Brussels: World Cup round up #1

Round up of watching the Russia 2018 World Cup in Brussels after the inspiring media workshops at the Engage Europe summer school in Belgium. Report by Engage London’s Charlie Tshibangu (England fan) written on the Eurostar back to London just before the Belgium v England game…

Manneken Pis in central Brussels is dressed in the Belgian football strip ready for the England v Belgium game. The statue has his clothes changed twice a day but is naked by night. (c) Engage London

Watching the matches in a bar in Brussels is a great atmosphere, you get to experience the rollercoaster emotions football gives you with a mix of fans such as Portuguese, German, as well as the Belgian fans (while drinking the famous Belgian beer or two!).

Being a football fan myself and watching all the games in Brussels, it made me get to know and look at the city in a different light. They really embraced their team, plastering the city with posters of players and hanging their flags everywhere you looked… which for me was great.

I asked every Belgian person I came across about their thoughts on the big Belgium V England draw scheduled for Thursday 28 June. Surprisingly a few were less optimistic about their squad and their chances of winning against us. Unfortunately for us, and fortunately for them, they ended up beating us 1-0 by a brilliant goal from Adnan Januzaj.

CAPTION: Football is huge in Brussels – here Morocco fans celebrate a draw (2:2 with Spain). Film by Engage London/Matt Hardy

The 2018 Russia World Cup has been eventful so far, two weeks in and there has already been a couple of heartbreaks. The latest disappointment being Germany, the former 2014 World Cup Champions have crashed out of the group stages.

Germany’s first blow came when they lost their opening game 0-1 when they took on an energetic Mexican side, with the young Mexican Lozano nicknamed ‘Chucky’ grabbing the win. When time came to redeem themselves in their second game against Sweden the Germans answered the critics by adding a much needed 3 points to their account when they beat the Swedes 2-1 with Toni Kroos scoring a 90th minute free-kick at the very last seconds of a frustrating game, the goal without a doubt making its way in top 3 position in best goal of the competition.

Moving forward from their 2-1 win, they took on South Korea who were branded this week as one of the worst teams of the competition having failed to win a single game in their campaign.

Germany as expected created a number of chances failing to score a single goal which would later come back to haunt them as South Korea took their chance in on the 90th minute scoring on corner kick. Germany’s demise continued when the world number 1 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was caught outside his goal which led to a easy tap in by the Tottenham Hotspur striker Heung-Min Son making the final results 0-2 to South Korea.

The Koreans triumph over the Champions, caused them to be eliminated. It’s the earliest exit for Germany since the competition began in 1938. Some might say this could be one of the most shocking moments of the World Cup since Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 defeat back in 2014.

Other teams whose journeys were cut short are Panama, Tunisia, Iceland, Senegal and Nigeria.

Nigeria was the most unfortunate of the bunch after letting their qualification ticket slip when Argentina’s centre back Marcos Rojo’s volley from an 80th minute corner kick.

For everyone it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.

  • Engage London has approx 27 members – a lucky eight were able to attend the Brussels summer school at IHECS from 24-28 June. They were Pilion Trust’s Rahim Amin, Favour Ekengwu, Naomi Gahie, Charlie Tshibangu and City’s Matt Hardy, Alun Macer-Wright, Diana Serenli, Meagan Walker. Big thanks to Engage Europe for creating this opportunity.

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