The highly-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup is finally here, with four matches, two each from Groups A and B have already been played. Ecuador’s 2-0 win against Qatar has made it the first host nation to lose its opening match in the history of the FIFA World Cup but what stole the show so far was England’s 6-2 riot against their Group B opponent Iran, in which young stars such as Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka shone and became the second and third youngest players to score for the Three Lions in a World Cup. In another Group B fixture, Wales captain Gareth Bale’s 82-minute penalty cancelled out Timothy Weah’s goal in the first half.
As for other teams in the same group as the host nation Qatar, the Netherlands and Senegal, the former scored two late goals in the second half to overcome the current Africa Cup of Nations champion.
Mané-Less Senegal Had More Shots in the Game
The Senegal national football team, dubbed “Lions of Teranga”, lost their top-scorer and best player Sadio Mané after the latter underwent a surgery due to an injury suffered during a game between his club Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen on German Bundesliga 1 Matchday 14. Nonetheless, the team was not dispirited and managed 15 shots against Het Nederlands Elftal, only that they were not blessed with registering a goal against their European opponent.
As for its opponent, the Netherlands secured 10 shots in the entire 90 minutes plus injury time, with only three of those were on target, but the Oranje made full use of its effort and bagged all three points in its opening fixture in this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. A strike from the highly sought after talent Cody Gakpo and a 99th minute goal by the 36-cap Davy Klaassen sealed the victory for the Dutch team.
Dutch Name Uncapped Andries Noppert as the First-Choice Shot Stopper
An interesting fact to the Netherlands’ opening match is Louis van Gaal selecting debuting goal keeper Andries Noppert to guard the Dutch goal. The 28-year-old Dutchman has not played for the Netherlands and had considered retirement and a career switch to the police force after numerous downtimes in his professional football career, but he bounced back and rose to become Louis van Gaal’s primary option for goalkeeping duties. The goalie is the tallest player in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but what earned him a place in the Dutch team is due to his great form with Eredivisie club Heerenveen and he has done his inaugural duty as the first-choice shot shopper for the Netherlands national team perfectly with a clean-sheet.
The Netherlands look forward to finish as the Group A winner after this commanding victory over their African opponent, with Ecuador and Qatar coming up next in their group fixtures.
(Photo Credits: The New York Times)