St Petersburg: The Fifa World Cup is a playground for the best in the business. Yet there is no guarantee that all its matches would be of top quality. That is football. Elite teams can produce a dud match while lower-ranked sides can throw up a classic. The 21st edition of the World Cup has had its fair share of soporific matches.
Here is a list of them.
Saudi Arabia vs Egypt (2-1): Although the match between two friendly nations produced goals, it lacked a cutting edge. Few were enamoured of it because both teams had already been eliminated.
Denmark vs France (0-0): The first goalless draw of the World Cup in Russia was also its worst, as neither Denmark nor France showed any inclination to be adventurous. Fans were left ruing why they had attended it at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Poland vs Japan (1-0): After Poland’s goal, the match descended into a farce as the Asian country stopped playing. Japan didn’t want to concede another goal or get another card as they decided to gamble on edging out Senegal on disciplinary record. It wasn’t pretty.
Belgium vs England (1-0): A lot of journalists had marked the match as ‘must-attend’ on their calendars but there was only disappointment in store for them as neither team wanted to win it, having already qualified for the next round. Put off by a day-long train journey to Kaliningrad, many of them flew to the Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania. What an exercise in
Sweden vs Switzerland (1-0): Sweden edged out the Swiss thanks to an own goal to advance to the quarter-finals. A friend said both teams should have been sent home for boring fans to death. He wasn’t wrong. Sweden succeeded in playing another yawning match against England in the next round. Thank goodness, this time they lost.