FIFA World Cup 2018: Why Robert Lewandowski failed to score against Senegal

From Mohamed Salah’s return for Egypt to Robert Lewandowski failing to perform for Poland against Senegal, a statistical look at Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup 2018 encounters.
Robert Lewandowski failed to score as Poland were defeated by Senegal in their FIFA World Cup 2018 encounter.(AFP)
Robert Lewandowski failed to score as Poland were defeated by Senegal in their FIFA World Cup 2018 encounter.(AFP)
Updated on Jun 20, 2018 04:00 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByShijith P Kunhitty

In Robert Lewandowski, Poland have one of the best no. 9s in the FIFA World Cup 2018. The star forward, who plays for the German club Bayern Munich, had 41 goals in 48 club matches last season. Lewandowski was expected to have a huge impact on the tournament and help Poland at least qualify from the group phase. However, Poland lost the match against Senegal 1-2 with Lewandowski only having two shots in the entire game.

We look at why that was so and some other interesting data points from Tuesday’s matches -

a) Lewandowski didn’t get much service

Poland had another striker, Arkadiusz Milik of the Italian club Napoli playing slightly behind Lewandowski, as part of a two-man strike partnership, but slightly withdrawn - more of a 4-4-1-1 than a 4-4-2, if you will. But that partnership failed to click at all and was one of the main reasons why Lewandowski didn’t have much of an impact. He didn’t have much service from the player positioned closest to him.

If we look at the number of passes received by Lewandowski from his Polish teammates, he only received one pass from Milik. A better partnership between the two could potentially have meant more goals for Poland.

b) Japan didn’t make their extra man count for a long time

Japan had an extra man for almost the whole match against Colombia after an opposition player was sent off in the third minute. Despite that, Japan didn’t really take advantage of the situation in the first half. In fact, if we look at how many shots the two teams had, on-target or off, they both had three shots.

In the second half, however, Japan pressed Colombia hard and had nine shots in the second half to Colombia’s paltry three.

c) Salah back to physical fitness, if not match fitness

Egypt’s main attacking threat - Mohamed Salah - made his first appearance in the World Cup against Russia but couldn’t stop his team from losing 1-3 to Russia.

Salah did manage to score a late penalty but apart from that didn’t worry the Russian defence much as he managed only one shot on target during the entire match.

His performance may not be surprising as the Egyptian is slowly making his way back to match fitness after the injury suffered for his club Liverpool in this year’s Champions League final.

Salah may not be match fit but he did show during the match that he is close to regaining physical fitness.

The Egyptian winger ran at a top speed of around 32 km/h during the match. And would one guess it would only take a few more matches for us to get the Salah of old. It’s a shame Egypt might make its exit before then.

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