FMM18 World Cup Day 31

Read from the introduction.

Re-read the third place playoff between Belgium and South Korea.

It’s the final day of the tournament and there’s one game; the biggest game in world football. Re-read how Portugal and Italy reached the World Cup Final.

World Cup Final: Portugal V Italy

The current European champions take on the four-time winners on a warm, windy day in Moscow. The last three World Cup Finals have required extra time to settle the argument, with the previous two seeing no goals scored in normal time. The Final follows the pattern of the last two, with neither side able to find a goal. Ten minutes into extra time, there’s a goal; Portugal’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo puts the European champions twenty minutes away from their first ever World Cup and the completion of a European/World Cup double. Italy go in desperate search of an equaliser and get one with eight minutes to go as Andrea Belotti pulls the Italians level. The seconds and minutes tick away and it’s going to penalties, something that the Italians have fond memories of from the 2006 World Cup Final. 120 minutes are on the clock and the referee is checking his watch. Italy have one final chance to win the game without requiring penalties and it falls to Belotti. He scores! In the final minute of extra time! Portuguese players slump to the floor, whilst the Italian team pile on to Belotti as the bench erupts. The game kicks off after fairly lengthy Italian celebrations, but Portugal have no chance to equalise and force penalties. Italy are champions of the world for the fifth time.

FMM18 World Cup Day 29

Read from the introduction.

There are no games today, so lets look at how Italy reached the final.

Group E: V Australia, 5-0 (Andrea Belotti (3), Claudio Marchisio, Leonardo Bonucci)
Group E: V Chile, 4-0 (Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Belotti, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Petagna)
Group E: V Northern Ireland, 1-1 (Marco Veratti)
Last 16: V England, 1-0 (Andrea Petagna)
Quarter Final: V Argentina, 1-0 (Andrea Belotti)
Semi Final: V South Korea, 3-1 (Andrea Belotti, Roberto Gagliardini, Alessio Romagnoli)

Find out what happens on Day 30.

FMM18 World Cup Day 27

Read from the introduction.

Re-read the Quarter Final matches for South Korea and Italy.

Semi Final – South Korea V Italy

18th June 2002, Daejeon World Cup Stadium, the Last 16 – South Korea knock out Italy in a controversial match. Now there’s a chance for Italy to gain revenge and secure a place in the World Cup Final. For South Korea, there’s the chance to appear in their first World Cup Final. Portugal await the victors. There’s no slow start to this Semi Final as Seung-Woo Lee puts South Korea into a sixth minute lead. Surely, albeit less controversially, history won’t repeat itself? The South Korean lead lasts until the 24th minute, when Andrea Belotti pulls Italy level. The scores stay level until the 38th minute, when a Roberto Gagliardini goal gives Italy the lead. Two minutes before the break, Kyung-Min Ryu is replaced by South Korea due to injury. The second half is less action-packed, with only one further goal being added; Alessio Romagnoli gives Italy a two-goal cushion in the 76th minute. There’s no way back for South Korea, especially after Heung-Min Son is dismissed in the 83rd minute.

Find out what happens on Day 28.

FMM18 World Cup Day 23

Read from the introduction.

Recap on yesterday’s action.

Re-read the Last 16 games for the teams.

Quarter Final – France V Belgium

Two of Europe’s most star-studded attacking sides meet in the Quarter Final. France beat Northern Ireland 1-0, whilst Belgium required penalties to get past Uruguay. France take an early lead through Ousmane Dembele in the 13th lead. It takes Belgium 21 minutes to draw level, with Romelu Lukaku the man who scores. The teams enter the dressing rooms at half time with the score still at 1-1. Despite a wealth of attacking talent, the second half produces no goals. It takes one minute into extra time for there to be another goal; Radja Nainggolan puts Belgium into the lead in the 91st minute. France have 29 minutes to find an equaliser and extra time produces another goal in the 113th minute. The goal is scored by Lukaku and Belgium progress at the expense of France.

Quarter Final – Italy V Argentina

A Quarter Final clash between two countries with six World Cups between them. Argentina knocked out Germany in the Last 16, winning 2-0. 1-0 was good enough for Italy to progress at England’s expense. Argentina are spoilt with attacking talent, whilst Italy’s defence is as strong as ever. The score is level at half time, with neither team having been able to force a breakthrough. With extra time looking the most likely outcome, Andrea Belotti puts Italy into the lead in the 83rd minute. It’s enough for Italy’s campaign to continue as Argentina bow out.

