Around the Premier League: World Cup Group Stage Edition
With the international break for the World Cup, the Premier League had no matches scheduled this past week. The Premier League has 133 players representing 26 countries in the World Cup, with 112 seeing game action.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United representing Portugal, Chrisitan Pulisic of Chelsea representing the United States and Casemiro of Manchester United representing Brazil were amongst the top performers during the group stage.
Let’s dive into these top international performances from soccer’s top league.
Fernandes strikes twice to advance Portugal to the Knockout Stage
Entering the tournament, the major storyline surrounding Portugal was how Christiano Ronaldo would perform in what could be his last World Cup. However, after two matches, everyone is talking about the excellence of Bruno Fernandes.
Fernandes had two assists in Portugal’s opening game 3-2 victory over Ghana. He followed that up with an even more impressive performance against Uruguay.
In the 54th minute, Fernandes sent a cross aimed at Ronaldo, but it went right over him and froze Sergio Rochet, opening the scoring for Portugal.
Then in the 93rd minute, Fernandes drew a penalty and stepped to the spot with a chance to seal victory for Portugal. Rochet guessed wrong, and Fernandes slid it in to secure the win for Portugal.
Portugal awaits either the winner or runner-up of Group G.
Pulisic’s goal leads the United States to the knockout stage
After drawing with Wales and England, the United States only needed a win against Iran to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 2014.
After dominating possession for most of the first half, the man nicknamed Captain America broke the deadlock.
In the 38th minute, Sergiño Dest headed a cross into the box that Chrisitan Pulisic struck with his right foot to put the United States ahead.
Unfortunately for America, Pulisic was injured on the goal and was down for several minutes. He finished the first half but remained in the locker room after halftime and was substituted out for Brenden Aaronson.
The United States survived a late surge by Iran to hold on for the 1-0 win.
Next up for the United States is a match against the Netherlands in the round of 16 on Saturday.
Casemiro’s late winner sends Brazil through to the Knockout Stage
Brazil entered Monday’s match against Switzerland, needing a win to secure a berth in the knockout stage for the 22nd straight World Cup.
There were few scoring opportunities as the ball mainly stayed in the midfield. The best chance came in the 64th minute when Vinícius Júnior ran through on goal and beat Yann Sommer. However, VAR disallowed it after ruling Richarlison was offside during the build-up.
Just when it looked like both teams would be walking away with a point, Casemiro struck. In the 83rd minute, Rodrygo slid a pass to Casemiro, who sent a screamer past Sommer to give Brazil the lead.
Brazil kept up the offensive pressure and suffocated all of Switzerland’s attempts to equalize en route to securing the 1-0 victory.
Brazil awaits either the winner or runner-up of Group H.
Ben Palillo is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.