The fittest player at the World Cup so far is none other than Japan right back Hiroki Sakai.
In a team of workaholics, the Olympique Marseille defender is the thoroughbred. In Japan’s opening game 2-1 victory over Colombia, the South Americans’ best player was flying left wing back Johan Mujica. But he couldn’t topple Sakai.
He followed up his stellar start by pocketing Senegal star man Sadio Mane in Sunday’s 2-2 draw. Sakai is lean, mean, strong and fit as a fiddle.
Top notch display:
Colombia closed out Match Day Two at Russia 2018 with a bang. Pound for pound, Colombia’s 3-0 rout of Poland is the most complete display by any team at the World Cup.
Stung by a 1-2 setback at the hands of Japan on Match Day a one, Jose Pekerman decided to field three playmakers. Carlos Quintero, James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado all played a perfect game as the South Americans demolished one of Russia 2018’s seeded teams.
I choose Colombia’s victory over Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany, England’s 6-1 dismantling of Panama and Russia’s 5-0 whitewash over Saudi Arabia because they played on another planet.
High flyer of the tournament so far is Russian substitute turned starter Denis Cheryshev.
This year’s World Cup has so far been dominated by household names in world football. For example, players leading the chase for the Golden Boot are Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Diego Costa.
Cheryshev is the only one gate-crashing the party. And he is doing so by scoring one spectacular goal after another.
He is closely followed by Nigeria’s two goal hero Ahmed Musa, who couldn’t even command a place on Leicester City’s bench but destroyed Iceland.
The outstanding football association of Russia 2018 thus far is Europe. Five out of the six teams that had booked places in the knock out rounds by the end of Match Day two were from Uefa.
Russia, France, Belgium, England, Croatia and Uruguay are the six teams that had booked places in the Round Of 16 by the end of Match Day two. Of these, only Uruguay are non Europeans.
Meanwhile, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Costa Rica, Poland and Panama were the first teams to book their flights home. Three of them represent the Confederation of African Football.
English Premier League versus Spanish Primera Liga: A cursory glance at the top scorer’s chart reveals this Fifa World Cup is being dominated by players from the world’s top two leagues.
More than half of the goals scored at the tournament have been netted by players plying their trade either in the EPL or La Liga. Indeed ninety percent of the goals netted in the tournament’s three highest scoring games – Spain 3-3 Portugal, England 6-1 Panama and Belgium 5-2 Tunisia, were netted by players from the two leagues.