Find out what happens on Day 24.

FMM18 World Cup Day 18

Read from the introduction.

Recap on yesterday’s action.

Re-read the final matches in Groups E and F.

Last 16 – Northern Ireland V France

France’s topping of Group F sees them take on Northern Ireland in the Last 16. France go into the game as strong favourites, but the game is goalless at half time. Northern Ireland are able to repel French attacks until the 69th minute, when Ousmane Dembele fires the French into the lead. France are unable to add more goals, but it doesn’t matter as Northern Ireland are unable to get themselves back into the game. Whilst France were expected to win by more, they’ve scored enough to ensure they progress.

Last 16 – Italy V England

Italy topped Group E and take on England. Gary Lineker welcomes viewers by asking if England can get ‘pasta’ Italy and progress to the Quarter Finals. Italy suffer a blow in the 5th minute when Marco Veratti goes off injured. England suffer a blow of their own in the 14th minute when Raheem Sterling also heads to the dressing room early due to injury. With two minutes to go until half time, Andrea Petagna puts the Italians into the lead. Italy take the lead into half time, but they will have to defend their lead with only 10 men in the second half due to Giorgio Chiellini getting sent off one minute before half time. A man advantage gives England a great chance of progressing to the Quarter Finals, but if there’s one team that can defend a one-goal lead successfully, it’s typically Italy. And so it proves, as England are unable to score against the Italians.

Find out what happens on Day 19.

FMM18 World Cup Day 14

Read from the introduction.

Recap on yesterday’s action.

Re-read the previous games in Group E and Group F.

Group E – Chile V Australia & Northern Ireland V Italy

Going into the final matches, the Group E table looks like:

Another group in which qualification all but looks certain. Only a good win for Chile and a big loss for Northern Ireland will see Chile pip Northern Ireland for qualification. Italy have qualified and a draw against Northern Ireland will see them top the table, with Northern Ireland joining them as qualifiers.

Chile know they need goals as well as Northern Ireland losing to Italy. The slim chance of qualification becomes slimmer in the 20th minute when Chris Ikonomidis puts Australia into the lead. Italy lose Claudio Marchisio to injury in the 37th minute as their game reaches half time at 0-0, whilst Australia take a 1-0 lead into the dressing room. Italy take the lead in the 51st minute through Marco Verratti, but with the score in the other game, it has no impact on the group and Northern Ireland’s chances of qualifying. Northern Ireland ensure that it will be impossible to miss out in the 61st minute when Craig Cathcart pulls them level. Two minutes after Northern Ireland have equalised, Brad Inman limps off for Australia as they try to hold on to their lead. They’re not successful; Marcelo Diaz levels for Chile in the 76th minute. Any hopes they have of going on a goal spree and qualifying if Italy take the lead is immediately extinguished as Pablo Hernandez sees red.

Italy have, as would have been expected, qualified from the group as winners. Second place was up for grabs and Northern Ireland were able to secure it, three points ahead of Chile who were arguably the favourites to secure the second qualifying spot. It was a World Cup to forget for Australia, who finished bottom of the group.

Group F – England V France & Ivory Coast V Iran

Going into the final round of matches, the table looks like:

A group in which qualification is in no doubt, with England and France having both won their opening games to progress to the Last 16 – all that remains to be settled is who qualifies as group winners. England are currently favourites as they are currently topping the table, so a draw will be enough for them to set up a Home Nations clash with Northern Ireland, whilst a loss to France will mean it will be Italy for England in the Last 16. The other game in the group gives Ivory Coast and Iran a chance to record a victory.

France and England are both aware that topping the group will mean avoiding Italy and France take the lead through Antoine Griezmann in the 28th minute; ten minutes later, Samuel Umtiti doubles the French lead. Assane Gnoukouri puts Ivory Coast into the lead in the 41st minute as they take a 1-0 lead into half time over Iran, whilst France keep their 2-0 lead over England. Eight minutes into the second half, Masoud Nasehi limps off injured for Iran. Seydou Doumbia adds a second goal for Ivory Coast in the 64th minute, before Wilfried Zaha ensures that Ivory Coast will record a victory with a goal in the 78th minute. One minute later, Raphael Varane puts France into a commanding 3-0 lead to ensure they will qualify as group winners.

