jonathan wilson on the lack of goals
the final group-stage round

today's matches

Two blowouts meant a lack of drama to some extent, but there was a lot going on nonetheless. And now 50% of the matches are finished.

England-Panama. A ridiculous mess for Panama, an endless party for England, as they join Belgium in qualifying for the knockout rounds. Panama is out, having done CONCACAF's reputation no favors. Harry Kane had a hat-trick, and he did have a great game, but it was one of the lesser hat-tricks you'll see, with two of the goals from penalties and the third goal an accident:

Then, on to Group H, and the only nailbiter of the day, Japan-Senegal. I admit when Sadio Mané scored, 11 minutes in, I thought the rout was on, but Japan equalized later in the half, and when Senegal went back on top in the second half, Japan equalized once again. Takashi Inui was especially good, with a goal, an assist, and a shot off the post. A draw was a fair result, leaving the two teams tied atop the table.

Poland-Colombia. Poland is eliminated, Colombia stays in the race, and they looked really good doing it. Radamel Falcao's first-ever World Cup goal was well-deserved, but the real highlight of the match was not the goal by Juan Cuadrado (although he took it in stride, you might say), but rather the pass from James that gave Cuadrado the chance: