World Cupdate: Mexican Delight

Via @FIFAWorldCup

Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.

Here’s What Happened: Sunday, June 17th

Through three days of action at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there has been plenty of drama playing out all over the pitch, but Sunday delivered the first true shock to the system. Coming into Russia, it seemed certain Group E and Group F were going to be won by Brazil and Germany respectively.

Now after Sunday’s slate of games, that prediction looks murky. Germany fell in a shocking upset to Mexico while Brazil still salvaged a point in a disappointing draw with Switzerland.

You can catch up on all the games and look ahead to today’s action in this information packed edition of our World Cupdate.

Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia

During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Costa Rica shocked the world by advancing to the quarterfinals where they lost to The Netherlands in the shootout. The Ticos traveled to Russia hoping to relive that same fairytale from four years ago. If their opening game against Serbia is any indication, their stay in Russia may be short.

Costa Rica is the oldest team in the tournament meaning this could be the final run for this golden generation that has given its fans so much. The draw did them no favors and they knew coming in they likely needed to defeat Serbia in their opening game.

For the most part, the game was evenly played against two sides who looked to be equals on the field. The only difference between the two was a perfectly placed Alaksandr Kolarov free kick in the 56th minute. From well outside the penalty area, Kolarov bended a free kick into the upper 90, well out of the reach of Keylor Navas. It was more than enough for Serbian side who locked down and walked away with the 1-0 victory and the top spot in Group E.

Germany 0-1 Mexico

Mexico and Germany both have a World Cup history. This tournament marks Mexico’s 16th trip to the World Cup while Germany is making their 19th appearance with four championships to go along with that. Both sides were hoping to add to their history in Russia. As the defending champions, Germany arrived in Russia looking to become the first back-to-back World Cup champions since Brazil in 1962. The journey to a repeat became much more difficult after Sunday.

The Germans began Group F play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as heavy favorites to win the group. Mexico was the top pick to finish second and perhaps cause some noise in the knockout rounds. They began making noise on Sunday afternoon with a shock 1-0 upset of the defending champions.

Holding their own against the mighty German machine early, Mexico was creating chances with their quick counter attack but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. That changed in the 35th minute when rising star Hirving Lozano came streaking in to receive a pass from Javier Hernandez. Lozano corralled the ball, created space, and neatly finished past Manuel Neuer for a 1-0 Mexico lead.

Preserving a one goal lead against one of the best teams in the world is never an easy tasks but goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Co. were up to the tasks. In the remaining 55 minutes of play, the potent Germany attack tried and tried to even the score but never converted. Mexico never blinked and stole all three points with a 1-0 victory to break Group F wide open.

Brazil 1-1 Switzerland

Germany falling to Mexico turned the World Cup on its head and it kept spinning as Brazil and Switzerland did battle in Group E. Like Germany, Brazil entered Russia as one of the favorites to lift the trophy in Moscow. Already a five-time World Cup champion, Brazil would love nothing more than to add a sixth star to their shirt. Those waters also became muddier following a 1-1 draw with an overmatched Swiss side.

Twenty minutes into the game, Phillipe Coutinho rewarded Brazil for its dominating play with a spectacular curling shot that struck the far post and found the back of the net past the Swiss goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.

Taking the lead after such a dominant performance to that point was a relief for Brazil who are looking to erase the memory of their performance from 2014. Whatever additional momentum Brazil gained from taking quickly turned into complacency and Switzerland began to push back.

Five minutes into the second half, Switzerland found an equalizer off the head of Steven Zuber. Off a corner kick, the cross was put into the box where Zuber was left unmarked just feet from the goal line. Zuber connected with a clean header and scored an easy goal to even the scoreline at 1-1 with 40 minutes to play.

The tying goal seemed to wake Brazil from their slumber and they amped up the pressure. It was to no avail as the Swiss defense solidified and kept Brazil at bay. Full time arrived and the scoreline still read 1-1, meaning the teams split the points and sit two points behind Serbia in Group E after the first match day.

There are still two groups yet to begin their 2018 FIFA World Cup schedule and already we have been treated to some great action. We can only hope the rest of the tournament lives up to what we have seen so far.

Goals of the Day

When there are only four total goals from across three games this list is pretty easy to make. Here are the three best from Sunday in Russia.