The group has finished as was expected, with France impressively qualifying without conceding. England join them in progressing to the Last 16, although pre-match triumphalism has been toned down after a heavy final game defeat and satisfaction of qualifying and looking forward to the knockout stages replaces it. Ivory Coast finish third, but didn’t trouble the two qualifiers as much as they would have hoped. Iran finished bottom of a tough group.

Find out what happens on Day 15.

FMM18 World Cup Day 9

Read from the introduction.

Recap on yesterday’s matches.

Re-read the previous games in Group D and Group E

Group E – Italy V Chile

It’s a perfect start for the Italians as Claudio Marchisio puts them into the lead with just four minutes on the clock. Things get worse for Chile nine minutes later as Fabian Orellana is forced off with an injury. Andrea Belotti doubles Italy’s lead in the 38th minute, giving them a two-goal lead at half time. The two-lead lasts for one minute of the second half. Giorgio Chiellini makes things even more comfortable for the Italians. With four minutes remaining, Andrea Petagna adds a fourth as the Italians dispel the myth about them being slow starters.

Group D – Denmark V Saudi Arabia

The Danes are favourites going into the match and it doesn’t take long for them to show why. Fourteen minutes to be precise. Christian Eriksen is the man who puts them in the lead. It takes them until the 71st minute to feel safe, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg adding the second. Even an injury to Nicolai Jorgensen in the 77th minute doesn’t give Saudi Arabia a way back into the game as Denmark record their second win.

After the second round of matches, the Group D table looks like:

Group E -Northern Ireland V Australia

After Italy’s win over Chile, a win for either side here would put them in a great place to qualify for the last 16. Northern Ireland draw first blood through Craig Cathcart in the 43rd minute. The second half is only six minutes old when Stuart Dallas doubles the lead. For Australia to fight back, something needs to happen quickly. Something does happen quickly. They are reduced to ten men in the 52nd minute, with Lyndon Dykes taking the long walk to a lonely early bath. Northern Ireland don’t add any further goals with the man advantage, but they’ve done enough to record an important victory.

After the second round of matches, the Group E table looks like:

Find out what happens on Day 10.

FMM18 World Cup Day 4

Recap on the groups.

Recap on yesterday’s matches

Group E – Australia V Italy

Italy are often associated with cagey single-goal victories. They blow this out of the water with their opening game against Australia. Claudio Marchisio opens the scoring ten minutes in. Andrea Belotti doubles the lead five minute later and Leonardo Bonucci puts the Italians three up inside 23 minutes. Belotti adds a fourth in the 41st minute and completes his hat-trick in the 66th minute to conclude the scoring. Another day, another 5-0 result.

Group E – Chile V Northern Ireland

After Italy’s demolition of Australia, this could prove to be a vital game for both sides. Victory could be a big step towards knockout football, whilst defeat could make things difficult. With so much at stake, perhaps it’s unsurprising that a goalless draw is played out. Chile lose Mauricio Isla to injury in the sixth minute in the only moment of note in the match.

The Group E table looks like:

Group F – Iran V France

It appears to be a tough opening match for Iran. And things only get tougher when Anthony Martial puts France into the lead in the third minute. Martial extends France’s lead in the 31st minute. Alex Delir limps off for Iran in the 38th minute and before they have a chance to readjust, Martial adds his and France’s third one minute later. There’s enough time for Antoine Griezmann to open his account, but with 18 minutes to go when he strikes, it has no impact on the result. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that we don’t see another 5-0 result.

Find out what happens on Day 5.

Euro 2016 Quarter Finals

Match 1: Poland V Portugal

The first quarter final sees Poland take on Portugal. Poland have played well at times, but struggled at other times. Portugal have been quite subdued and qualified from their group with 3 draws and required a goal deep in stoppage time to win their Last 16 match against Croatia. This is a difficult match to call, as both attacks could cause problems for the other defence, but I think Poland have a more rounded attack, whilst Portugal appear to rely on Portugal

Winner: Poland

Match 2: Wales V Belgium

This appears to be a bit of a mis-match, but the two countries played in qualifying and Wales took 4 points from their games against Belgium. Wales have defended well and Gareth Bale has been a potent weapon for them in attack. Belgium struggled in their opening game against Italy, but have been improving since then and recorded a convincing 4-0 victory over Hungary in the last 16. The Belgium V Hungary game was open and it is difficult to imagine Wales playing an open game against such a strong Belgium attack.

