2018 FIFA World Cup: Day Four Round-up

The assistant referee breaks up Serbia's Nemanja Matic and Costa Rica assistant manager Luis Marin after they clash during the match. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

A tight but competitive day of action at the World Cup saw two teams each grind out impressive 1-0 victories whilst a big clash ended level.

Serbia edge Costa Rica

World Cup - Group E - Costa Rica vs Serbia
Aleksandar Kolarov’s free-kick sent Serbia top of Group E. (Reuters)

Starting with Group E, Serbia emerged victorious 1-0 winners over Costa Rica courtesy of an Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick to top Group E after the first set of fixtures. 

Costa Rica started the brightest when Giancarlo Gonzalez headed onto goal in third minute from a cross, only for Vladmir Stojkovic to comfortably save as the ball landed in his hands. 

Both teams then had several chances throughout first half with Serbia having the best chance two minutes from time. 

Branislav Ivanovic played the ball to Sergej Miilinkovic-Savic who then played a cross to Fulham loanee, Aleksandar Mitrovic who tried a bicycle kick but failed to produce the power and Keylor Navas made a easy save. 

The match’s defining moment then came when David Guzman fouled Mitrovic, handing Serbia a free-kick.

Up stepped ex Manchester City fullback, Aleksandar Kolarov to curl a sublime shot into top corner past a helpless Navas and make it 1-0 to Serbia. 

Costa Rica then chased an equaliser whilst Serbia were on prowl for more goals, with the game petering out apart from late drama in injury time.

Nemanja Matic clashed with Costa Rica assistant coach, Luis Marin whilst retrieving a ball and both teams ended up briefly fighting but no cards were dished out for the incident.  

Serbia eventually held out and tops Group E from Brazil and Switzerland whilst Costa Rica props up the table. 


Brazil held by Switzerland

Coutinho goal.jpg
Phillipe Coutinho put Brazil ahead in first half. (Getty Images)

Over in other Group E game, Brazil and Switzerland played out a 1-1 draw. 

Phillipe Coutinho put Brazil in front with a brilliant curler into top right hand corner in a fairly scrappy first half. 

Switzerland soon hit back after half-time when a corner kick from Xherdan Shaqiri found the unmarked Steven Zuber, who headed home to level the match. 

Both teams then tried chasing a winner for much of second half before eventually taking a point apiece. 

That result leaves both sides joint second and behind early Group E leaders, Serbia. 

Next up for Brazil is Costa Rica whilst Switzerland meet Serbia in all European clash, with both games taking place on Friday.  


Germany Stunned

World Cup - Group F - Germany vs Mexico
Hirving Lozano gifts Mexico a shock 1-0 win over reigning champions, Brazil. (Reuters)

Over in Group F, reigning champions – Germany were stunned by a 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opening game. 

Both sides had chances throughout the first half with Germany nearly claiming the lead, after Carlos Saicedo nearly putting a Joshua Kimmich cross into back of his own net in 15th minute. 

EI Tri eventually got their reward for keeping Germany quiet when they broke on a counter attack and Javier Hernandez passed to an incoming Hirving Lozano who wrong footed a defender before firing home to gift Mexico a shock lead. 

After the break, Germany cranked up the pressure but Mexico held firm even in dying minutes when Brandt and Boateng both had chances from edge of box but Guillermo Ochoa managed to keep both efforts out. 

That victory puts Mexico top ahead of Sweden’s clash tomorrow with South Korea and should the Blagult win, it sets up a must win match for Germany on Saturday.

A defeat in that game coupled with a Mexico point and their title defence will be over. 

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