The first Arsenal player to make a real impact was Granit Xhaka when he scored a fantastic equaliser to get Switzerland back into the game against Serbia. A late Xherdan Shaqiri goal gave them the three points and they will qualify for the knockout stages once they don’t lose to Costa Rica. They could even win the group if they can outdo Brazil’s result against Serbia, but I’m sure they’ll be happy enough once they progress. Xhaka nearly got himself in trouble with FIFA for his goal celebration, but they decided not to press charges for him, Shaqiri and Stephan Lichsteiner.
Xhaka was joined in that Swiss team by Lichsteiner for that game and the more I see him the more I like him. He looks like he has the mentality we seem to be lacking and hopefully some of that can rub off on his new team mates next season.
David Ospina kept a clean sheet for Colombia as they bounced back from their defeat against Japan with a convincing 3-0 win against Poland. He played his part in that victory with some good saves and he even managed to go down injured three times during the game as per usual. Colombia will have to beat Senegal in their final group game to progress, but they have every chance of doing so if they play like they did against Poland.
The last Arsenal player to get a game from the start was Mohamed Elneny and he has played his third game as I write this. Unfortunately Egypt lost all three games to finish last in their group and the tournament is over for them despite having Mohamed Salah among their ranks. On the plus side from an Arsenal perspective at least Elneny will have some down time before he’s back to pre season training.
The tale of the rest of the players doesn’t play too well with Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck still to kick a ball for Spain and England respectively even though both of their countries have progressed to the next round.
Mesut Ozil didn’t play for Germany as they managed to bring themselves back from the brink of elimination with a 2-1 win against Sweden and a victory over South Korea should be enough to make the last 16 for them. It doesn’t look like it was injury which kept Ozil out, but you can’t be sure and I would be very surprised if we don’t see him back in the German team before too long.
Alex Iwobi came off the bench very late on as Nigeria beat Iceland 2-1 to boost their chances of progression. They should make the last 16 if they don’t lose to underperforming Argentina, but that still won’t be an easy task. Iwobi will find it hard to get into the team if they continue to perform like they did against Iceland, but he might still have a part to play too.
Finally Joel Campbell didn’t see any action as Costa Rica went down very late on to Brazil. They’re out of the tournament and they won’t find it easy to get anything from a Switzerland team looking for a result to make the last 16. With their tournament over they might just be tempted to give Campbell a chance to play from the start in that final game.
That’s it for today.
See you tomorrow.