The Barcelona players were back in business today with a number of them on show in different games. It was a great day of football with a number of really enthralling matches that had interesting narratives.
Australia took on Tunisia in the first game today, and the continent nation emerged 1-0 winners from that game. The result puts Australia in a decent position to qualify should they win their last game against Denmark.
Poland took on Saudi Arabia in a game with a lot of context in the group. All eyes were on Saudi after their unbelievably impressive win against Argentina on the opening matchday. Czesław Michniewicz’s team won 2-0 against the gulf nation.
The first European rivalry of this World Cup was up next, with France and Denmark facing off each other. Les Blues were too good for Denmark today, with Didier Deschamp’s team winning 2-1 against the Danish side.
The final game today was arguably the biggest one yet due to the narrative around it, and Argentina knew how important a game this was after their opening game loss to Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, it was Lionel Scaloni’s team that won 2-0 over Mexico.
1. Robert Lewandowski (vs Saudi Arabia)
The World Cup curse is finally over for the Barcelona number nine, with Lewa netting his first-ever goal in football’s biggest competition. The former Bayern Munich man also had an assist to go with the goal in what was a man-of-the-match performance.
Lewa was not involved extensively in the game, but he made a difference for his country and he will be happy to get the monkey off his back. Should have scored one more goal when he tried to chip the goalie but it did not come off.
2. Andreas Christensen (vs France)
He got carded very early in the first half for a cynical challenge of Kylian Mbappe but to be fair to the Dane, he had absolutely no other choice there. Still, the Barcelona defender managed to hold his own since then.
One thing you cannot fault Christensen for is his ability on the ball and his long-range passing was immaculate against France. The talented centre-back also got a goal for his team to make the score 1-1.
3. Ousmane Dembele (vs Denmark)
It’s time to start putting some respect on Dembele’s name. His injury troubles seem to be a thing of the past the fleet-footed French winger is finally showing on the biggest stage how good he can be.
Dembele was France’s best player in the first half, alongside another former Barcelona star Griezmann. He finished the game with three key passes and was simply sensational.
4. Jules Kounde (vs Denmark)
After starting on the bench for France’s first game against Australia, Kounde replaced Benjamin Pavard at right-back today, and the Barcelona number 23 had a solid game for most parts.
Although he was yellow-carded for a late challenge, Kounde was primarily composed and linked up well with Dembele on the right flank. Very impressive from the Frenchman, who looks to have made the right-back slot his own.
5. Lionel Messi (vs Mexico)
In what was more of a physical battle than a football game in the first half, Lionel Messi tried his best to conjure something special to no avail. It was a poor display from Argentina in the first 45, and unfortunately, from Messi as well.
As we have seen so many times in a Barcelona shirt before, cometh the hour and the man stepped up. Messi produced a peach of a finish converting a Di Maria cross from long range. He also provided the assist for the brilliant Enzo Fernandez goal, and that was sufficient to see Argentina through.