Winner: Belgium

Match 3: Germany V Italy

Germany have looked excellent at times, but struggled in others, especially when pressure has been put on them (Ukraine attacked with purpose for the final 15 minutes of the first half in their group game and Germany seemed to struggle). In contrast, Italy have played well in all their matches (with the possible exception of their final group game against Republic of Ireland when they had already qualified and made plenty of changes) and qualified top from the ‘Group of Death’ (and with a game to spare) and were convincing winners against Spain in the Last 16 – quite an achievement for the worst Italian side ever! This is a difficult match to call and it could go all the way to penalties. The winners of this match will also arguably become favourites for the tournament.

Winner: Italy

Match 4: France V Iceland

Iceland surpassed all expectations in qualifying from their group, never mind beating a lacklustre England in the Last 16 to reach the quarter-finals at their first international tournament. France have impressed at times, particularly against Republic of Ireland in the Last 16 in the second half, where they looked dangerous every time they attacked. The strengths in the French midfield and attack will put a lot of pressure on Iceland’s defence, which has generally played well.

Winner: France

Predicted semi-finals:

Poland V Belgium
Italy V France

Euro 2016: Last 16

With the European Championships having expanded to 24 teams, there is a round of 16 teams.

Game 1: Switzerland V Poland

Switzerland take on Poland in the first knockout game of the tournament. I tipped Poland to be dark horses before the tournament and from what I’ve seen so far, I think Poland will have enough to beat Switzerland and take their place in the quarter finals.

Winner: Poland

Game 2: Wales V Northern Ireland

A local derby in Last 16 is the second knockout match of the tournament. This match is quite a surprise as Wales topped their group (whilst I thought they had a good chance of qualifying, I was surprised that they topped the group) and Northern Ireland qualified from a tough group that included world champions Germany. Both teams seem to have an abundance of team spirit, but I think that the class of Gareth Bale will be enough to separate two quite similar sides.

Winner: Wales

Game 3: Croatia V Portugal

Another surprising match as a result of Croatia beating Spain and topping Group D, whilst Portugal could only manage three draws and finish third in what looked like a reasonably easy group to win. Portugal have an outstanding talent in Cristiano Ronaldo, but he has largely been frustrated in the tournament so far. In contrast, Croatia have an outstanding midfield that can boast Modric and Rakitic and they also have a player who has been one of the best in the tournament so far in my opinion – Perisic. This has the potential to be a close game and I would not be surprised if it went to extra time and possibly even penalties.

Winner: Croatia

Game 4: France V Republic of Ireland

France topped their group as expected, although they required late goals to record their two wins of the tournament so far. Republic of Ireland qualified from ‘The Group of Death’ as one of the best third placed teams following a late goal against Italy. If France do have a weakness, it is their defending of set pieces and if Ireland are to have a chance of progressing, they will need excellent delivery from Brady. Even with excellent set piece delivery, I don’t think it will be enough.

Winner: France

Game 5: Germany V Slovakia

An easy Last 16 tie for Germany? In a Euro 2016 warm-up game, Slovakia beat Germany (in Germany) 3-1 and Germany have only looked good in patches. The German team that will play this match is likely to be stronger than the one fielded in the friendly (Neuer will surely start), but Slovakia have shown they are tough to break down and possess danger when breaking with Hamsik in the side. However, Germany nearly always find a way to progress and I would expect them to do so again.

Winner: Germany

Game 6: Hungary V Belgium

Hungary’s group appeared to be a relatively weak one, but Portugal were expected to top it with Austria in second place, leaving Hungary battling it out with Iceland for third place. However, Hungary were having none of it and not only qualified, but topped the group. This match looks as though it will be a united team in Hungary that is better than the sum of its parts against a team of excellent individual players in Belgium who don’t quite seem to gel as a group. I think a moment of individual brilliance from one of the Belgian forwards will be just enough to see them through.

