Why Denmark vs. Peru will be such an interesting match!

Yesterday I published my list presenting the three most interesting group stage matches in the World Cup 2018. Since then I read some comments on Reddit, and one of them was about the Denmark vs. Peru match, and I was intrigued!

It was in the following thread on Reddit that some people started discussing my article on the top three group stage matches in the World Cup. It was a comment made by a guy that said “Agree these are all excellent games, but, I think Peru v. Denmark will be interesting. Both going in with 15 games without a loss.” That sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

The discussion went on, and it was discovered that they haven’t played 15 matches with losing, but it was quite close. Take a look at the following stats presenting the last matches of Denmark.

Denmark vs. Peru will for sure be an interesting match!
Denmark vs. Peru will for sure be an interesting match!

Denmarks last matches

2018
Mexico, June 9th, 2-0
Sweden, June 2nd, 0-0
Chile, March 27th, 0-0
Panama, March 22nd, 1-0

2017
Ireland, November 14th, 5-1
Ireland, November 11th, 0-0
Romania, October 8th, 1-1
Montenegro, October 5th, 1-0
Armenia, September 4th, 4-1
Poland, September 1st, 4-0
Kazakhstan, June 10th, 3-1
Romania, March 26th, 0-0

2016
Kazakhstan, November 11th, 4-1
Montenegro, October 11th, 0-1

If you take a look at the list you can see that Denmark has not lost a match since October 11th in 2016 against Montenegro. And yes, that is 14 matches ago. So, what’s up with Peru?

Peru’s last matches

2018
Sweden – June 9th, 0-0
Saudi Arabia – June 3rd, 3-0
Scotland, May 30th, 2-0
Iceland, March 28th, 3-1
Croatia, March 24th, 2-0

2017
New Zealand, November 15th, 2-0
New Zealand, November 11th, 0-0
Colombia, October 11th, 1-1
Argentina, October 6th, 0-0
Ecuador, September 5th, 2-1
Bolivia, September 1st, 2-1
Uruguay, March 29th, 2-1
Venezuela, March 24th, 2-2

2016
Brazil, November 16th, 2-0

Peru hasn’t lost a match since November 16th in 2016 when they played against Brazil. That is 14 matches ago.

What can we expect from Denmark vs. Peru?

As Denmark and Peru march onto the Mordovia Arena on June 16th at 18.00 (CET) we will see two teams who have forgotten what it is like to lose (almost). Denmark hasn’t lost a match since 2016, and neither has Peru. What effect will this have on the teams? I am not sure if the players care about stats like this, but it probably means that both squads are filled with self-confidence.

Both teams have played against Sweden in the last weeks, and both teams played 0-0 against Sweden. It doesn’t have to mean a lot, but it might show us an image of a match that will be tough, close, and without a lot of goals. Denmark has their general Christian Eriksen, and with him, they are capable of almost everything. On a good day, Denmark can beat Poland 4-0 and Ireland 5-1, making them a team able to score lots of goals. Peru is a bit more modest when it comes to scoring goals, but this can easily turn into a match that will end with a 2-2 result. But, my fear says that it is more likely to end with 0-0.

Denmark has no big profiles next to Christian Eriksen, and Peru has no big stars either. But, they do have Edison Flores. Who is he? He might not be a famous guy, but he plays for AaB in Denmark, making him a guy with lots of knowledge of Danish football, something that might come in handy before and during the match.

Denmark will play against Peru at the Mordovia Arena
Denmark will play against Peru at the Mordovia Arena

Playing at the brand new Mordovia Arena

The match will be played at the brand new Mordovia Arena, a venue built for the FIFA World Cup. It has a capacity for 44,000 people, but once the tournament has ended, they will reduce the capacity to 28,000. The stadium is located in the city of Saransk, located about 650km from Moscow. The city has a population of a bit more than 300,000 people.

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Top three matches during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group stage

We all look forward to the entire World Cup, but if you do not have time to watch all the matches, make sure to not miss out on the following three matches.

As a big football fan, I do find every single match in the FIFA World Cup to be interesting. I know, the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia is kind of lame, but it is also magical. Imagine watching an opening match in which you haven’t heard about 90% of the players on the field! Imagine watching an opening match where most likely 100% of the players on the field play football in their home leagues, and there will be no international stars. It isn’t hard, as 100% of the Saudi Arabian players play in their home league, while 21 out of 23 players in the Russia squad plays in the home league.

On the second day, some might say that Morocco – Iran is a boring match, but it might turn into exactly the opposite. Here we have two teams with nothing to lose, but a lot to win. Here we have got the chance to get to know new players, and I really look forward to it.

