Fun fact: South Africa is represented at the World Cup and no, it’s not a Kolpak of sorts. Zakhele Siwela ran out as assistant referee in the match between Belgium and Panama.
Tunisia 1-2 England
England made hard work for themselves against a Tunisian side who lost their ‘keeper through injury early in the first half. Fortunately for Gareth Southgate’s men – and the stress levels of all the shirtless wonders who made the trip to Russia – Harry Kane spared their blushes with a last-gasp header in Volgograd.
Belgium 3-0 Panama
A wonderful Dries Mertens volley and a brace from Romelu Lukaku piled the misery on tournament first-timers Panama. It’s pretty much the only match that went exactly as expected so far.
Sweden 1-0 South Korea
Looks like it’s going to be off to military service for Son Heung-min. A solitary goal from Andreas Granqvist (awarded by VAR) was enough to help Sweden to a 1-0 win over South Korea in Monday’s opening match. Penalty calls were waved away initially, but El Salvadorian referee Joel Aguilar got a taste of what it feels like to be a cricket umpire in the DRS era. Albeit without the embarrassing audio from the officials watching in the box.
News you might care about
Paul Pogba has thrown his first World Cup strop. Speaking after France beat Australia, the 25-year-old bemoaned being “the most criticised player in the world”. Fortunately for him he’s had to deal with this sort of thing his whole life. He says that since he was a wee lad, everyone’s had a pop at each other. How does Pogba deal with it all? He never listens to it. [The Guardian]
Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic has been booted out of the squad. Coach Zlatko Dalic confirmed the news on Monday. The striker apparently refused to play against Nigeria in his team’s opening fixture, claiming a lack of fitness. [The Sun]
We couldn’t fit this into quote of the day, but we can’t possibly omit it. Iceland striker Alfred Finnbogason responded to a Tweet pointing out that 99.6 percent of the Nordic nation’s 330,000 population watched their historic draw against Argentina by saying: “The other 0.4 percent was on the pitch!” [AFP]
Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Mexico after it was alleged that their fans used homophobic chants during the team’s win over Germany on Sunday. Mexico fans have long shouted an insult that gay rights groups argue is homophobic. But don’t hold your breath. The chant was heard during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Fifa took no action. So “opening proceedings” is probably just as routine as ticking a box to award competitions to countries with questionable human rights records. The offending slur is the chant of “puto“, slang for male prostitute, and is often bellowed when goalkeepers are taking goal-kicks. [Reuters]
Quote of the day
“Jesus Christ, this is pretty cool.”
Australia forward Daniel Arzani, at 19 the youngest player at the World Cup, as he prepared to answer his first questions in front of the media on Monday. He offered no opinion on Jesús Navas.
Fixtures on 19 June
14:00 Colombia vs Japan
17:00 Poland vs Senegal
20:00 Russia vs Egypt
Dish of the day
We’ve been assured by a Belgian that this dish is authentic. And that their chips are the best in the world. Slap tjips might have a thing or two to say about that, but South Africa aren’t at the World Cup so we can’t argue too much. Stoofvlees is Belgium’s answer to stew. Use any sort of cheap cut and cook it for hours in beer, mustard and an assortment of other bits and pieces and there you go. Serve with chips (theirs or South Africa’s) and you have yourself another hearty winter warmer. This recipe is in Dutch, which is easy enough to understand for those who speak Afrikaans. For the rest, Google Translate does a pretty good job. DM