For the first time since his full international debut back in February 2009, Mesut Ozil was left out of the German starting XI in a major tournament against Sweden on Saturday. That broke a run of 26 consecutive tournament matches in which Ozil has started for Die Mannschaft.
Germany’s dramatic comeback began with Marco Reus tapping home early in the second half – their first goal of the tournament from shot number 34. Toni Kroos’ late free-kick completed their first overturning of a half-time deficit to win a World Cup match since 1974 – when Sweden were again the victims.
Poland became the first European team to exit Russia 2018, as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Colombia. Despite storming through qualifying, the Poles lacked quality in both penalty areas in what was their first World Cup for 12 years.
Star man and captain Robert Lewandowski has looked a shadow of the ruthless goalscorer who has terrified defences across Germany and Europe in recent years. Lewandowski has gone from scoring 16 of Poland’s 28 qualifying goals to registering only three shots on target in two World Cup games. A recent change of formation from two strikers to one hasn’t helped, but Poland’s record scorer has lacked quality link-up play with supporting runners from midfield. In their match against Colombia, Lewandowski had a pass success rate of just 71 per cent – the second lowest figure of the 28 players who appeared across the 90 minutes. The centre forward also lost possession 11 times within the final third.
No substitute for experience
Panama’s late consolation goal against England may end up counting for little in the context of their future in the tournament, but it still meant a hell of a lot. At 37 years old, Felipe Baloy became the fourth oldest scorer in World Cup history when shooting brilliantly past Jordan Pickford. He ain’t no Roger Milla, who was 42 when netting against Russia in 1994, but it’s still a proper effort – and it was, of course, Panama’s first ever goal at the World Cup. They will be hoping to add to their total against Tunisia on Thursday.