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What we learned from day 2 of the World Cup

A good day to be a Lion, and other takeaways from the second day of the Men’s World Cup.

England v IR Iran: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Day 2 of this World Cup is in the books, and we’re really cooking now! While some of us

were still sleeping England vs. Iran had two possible concussions, over 27 minutes total of added time, and a scorigami of 6-2! The Netherlands staked their claim on the top spot in Group A, although they’re level with Ecuador on goal difference, as they topped a technical and talented Senegal side that’s playing without Sadie Mané by a score of 2-0.

The US got their tournament off to what looked like it would be a stellar start. They were bossing the game in the first half, and while Timothy Weah’s goal was the only payoff for their good play so far it seemed likely enough that they’d find another goal or two against Wales in the second half and find themselves on good footing with their match against England ahead of them. That wasn’t how things unfolded, though. Wales came out of halftime reminded that they’re actually good enough to qualify for the World Cup out of Europe and put the US under some pressure. They got a goal after Gareth Bale drew and put away a penalty, ultimately forcing both sides to settle for a point with a 1-1 draw.

So, those are the results, now who were the real winners and losers?


Presumably degenerate gamblers who put money on the over for added time in any and all games: Look, I’ve never bet on sports, so I don’t even know if this is a thing that you could do, but you’d probably have some nice winnings in your pocket if you’d put a bet on the over here. There has genuinely been historic amounts of added time so far in this tournament. Now, FIFA warned that there would be more than we’re used to as they’re apparently just now choosing to count stoppage time correctly, but we’re well above and beyond what anyone could have expected. Don’t take my word for it, either. Leave it to the experts:

Bravery: I wrote a whole thing in this space about the bravery of Iranian players in not signing the national anthem in spite of what were sure to be consequences for the act back home. Then I came across this post. I’m not a subject matter expert, so I’ll just leave this here:


Major League Soccer’s haters and detractors: There was a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth about MLS and the level of the league’s quality and influence on the USMNT during and after the US vs. Wales game. The complaints grew when Walker Zimmerman, an MLS player for Nashville SC, committed the foul on Gareth Bale that gave Wales their penalty, and they grew louder still when Jordan Morris was chosen over Gio Reyna as a late sub with the US seeking a goal. But the haters and the losers are all left sucking their thumbs, because one of MLS’s marquee players scored the most important goal of the game. Sure, he’s mostly just a backup to other stars on the team, but LAFC’s Gareth Bale has still made a name for himself in the top domestic men’s soccer league in the United States, and that’s something that he should be proud of.

A bunch of teams that don’t get to sign Cody Gakpo: The winning goal for the Netherlands against Senegal was scored on a header by 23 year-old PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo. Gakpo has only relatively recently made his way into the Dutch national team, making his first appearance last Summer, but he’s been on fire this year. He’s got 34 combined goals and assists in all competitions since the start of June, more than any other player in Europe. He's likely to move to a bigger club in the coming transfer window, and there’s likely to be one very happy team and a whole gaggle of equally unhappy ones.

Storylines to watch for tomorrow

2:00 AM Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia: Plenty can change in the span of four years, but in their opening game against Russia at the 2018 World Cup Saudi Arabia lost 5-0 as four different players scored and Denis Cheryshev nabbed a brace. I bring this up because Argentina and Leonel Messi have been tabbed my many as the favorites to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament, and this could serve as an opportunity to make a statement and fill up their boots. Messi has turned more facilitator and provider in the latter stages of his career, so who will he be setting up and possibly pushing out ahead of Enner Valencia for the Golden Boot?

Watch the game on FS1, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

5:00 AM Denmark vs. Tunisia: The thing to watch here is Christian Eriksen playing in a World Cup after he suffered a cardiac arrest during the 2021 Euros. It will be a beautiful moment to see him on the field. Denmark’s kits are also cool: Denmark and manufacturer Hummel produced a red kit with a sort of sublimated crest as a gesture of protest.

Watch the game on FS1, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

8:00 AM Mexico vs. Poland: Cesar Montes vs. Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Kawior vs. uhhhhh...Raul Jimenez? Listen, this is star CB vs. star (or even just starting) striker. The game’s about goals: who can score them and who can prevent them. The trouble is that while Lewandowski is an unrivaled menace in club football, he’s been much less prolific for Poland. Mexico is really unclear on who should be the starter, as Jimenez seems like he should be the best choice but hasn’t had a particularly good run of luck in the last few years. If either side can get production out of their striker, they’ll have a leg up on the competition in the hunt for the presumed second spot in the group behind Argentina.

Watch the game on FOX, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

11:00 AM France vs. Australia: The reigning champions enter the tournament with a squad seriously weakened by injuries, and an approach that could generously be described as a “work in progress” but is probably better referred to as whatever the French word for “mess” is. (We could ask fellow France manager Corinne Diacre, she’s an expert on the subject.) Australia are the clear underdog here, but expect them to give France a real battle in midfield led by Aaron Mooy.

Watch the game on FOX, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

You can catch replays of all games in English on or Spanish on Peacock 30 minutes after the final whistle.

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