One of those “boring” teams that I look forward to watching is Serbia. They do not have the biggest profiles, but they won 5-1 against Bolivia in their last match before the tournament. They have their super-attacker Aleksandar Mitrovic who has scored a lot for Fulham lately (and helped the club get to the Premier League), and in the latest Serbia match against Bolivia, he scored 3 (out of five goals). I believe we have a lot to look forward to. But, still… which are the three matches you do not want to miss out on during the FIFA World Cup group stage?

Three matches you do not want to miss out on during the World Cup group stage

Spain vs. Portugal – June 15th

It should come to you as no surprise that the first match is the one between Spain and Portugal on June 15th. This will be a neighbor battle, and it will also be two of the favorites to win the tournament battling one another. This is a match loaded with big names and stars, but the biggest of them all is Ronaldo. Spain had a disappointing World Cup in Brazil, and also a disappointing result during Euro 2016. Portugal won the European Championship in 2016, and they now have the chance to prove themselves as one of the best football nations in the world.

Portugal vs Spain on June 14th

The problem with this match is that it might become boring. It has the potential of becoming a fantastic match, but it might end up as a slow paced match with stupid fouls, lots of yellow cards, and both teams being afraid of losing. But, no matter how the match will end, you do not want to miss out on Spain vs. Portugal on June 15th.

Argentina vs. Croatia – June 21st

Lionel Messi is a fantastic player, but he still hasn’t won a World Cup with Argentina. In 2014 they lost the final against Germany, but this time the team will be eager to win the entire tournament. But, Argentina ended up in what might be the toughest of all the groups in the World Cup. Before their match against Croatia they have already played against Iceland, and after their match against Croatia, they still have to battle Nigeria. It is an incredibly tough group, but most people expect Argentina and Croatia proceed to the knockout stage.

Argentina vs Croatia

Argentina has a fantastic squad, and their biggest stars are Angel di Maria, Lionel Messi, Gonzalu Higuain and Sergio Aguero. But, these guys will not be the only star players on the field on June 21st. Because, playing for Croatia we will most likely see players like Mario Mandžukić, Nikola Kalinić, Ivan Perišić, Luka Modrić, and Ivan Rakitić on the field. And even though they are not as famous as Messi, these are superstars, and capable of working miracles with and without the ball.

The stars on both Argentina and Croatia are either midfielders or attackers. Both teams are playing attacking football, but that often create trouble in the defense. What would you say about a 3-3 result in this match?

England vs. Belgium – June 28th

Would you like to finish the group stage with a bang? Watch England vs. Belgium, the match that will tell us who will be the winner of group G in the FIFA World Cup. We do not know what to expect from the match yet, but this might be a very important match for both teams. The winner of the match will most likely win the group and play against the team placed second in group H (Senegal, Colombia, Japan, or Poland). We know that a football team always play to win, but it might be that both England and Belgium would be more happy playing against for example Japan, than against Poland.

England vs Belgium

No matter what they will think about the 1/8 finals, both England and Belgium will be eager to beat the other team. Here we can watch the top stars from Belgium who normally play for teams in England (Lukaku, Hazard, De Bruyne, Fellaini etc.) These players will be eager to show their teammates from their clubs in England, that they are playing for a better nation. But, the English players will be eager to prove themselves better than their Belgian friends.

Most likely both teams will know for sure that they have a spot in the knockout stage before this match, but no matter what, this will be a friendly match with lots of action, and as we all know… you want to prove to your friends that you are better!

Which are your favorite matches?

Which matches do you look forward to? Take a look at the full World Cup schedule to make up your own opinion!

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Iceland seems a bit rusty before the World Cup

Iceland is a small nation with a giant heart. The Icelandic players play with their hearts on the outside, and they fight till the very end for their nation. Can they compete with the best in the FIFA World Cup?

Iceland will play in group D in the World Cup. This is the worst of all groups, but at the same time the most interesting group. They will play against Argentina in their opening match, followed by matches against Croatia and Nigeria. Do the Icelandic vikings have any chance at all in this group?

Can Iceland surprise

Based on the results of the Icelandic team in the last four years, I would clearly say that they have a chance. In the European Championship in 2016 they ended up second in their group, behind Hungary, but before Portugal (the nation that later won the entire tournament). In the first leg of the knockout stage they won 2-1 against England, but in the quarter final France stopped them.

During the qualification for the World Cup Iceland kept on impressing. They won matches against Turkey, Croatia and Ukraine, but they also had some poorer results, like when they lost against Finland.

The biggest challenge for Iceland right now

The Icelandic team is happy to have their playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson back after injury. But, is that enough to lift the team to a new level? In their last four matches Iceland has lost 3-0 against Mexico, 3-1 against Peru, 3-2 against Norway and they played 2-2 against Ghana yesterday. What is most alarming with the results are the amount of goals they get against them. Until now, Iceland has been known for their compact defense, and it has always been hard to score goals against them. But, in their last 4 matches Iceland has had to take the ball out of their own net 11 times. That is way to much, and their first opponent in the World Cup, Argentina, will for sure punish Iceland if their defense is unable to keep it together.

