed Netherlands for 90 minutes in the Al Bayt.

Cody Gakpo continued his meteoric rise with a third consecutive goal, after a great solo play in the first half.

Qatar had more chances compared to their previous matches, but couldn't find a goal to please their fans and were punished by the Netherlands at the start of the second half.

After Memphis Depay failed to beat Barsham Meshaal at the near post, Frenkie De Jong tapped home Netherlands' second goal.

Steven Berghuis could have made it 3-0 for the Dutch, but the goal was disallowed after Gakpo handballed in the leadup.

Meanwhile, at the Khalifa International Stadium, Ecuador and Senegal faced off in a battle for second place.

Although Ecuador's task was easier since they only needed a draw, Enner Valencia and his teammates could not deliver.

After 44 minutes of pressure from Senegal, the Lions got the opener from Ismaila Sarr's penalty.

A crazy turn of events ensued in the second half. Ecuador pushed on to get the equaliser they craved and got what they wanted through Moises Caicedo's goal in the 67th minute.

But only three minutes later, Aliou Cisse's men restored their lead through Chelsea's Kalidou Koulibaly, also from a header.

A lethargic Enner Valencia was not on point in the patch, and could not carry Ecuador like his past two games. On the contrary, Senegal were energetic, even without their star Sadio Mané.

England win in Home Nations derby; heroic Pulisic helps USA

Marcus Rashford (11) celebrating England's opener with Declan Rice (4). — AFP/VNA Photo

Wales had to beat England and hope for the USA to draw against Iran to have a chance to progress.

But Rob Page's men could not even complete the prerequisites.

In a match where Gareth Southgate replied to the calls of fans by replacing Mason Mount with Phil Foden, England showed a different face compared to their lackluster draw against the USA.

A staggering seventy-four per cent possession was recorded in the first half meant that England were in total control. Gareth Bale and co. however, survived the enormous pressure and ended the half goalless.

Subbed off after the first half, the injured Bale and Wales knew that their dance at the World Cup was over. England on the other hand ramped up the speed.

In the 50th minute, Marcus Rashford scored the first free-kick goal in the World Cup, before Phil Foden doubled England's lead two minutes later.

Eighteen minutes later, Rashford danced past two Welsh defenders, before hitting a shot that nutmegged both Ben Davies and Danny Ward into the back of the net. The match ended 3-0 to England.

Elsewhere in Al Thumama Stadium, Iran and the USA face off in a decider match where The Stars and Stripes needed a win to qualify.

Thousands of American fans at the stadium got their wish in the 38th minute when star striker Christian Pulisic beat Alireza Beiranvand at the far post to make it 1-0 to the USA.

Iran pushed forward in the second half for the equaliser, but only posed danger in the final minutes. Morteza Pouraliganji's header could have saved Team Melli, but it was inches wide.

Ali Karimi fell down inside the box in the final moments, but Antonio Mateu Lahoz waived away the protests after consulting with VAR. The match then ended 1-0 for the USA.

England will face Senegal, while the USA will have a huge mountain to climb against the Netherlands in the coming knockout round. — VNS

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