Winner: Belgium

Game 7: Italy V Spain

The worst Italian team ever (as they were branded before the start of the tournament) qualified top of the ‘Group of Death’ after two games and their reward? Spain, who surprisingly came second in their group after losing their final group game against Croatia. This is a repeat of the Euro 2012 final, which Spain won convincingly (4-0). This Spanish team is not as good as that Spanish team, but they will still have plenty of the ball. However, if there is one team who will not be concerned by this, it is Italy and I think that the Italians will use all of their guile in a game when they will play a counter-attacking style. It will be a tight game, but the Spanish defence has looked weak at times and I think Italy will exploit this with incisive counter attacks.

Winner: Italy

Group 8: England V Iceland

Two surprising runners-up meet in the final knockout match as England surprisingly only came second of their group (despite being unbeaten), whilst Iceland surprisingly qualified automatically from their group (remaining unbeaten in the process). Iceland’s game plan has involved defending resolutely with plenty of men behind the ball, which England have found difficult to play against (as evidenced in the 0-0 draw with Slovakia). England’s pressure is likely to tell in the end, but they will have to ensure that they don’t get careless at the back.

Winner: England

Predicted quarter-finals:

Poland V Croatia
Wales V Belgium
Germany V Italy
France V England

Euro 2016: Group E

Group E contains Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland and Italy and is being referred to as the ‘Group of Death’. The Belgians are highly ranked in the FIFA standings, as they were for the last World Cup; however, they struggled there as it was shown again that lots of good players do not necessarily make for a good team. That theory will certainly be put to the test in Group E, with three tough matches. In contrast, the Italians will have a good team, although not necessarily players with the same star quality of Belgium. Whilst speaking of star quality, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden is arguably the biggest star in Group E (and the tournament) and the Swedish plan is going to be set to getting the best out of him. If they achieve this and Ibrahimovic plays well, Sweden will be very competitive, but if not, they could struggle. The Republic of Ireland are likely to give all three a good game (they took four points off Germany in qualifying), but whether this will be enough in a tough group is difficult to gauge.

Predicted final table:

1. Italy
2. Belgium
3. Sweden
4. Republic of Ireland

Italy 32-22 Romania

Italy established enough of a lead to withstand a late flourish from Romania and claim a second victory and third spot in Pool D, guaranteeing automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup. Italy took a good lead into half time, playing little, but scoring when they did. With time running out, Romania were able to create and score some chances, but had left themselves too much a deficit to make up.

Large parts of the game were forgettable, with Italy seemingly happy to sit back on a comfortable lead they had established. Romania battled on throughout, but didn’t have the creativity to consistently carve open the Italian defence and score points. Italy have recorded 2 losses against Six Nations opponents in the group, whilst gaining 2 unconvincing victories against tier 2 opposition. Although a Six Nations side, Italy are showing few signs of developing as a rugby nation and it is easy to see why the likes of Romania and Georgia are calling for promotion and relegation within the premier European tournament.

Italy 23-18 Canada

Italy scraped a victory they didn’t really deserve against Canada in Pool D of the World Cup. Canada opened the scoring with a penalty, claimed the kick off from the restart and then scored a try from just inside their 22. Italy soon responded with an excellent try of their own from around the halfway line. The scores remained close, with a Canadian penalty with 10 minutes left narrowing the score to 20-18, but Italy managed the clock and territory well in the final 10 minutes; they didn’t give Canada a chance to score, kicked penalties for lineouts to use up the time and scored a penalty with the last kick of the game.

Italy were quite poor today, but had enough experience to hold on at the end. It is difficult to see how they will progress from Pool D as I would expect Ireland to beat them quite comfortably based on that performance. Canada battled well, made several great line breaks and were full of exciting rugby from their backline. The game against France will be tough for them, but they must stand an excellent chance against Romania.

Rugby World Cup: Pool D preview

Countries competing in Pool D (IRB ranking in brackets):

Canada (18)
France (7)
Ireland (6)
Italy (14)
Romania (17)

Pool D (on paper at least) appears to have two clear favourites in Ireland who should qualify reasonably comfortably. However, I think that this will be quite a tight group, as Ireland seem to have had difficulties at the World Cup in the past and then there is the favoured cliche of which French side will turn up. Italy will certainly be waiting in the wings waiting to take full advantage of any slip from them and qualify; they played well against Wales in a recent World Cup warm-up, showing strong defence and out-scored the hosts in tries. I expect France V Italy to be the key match for qualification, with the winners joining Ireland in progressing from the group. For Canada and Romania, the game between them will be important and will decide who will finish fourth.

