The European Champs facing off against the World Champs. I do not like it when a ref takes center stage as the game belongs to the players and the fans. Spanish ref Antonio Mateu Lahoz has been compared to legendary ref Pierluigi Collina in the efficient way he handles matches especially the his handling of the Champions League Final. But this performance left us flabbergasted. The two penalty decisions for both sides in the first half were incorrect, let’s get that out of the way and even more shocking that he had the luxury of VAR to ratify his decisions. Let us look at the first penalty incident. Lloris does not completely miss the ball. Danilo yes gets caught with the punch but that’s collateral damage, it is a man’s and physical contact game. Now for the second penalty. Again it is a contact sport. Shoulder to Shoulder. Semedo is the stronger of the two. Play on. But Antonio would have none of it. So convinced was he that it was a pen that he didn’t want to go to the pitch side monitor.
Bck to soccer. France knew regardless of results that they have made it to the last 16.Didier Deschamps kept faith with Karim Benzema although he struggled against the Hungarians and he repaid the faith with two goals. Renato Sanches was immense for the Portuguese dictating play from midfield, the Lille man coming in for the out of form Bruno Fernandes. CR7 was cool as a cucumber from the spot in both goals and added that threat going forward which was complemented by Diogo J of Liverpool. Pogba’s passing was awesome in this one. The assist for Benzema’s second and the one that Mbappe squandered in the first half has left Man United fans wondering why he doesn’t do that more often.The Joules Kounde handball well harsh to say the least. Although arms were in an unnatural position, his head was turned away. Again no pitchside review. At least the ref was consistent in handing the decisions equally to both teams however bad they were. Both teams benefitted.
Both sides go through to the last 16. Germany made to sweat in Munich by the Hungarians but eventually getting the job done. Their draw saw them clinch second place go through on a better head to head to the Portuguese. England VS Germany in the second round. So much room for improvement from Die Mannschaft.