And, I have a feeling that the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be a sad tournament for the Icelandic team. They have had some great victories, but now they would need a whole lot of luck if they are going to succeed.

If you want to see cool football, you should probably cheer for Nigeria and Argentina instead. Iceland plays well disciplined (that is boring) football, but in the end the results are what counts.

What do you think… has Iceland got any chance at all in the FIFA World Cup?

 

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Can Keylor Navas and Costa Rica qualify for the knockout stage once again?

Nobody expected Costa Rica to qualify for the knockout stage during the FIFA World Cup in 2018. They ended up winning their group, leaving nations like Uruguay, Italy, and England behind them. Can they do the same once again?

Watch Costa Rica - Serbia online
Can Keylor Navas lead his nation to the knockout stage in the FIFA World Cup in 2018?

In 2014 Costa Rica won 3-1 against Uruguay, 1-0 against Italy and played 0-0 against England. Those are all brilliant results. In 2018 they will play against Serbia in their first match, followed by a match against Brazil, before the final match of the group stage will be played against Switzerland. All bookmakers believe that Brazil and Switzerland will win this group and qualify for the knockout stage, but Costa Rica surprised us four years ago… can they do it again?

Costa Rica looks strong in the preparation before the World Cup. They won 3-0 against Nothern Ireland, they just lost 2-0 against England, and they have one more friendly match coming up against Belgium before the tournament.

I just watched their game against England, and it was clear all the way that England has a stronger team than Costa Rica. But, so did Italy, Uruguay, and England during the 2014 tournament. Costa Rica doesn’t have the strongest team, but they have some good players, and they have a fantastic keeper in Keylor Navas. England won the match and they deserved the victory, but if Costa Rica had been luckier in some situations, they could have scored one goal or two, and the result would have looked much nicer to them. They were lucky in 2014, so without that necessary luck, they will not have a chance in 2018 either. That could be seen clearly during their match against England, and I believe that is what we will see in their friendly match against Belgium on June 11th as well.

Costa Rica will play against Serbia on June 11th. To read more about the match between Costa Rica and Serbia match, press the link. For a full day-to-day schedule for the FIFA World Cup, press the link.

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Does Panama have a chance in the FIFA World Cup?

Panama in the FIFA World Cup

Panama is one of those nations participating in the FIFA World Cup that the big crowds know nothing about. So, what has Panama got to offer? Can they surprise us?

Few people expected Panama to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, but they managed as the United States lost 2-1 in their last match against Trinidad and Tobago. And that must have been a sweet revenge for Panama, as they also qualified in 2014, but after leading 2-1 against the USA after 90 minutes, USA managed to score twice in the extended time, and thus they qualified instead.

In the FIFA World Cup 2018 Panama will play against Belgium, England, and Tunisia in the G group. Everyone expect England and Belgium to win this group, while Tunisia and Panama will be the easy preys. But, can Panama come up with some magic in the tournament?

The biggest profiles on the team

If you take a look at the Panama squad, you should not be surprised if you discover that you haven’t heard about one single player. They have no players from the Premier League, no players from the Bundesliga, and no players in Seria A or in La Liga. But, they do have quite a lot of players with a lot of experience, and way more than 100 matches playing for Panama. The biggest profiles are:

  • Felipe Baloy (Captain), playing for Municipal in Guatemala
  • Gabriel Gómez, playing for Atlético Bucaramanga in Colombia
  • Blas Pérez, playing for Municipal in Guatemala (scored 43 goals in 117 matches)
  • Luis Tejada, playing for Sport Boys in Peru (scored 43 goals in 105 matches)

Can Panama beat Belgium or England?

I would be greatly surprised if they did. They played a friendly match against Northern Ireland on May 30th, and the end-result was 0-0. Before the match against Northern Ireland, they only have one victory in their last five matches. That victory came against Trinidad and Tobago (1-0) on April 18th. Before that they lost 6-0 against Switzerland, 1-0 against Denmark, 2-1 against Iran and played 1-1 against Wales.

Tonight Panama will play against Norway, and that match might give us some useful information. Norway won against Iceland a few days ago and seems to be a nation doing better under the leadership of Mr. Lagerbäck (former coach of Iceland). If Panama will enter the World Cup knowing that they only have one victory in their last seven matches, then it will be a heavy burden to carry. But, if they manage to play great football against Norway and win the match, it will serve as a boost for the team.

And, we all know… World Cup is World Cup, and if Costa Rica could surprise us all in the World Cup in 2014, then Panama might surprise us in 2018. But, looking at their latest results and biggest profiles, we do not have much faith in Panama before the tournament starts.

Panama will play their first World Cup match against Belgium on June 18th! Read more about the Belgium – Panama match here.

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