Senegal raised Africa’s flag high by defeating Robert Lewandowski’s Poland 2-1 in their Group H opener. Senegal looked the better side all through the match, contesting in midfield with determination, making the continent proud. The Lions of Teranga opened the scoring in the 37th minute thanks to Idrissa Gueye’s deflected shot that hit Polish defender Thiago Cionek.
Senegal played with zest that the Polish could not match and they increased the lead in the second half with Mbaye Niang capitalising on a sloppy back pass from Grzegorz Krychowiak to make it two in the 60th minute. However, Poland grabbed one goal courtesy Krychowiak in the 86th minute (yet another set-piece goal) to make the final minutes high tension for the Senegalese.
The Pharaoh’s of Egypt were slain by the rampaging Russians after conceding three goals in 15 minutes in the second half to lose 3-1. This result effectively means that Egypt are out of the World Cup. Ahmed Fathi’s own goal just after the break in the 47th minute opened the floodgates for Russia.
Denis Cheryshev converted a well-worked team play to make it two in the 59th and Artem Dzyuba scored another in the 62nd minute to make it three. Mo Salah converted a penalty in the 73rd minute, but it was just mere consolation. With the victory, Russia is now the first team to qualify for the second round.
Japan stunned group H favourites 2-1 in the early afternoon kick-off with a goal from Shinji Kagawa in the 6th minute after Carlos Sanchez handled the ball in the box and was consequently given his marching orders. Juan Quintero, a replacement for injured James Rodriguez levelled the game in the 39th minute with a low driven free-kick, but 10-man Colombia could not handle the numerical disadvantage as Japanese striker Yuya Osako scored the winner in the 73rd minute.