World Cup 2018: Mexico, Germany and Belgium Win Matches

World Cup 2018: Mexico, Germany and Belgium Win Matches

June 24, 2018, 7:19 a.m.

Mexico defeated South Korea by 2-1, Germany defeated Sweden by 2-1 and Belgium defeated Tunisia 5-2 in a world cup matches played on Saturday night.

Mexico-2- South Korea-1

Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal to help Mexico take a big step towards the last 16 of the World Cup with an impressive win over South Korea, despite Son Heung-min's stunning late strike.

Having upset defending champions Germany in their opening game in Group F, Mexico proved again they will be a test for any side should they reach the knockout stages.

They took the lead in Rostov-on-Don through Carlos Vela's penalty - the 14th of the tournament already - on 26 minutes after Jang Hyun-soo's handball.

Although they dominated possession against lacklustre opponents, Mexico also displayed their thrilling counter-attacking game with their second goal, when West Ham striker Hernandez added a neat finish to Hirving Lozano's surging run.

As South Korea's sole threat, it was fitting that Tottenham striker Son gave his side fleeting hope in added time with a sublime, curling strike from 25 yards.

Germany 2- Sweden- 1

Toni Kroos' injury-time winner against Sweden revived defending champions Germany's hopes of becoming the first side to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962.

Ola Toivonen's deft first-half lob had left Joachim Low's side facing elimination but Marco Reus, starting in place of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, prodded in an equaliser as Germany assumed control after the interval.

The champions then had Jerome Boateng sent off late on for a second yellow card but continued to chase the game knowing a draw left their fate in others' hands.

And they were rewarded in the final minute of five added on when Kroos tapped a free-kick short to Reus before sweeping the return pass into the top right corner from left of the penalty area.

The magnitude of the moment saw the euphoric German players run to rejoice in front of their own fans while the Sweden players slumped to the floor, some close to tears.

There were also angry exchanges in the technical area with Sweden's manager Janne Anderson upset by the exuberance of the celebrations in front of him.

The result means all four teams in Group F can still qualify for the next phase, with the outcome to be decided at venues 600 miles apart on Wednesday 27 June (15:00 BST) when Mexico face Sweden in Ekaterinburg and Germany play South Korea in Kazan.

At half-time it looked as though it was to be a black night for Germany in Sochi, the southernmost venue at the tournament, over 1,000 miles from Moscow, on the coast of the Black Sea.

It seemed perfectly possible that Germany could lose back-to-back games at a finals for the first time since 1958 and become the fourth champions in the past five tournaments to exit at the first-round stage.

But with Low urging his side on from the technical area there was a noticeable increase in tempo following the introduction of Mario Gomez at the interval.

And when Gomez was unable to convert Timo Werner's cross, Reus followed up to level the score, restore some belief to the rattled Germans and visibly relieve the tension on manager and supporters inside the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

Static defending was a characteristic of Germany's opening defeat by Mexico, who cut through and round them with nimble interchanges and one-touch play.

Belgium-5 – Tunisia-2

Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored twice as Belgium strengthened their lead above England at the top of World Cup Group G by crushing Tunisia with a devastating attacking display.

While Roberto Martinez's side are not through to the last 16 yet, a win for England over Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday will see the Red Devils and Three Lions progress.

That would leave their meeting in Kaliningrad on Thursday to decide who tops the group and it is Belgium who hold the upper hand there, with their sparkling finishing in the sunshine at the Spartak Stadium leaving their goal difference significantly better off.

Speaking after the game, Martinez said he would make "major changes" for the match against England.

"If we could have seven days to prepare for that game and then another seven days before the following game then we would start with the same starting XI," said the former Everton boss.

"The reality is that we have qualified - you are only as good as the 23 players. There will be opportunities for others. We need to check the injury doubts Lukaku (ankle), Hazard (calf) and Mertens (knock to ankle)."

Belgium attacked from the off and needed only five minutes to take the lead, when Hazard was barged over by Syam Ben Youssef just inside the box and got up to send Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha the wrong way from the spot.

Things quickly got worse for Tunisia when Ali Maaloul's heavy touch on the halfway line allowed Dries Mertens to nip in and release Lukaku, who found a perfect low finish.

The North African side, needing a win to reignite their own hopes of progress, gave themselves hope when Dylan Bronn got on the end of Wahbi Khazri's whipped free-kick just 109 seconds later.

But they could not compete with Belgium's vastly superior firepower and Lukaku gave the Red Devils breathing space once more with a dinked finish from a Thomas Meunier pass just before half-time.

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