Hirving Lozano (Mexico)

Group F was blown wide open on Sunday when Mexico knocked off defending champion Germany 1-0 to claim all three points and the group lead. That one goal came courtesy of rising star Hirving “Chucky” Lozano who completed a brilliant counter attack with a right footed strike past Manuel Neuer.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia)

They didn’t know it at the time, but Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick stunner was enough to give Serbia the Group E lead after the first round of group play. Facing Keylor Navas, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Serbia was unable to find an opening goal until Kolarov stepped up and buried a shot into the upper corner.

Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

For the opening 20 minutes of their match against Switzerland, it seemed Brazil was in complete control. After watching several scoring opportunities go to waste, Philippe Coutinho made certain a bad Swiss clearance did not go unpunished with this bending shot from distance.

Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.

Group Update

Serbia put themselves in a solid position in Group E with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica while Switzerland and Brazil will have work do on the next match day. Mexico takes a massive step towards advancing with a win over Germany and blows Group F wide open with Sweden and Korea still to play their opener.

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Group F will complete their first round of group matches on Monday alongside Group G.

Here’s What’s Next: Monday, June 18th

Group G will finally get off the ground with their opening matches featuring Belgium and England taking on World Cup debutant Panama and Tunisia. Group F wraps up their first round of group matches when Sweden and South Korea open Monday’s slate of action.

Sweden v. Korea Republic (Group F)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 8:00 AM
  • Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod)
  • How to Watch: FS1

This was already a big match for both sides if they hoped to advance but now it takes on added importance with Mexico’s victory on Sunday. Taking all three points and getting a leg up on Germany while keeping pace with Mexico will be crucial for both Sweden and Korea. Considered the two weakest teams in a top heavy Group F, their chances of advancing will rise if they can walk away with all three points.

Belgium v. Panama (Group G)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 11:00 AM
  • Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Like Iceland on Saturday, Panama will be playing in their first World Cup match in Russia. Another top heavy group with the like of England and Belgium, Panama will need a lot of things to go their way to advance to the knockout rounds. Belgium are in the midst of a golden generation but have no hardware to show for it. The pressure is on for the Belgian national side to produce on the world stage.

Tunisia v. England (Group G)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Volgograd Arena (Volgograd)
  • How to Watch: FS1

A new look England squad arrives at the 2018 World Cup looking to erase 50 years of frustration for the fans back home. They won’t be top tier favorites to win the whole tournament but they have a decent shot at making a deep run if things break their way. Tunisia returns to the World Cup for the first time since 2006 and will be on the hunt for their first win at a World Cup in 40 years.

You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at with a cable sign in.

If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.

All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time.

Golden Boot Standings

The Golden Boot Award goes to the stop goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Via beIN Sports

Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.

Ranking World Cup goals: June 17, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Sunday’s match play:

The goals were not plentiful over the three matches, but they all carried some serious impact. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …

June 17, 2018

No. 4 – Aleksandar Kolarov – Serbia vs. Costa Rica

Direct-kick goals are apparently the theme of the early stages of the World Cup, so let Aleksandar Kolarov send this rocket to the top corner in the 56th minute of a slugfest that was low on scoring, but plenty entertaining … Also about as even as a match has been in the World Cup. If FIFA commissioned a rematch between these two just for funsies, I’m on board … Right after rematches of Spain-Portugal and Denmark-Peru.

No. 3 – Steven Zuber – Switzerland vs. Brazil

Steven Zuber played a role in both goals out of this match, but this one benefitted the Swiss way more than the other (SPOILER ALERT). Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner found Zuber at the peak of his jump as a quick flick of the neck sent home an equalizer, thus ensuring Switzerland a point in one of the premier clashes lined up in group play.

No. 2 – Hirving Lozano – Mexico vs. Germany

He’s 22 years old and Hirving Lozano may never score a bigger goal than this one. With Germany attacking for what felt like days, one swift counter resulted in the only mark of the match as Lozano grabbed a feed in the 18, undressed Mesut Oezil and calmly put the ball past keeper Manuel Neuer. Not saying that this is the biggest three points in the history of Mexican soccer, but Lozano’s goal put that result in place against the defending World Cup champions and FIFA’s No. 1-ranked side.

No. 1 –  Philippe Coutinho – Brazil vs. Switzerland

One touch. A swing of the right boot and a curving ball that struck the post with such precision that you can believe that Phillipe Coutinho planned to put Brazil on the board with this play. When Steven Zuber’s clearing header found its way to Coutinho, the goal may as well been posted on the board before the shot boomed by Yann Sommer. Wasn’t quite a totally Brazilian goal, but it’s plenty good as an opener.