Predicted final table:

1. Ireland
2. France
3. Italy
4. Romania
5. Canada

England U21s 1-3 Italy U21s

A poor performance from England saw them finish bottom of Group B at the U21 European Championships. England started well and had a great chance following a through-ball from Harry Kane to Danny Ings, but Ings could only find the side-netting. However, Italy came into the game and scored through Belotti in the 25th minute, who volleyed home a ball at full stretch. Things rapidly got worse for England 2 minutes later when Criestig ran unopposed and gave the ball to Benassi; his shot deflected off Gibson and went in.

The second half continued with England struggling to consistently find players with passes or put sustained pressure on the Italian defence. Italy furthered their lead in the 72nd minute, when a throw-in was hooked on and Benassi scored his second of the game with a free header from 10 yards out that crept in at the far post. Redmond grabbed a consolation goal through Nathan Redmond in stoppage time with a fierce drive from the edge of the area.

England started well, but once Italy came into the game, they were by far the better team and the result was fully deserved. England’s policy of not selecting some players to go the U21 Championships is once again being debated. In my opinion, England should pick their strongest available squad for the Championships and give the players exposure to tournament football; the aim of U21 football is to prepare players for international football and act as a pathway, so it is important that players get selected where possible.

Italy 1-1 England

A draw was probably a fair result in a game of two halves; Italy controlled the game in the first half, with England coming more into match in the second half. Pelle scored a great deft header in the first half and substitute Andros Townsend levelled for England with a 20 yard thunderbolt with about 10 minutes left. There were few genuine chances in the game, but the best ones fell to Italy; if either team deserved a win, it was them.

The substitutions made by England improved the performance. Barkley had several strong runs that drew in Italian defenders and created problems, whilst Carrick provided some balance to the team that was lacking when Jones was playing in midfield. England looked at their best when playing with pace and running with the ball. However, this took too long to happen and still resulted in few clear cut chances. There also remain questions about England’s ability to retain the ball, with Delph being particularly culpable of giving the ball away. Whilst a draw in Italy is a good result, there was very little tonight to suggest that England will be genuine contenders to win Euro 2016.

Scotland 19-22 Italy

A penalty try for Italy in the last minute gave them victory over Scotland. The game began with a flurry of points and tries were exchanged. Just before half time, an Italian penalty hit the post, but the chasing players were able to get the ball and score a try; however, Scotland took a one point lead into half time.

The second half was different, with over 20 minutes before the first points were added to the score; the points were from a penalty, giving Scotland a four point lead. The Italians laid siege to the Scottish line in the last ten minutes, with tries and mauls. After another maul was pulled down, Scotland had a player sent to the sin bin. Another maul, also taken down with seconds left, led to the award of the penalty try, with the conversion being added after the time had expired to give the winning three point margin.

Both teams looked to play some rugby, but generally the precision was lacking. This resulted in both teams struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking along, but kept the game tight. I don’t think either team will win another game in the Six Nations this season, particularly because Scotland struggle to take chances and Italy struggle with kicks at goal.

England 47-17 Italy

England recorded a comfortable victory over Italy thanks to a great period in the second half where England ran in 4 quick tries. Italy started the better and scored in the opening 5 minutes in the corner. Italy continued to threaten, but an injury to Mike Brown caused a long delay. England coped with the delay better and looked to gain the initiative after the break. Vunipola soon scored a try, given by the TMO, which looked a little fortunate. It was soon followed up by Joseph running in from the halfway line. An Italy try in the second half saw the lead cut to just 8 points, before England started to cut loose in the last 25 minutes, with Joseph grabbing another from the halfway line. There was a late consolation try for Italy in the last couple of minutes, which also saw their only successful kick in the match.

England need to start better, especially as Ireland away is the next match. The team played well, particularly in a ten minute period in the second half. Jonny May looks dangerous when he has the ball in hand and is making a break, but there were mistakes in defence. Joseph was deservedly named Man of the Match.