Cameroon 3-3 Serbia
Both losers in MD1, these two teams faced off against each other in MD2. Each entering MD2 with zero points, they both aggressively pursued a result today. Both teams dialed up the attack, and Cameroon was first to score in the 29th minute. Nicolas Nkoulou slid the incoming corner over his own head and an unattended Castelleto tapped the ball in. Serbia then took over control of the ball and rained attacks on Cameroon until Strahinja Pavlovic finally scored from Dusan Tadic’s assist.
One minute later, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored from a long low shot assisted by Andrija Zivkovic. But Serbia were not finished yet, as Aleksandr Mitrovic scored from another Zivkovic assist 8 minutes into the second half.
Just when it seemed that Cameroon’s spirit might break, gaffer Rigobert Son subbed in the massive mass of muscle that is Vincent Aboubakar. He came on 2 minutes after Serbia’s third goal to turn the result around by breaking the Serbian offside trap twice in quick counterattacks.
In the 63rd minute, Castelleto sent a long through pass that created a one-on-one for Aboubakar with Serbia’s goalkeeper. The striker lobbed the ball over Milinkovic-Savic and into the net. Only 3 minutes later Aboubakar again broke behind the Serbian defenders, this time opting to square to Choupo-Moting to level the score. Both teams had several attempts afterwards, but neither could find the net and the game ended with a 3-3 draw. Both teams must now win their MD-3 matches to stand a chance at qualifying for the Round of 16.
Brazil 1-0 Switzerland
Switzerland and Brazil faced off in Group G with qualification in sight for the winner. Switzerland blocked all paths to goal, stymying all attempts by the five time World Cup winners to implement their “Samba” play style throughout the first half.
Brazil brought in Rodrygo in place of Lucas Paqueta after the intermission, giving the South American giants a new edge. Their threats started to increase in frequency and quality over time, and Vivicius Junior eventually scored only to see the goal disallowed moments later due to an offside call on Richarlison.
As the Brazilian forwards struggled to make ends meet with Neymar’s absence due to injury, Manchester United summer transfer Casemiro took matters into his own hands, scoring a volley from Rodrygo’s assist in the 83rd minute.
Switzerland immediately switched on its attack, which allowed Brazil several more chances to finish the game off on the counter, but there were no more goals to come for either side. Along with France, Brazil became only the second team to qualify with full marks by the end of MD2.
South Korea 2-3 Ghana
Portugal and Ghana came into MD2 with 1 point and zero points respectively. The first half started with Ghana unable to match the Korean players’ speed, but the Asians were unable to convert that advantage into goals. Then in the 24th minute, Ghana won a corner and Mohammed Salisu gave Ghana the lead when he found the net after a short session of pinball among the Korean defenders.
Both teams continued to play an attacking style of football and 10 minutes later, Jordan Ayew sent in a cross that Mohammed Kudus tucked away to extend Ghana’s lead.
The second half was even more exciting, with Ghana trying to finish off the match while Korea searched for a way back into the game. But Ghana goalkeeper Lawrence Ati Zigi’s heroics were not enough to stop Gue Sung Cho from scoring twice in the span of three minutes off of crosses from Kang In Lee and Jin Su Kim.
Ghana was to have the last word, however, and assisted by Gideon Mensah, Ajax winger Kudus finished the ball with his left in the 68th minute. Korea put Ghana under tremendous pressure for the rest of the match, but through saves and clearances they survived to win the three points.
Portugal 2-0 Uruguay
In a close contest between Uruguay and Portugal, the latter had the better half only in terms of possession, while the former we better organised. The first highlight of the match was Rodrigo Bentancur’s brave run from the center of the pitch to the box, where he dribbled past three Portuguese players in a single feint only to eventually lose the one-on-one challenge with Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa. The second highlight was Nuno Mendez’ unfortunate knee injury which reduced him to tears as he left the pitch.
Portugal added to the pressure in the second half. The Portuguese efforts were rewarded in the 54th minute when Bruno Fernandes hit a slow curling cross towards Ronaldo’s towering header. Ronaldo never touched the ball, but his attempt confused the goalkeeper, causing him to miss the save. Uruguay made wholesale changes to try to recover the draw, however; the referee awarded a Portugal a penalty in the 90th minute and Bruno Fernandes hop-stepped his way to his second goal just before the match ended.