On November 23, four matches of the 1st round of the group stage were held at the World Cup in Qatar. In Group E, Spain dealt with Costa Rica (7:0), while Japan sensationally defeated Germany (2:1). In group F, Belgium with great difficulty broke the resistance of Canada (1:0), and Croatia and Morocco gave the most boring match of the tournament, which ended in a goalless draw.
Spain - Costa Rica - 7:0
In this match, the Spanish national team broke several important football records. Firstly, Fury Roja updated its own achievement in terms of the number of goals scored in one match at the World Cup. Secondly, the Spanish national team set a new record for possession of the ball in a World Cup match. In their first game in the 2022 World Cup group stage against Costa Rica, the Spaniards had 81.7 percent of possession. The previous similar record belonged to the Argentina national team, which in the match with Greece owned the ball 80.3% of the playing time.
Costa Rica, in turn, only justified the status of the main outsider of the tournament. Most of the players of the national team play outside the top championships and, obviously, do not correspond to the level of the tournament. A rare exception is Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas. The 35-year-old goalkeeper three times won the main club trophy - the Champions League Cup, and in 2014 at the World Cup in Brazil he became the main hero of the national team, which achieved historic success - reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup, leaving behind the teams of Italy, England and Greece.
Germany - Japan - 1:2
Few people imagined that the Japanese team would be able to impose a fight on the ex-world champion. After the first half, it was impossible to even imagine that the German team would lose points in this match, not to mention the defeat. Wards of Hansi Flick dominated throughout the half, allowing only one shot towards their goal. The possession advantage in the first half was 81% to 19%, the shot ratio was 14:1, and the expected goals ratio was 1.65.
Many fans have drawn a parallel between this match and Argentina's game against Saudi Arabia on 22 November. Both confrontations developed according to a similar scenario: the favorites opened the scoring from the penalty spot, had many chances to increase the lead, but eventually lost. In the first half, Ilkay Gundogan scored for the European team. The Manchester City midfielder converted the penalty in the 32nd minute. The Japanese team responded with goals from Ritsu Doan in the 75th minute and Takuma Asano in the 82nd.
It remains only to note that for both Germany and Argentina, the playoffs, in fact, begin from the second match, since both teams will be eliminated if they lose points.
Croatia - Morocco - 0:0
This match in social networks has already been dubbed the most boring game of this World Cup. By the 70th minute, the whistle of disgruntled fans became a full-fledged part of the broadcast. The finalist of the World Cup in Russia, the Croatian team struck only 5 blows in 90 minutes, and some of them were made from standards. Thus, not a single goal has been scored in this World Cup in three matches. Recall that in 2018, at a tournament in Russia, only one confrontation ended with a score of 0: 0 - between the national teams of France and Denmark in the group stage.
Belgium - Canada - 1:0
The final match of the day was the match between Belgium and Canada. The Belgians, who occupy the 2nd line in the ranking of FIFA teams, were considered clear favorites. However, this did not deter the Canadians, who caused serious problems for the Belgian stellar squad. Already in the 11th minute of the match, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to save his team after a penalty kick. The only goal in this match was scored by the Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi at the close of the first half. At the same time, the Canadians looked much more dangerous than their rivals. The strike ratio is 21:9 in favor of the Canadians.
Despite the upset defeat of the Canadian team, its coach John Herdman will definitely go down in history. He became the first coach in the world who managed to work at both the men's and women's world championships.
Daniil Prilepsky "Moscow Truth"