The World Cup arrived with six Magpies playing in the group stages: Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, and Callum Wilson for England, Garang Kuol is with Australia, Fabian Schar is part of the Swiss team, and Bruno plays for Brazil.
Of course, these being Newcastle players, all of them made it to the Round of 16 alive and well. Ah, feels good for the Toon...
Here’s a recap of all that went on Saturday, Dec. 3, with more updates to come in the following days as games keep getting played with the World Cup still in the group stages.
Garang Kuol (Australia)
Match: AUS vs Argentina (World Cup)
Crazy scenes in Doha. It took until the 97th minute, but with Garang Kuol already on the pitch and the Socceroos still believing in pulling off the miraculous feat—reasonable, considering the walking-miracle Lionel Messi was on the other end of the field—the Wolrd stopped for a second.
The moment was too brief, though, with Kuol finding a cross coming from the left side of the ground and facing glory with a reverse shot... stopped by Argentine goalkeeper Dibu Martinez and ending the Aussie's hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals or, at the very least, 30 more minutes to try and snatch those tickets.
Argentina had a dreadful first half but Australia was even worse. Messi opened the score by finding a loose ball inside the Australian area that he didn’t hesitate to put inside the net. That was still all the way back in the 35th minute of play.
Julian Alvarez doubled the difference in the 57th after Matt Ryan committed an error handling (feeting?) the ball in all possible wrong ways hand gifting Argentina all they needed.
Until a rebound hit an Albiceleste player on defense (Enzo Fernandez—mentioning him by name only to drop his transfer value so he becomes cheaper to sign by NUFC) and made it all 2-1 Argentina.
Kuol had entered the pitch five minutes earlier, in the 72nd minute, and who would have thought he would have the most glaring open chance for the Aussies to qualify and play one more time? It couldn’t be, but Kuol had already become the second-youngest player to appear in a World Cup at all, and he improved on that record by doing the same only now when accounting for knockout-stage games. At the ripe age of 18 years and 79 days. I could barely walk then.
We might not watch Kuol anymore with Australia on Qatar soil, but he should be donning Black & White threads before you realize it.
Welcome home, Kuol. You’re one of our own!