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2018 FIFA World Cup group match
Event 2018 FIFA World Cup
Date 14 June 2018
Venue Dyluria Stadium, Îzätfä
Man of the Match Flag of the USA Clinton Walsh
Referee Waclaw Menslav (Poland)
Attendance 32, 370
Weather Sunny

United States vs. Estonia, played on 14 June 2018, was a football match between the United States and debutants Estonia in Group F of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Dyluria Stadium in Îzätfä. The match is infamous for containing a handball from Estonian captain Hillar Kuusk. In the 43rd minute, Kuusk scored Estonia's only goal of the tournament, when he punched it into the net in a repeat of Argentinian Diego Maradona's infamous "Hand of God" goal against England in 1986. In both incidents neither the referee nor the assistant referees saw the incident and allowed the goal, and in the case of Kuusk, the fourth official and fifth official also failed to see the incident and also allowed the goal.

BackgroundEdit

The United States and Estonia do not have a footballing rivalry. The first match played between the countries was at the 1924 Summer Olympics football tournament; the USA beat the Europeans 1-0. Until this match, few matches were played between the countries, save from friendlies.

When Estonia was created as a new state after World War I, the USA had warm relations with the new nation (alongside the two new other baltic states, Latvia and Lithuania). The USA did not recognize the Soviet Union's taking over of the baltic states in 1940. When the baltic states became independent in 1990, the USA recognized their independence.

2018 FIFA World CupEdit

Main article: 2018 FIFA World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup was hosted by Leubantia, who edged a rival bid from England in the bidding process. Estonia topped its qualifying group to qualify for the first time in World Cup history, which also contained Rorbania, Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The USA won the CONFACACAF fourth round group in qualifying to qualify.

MatchEdit

SummaryEdit

First 22 minutes (first half)Edit

The first 22 minutes of the first half saw the chances being opened by Estonian striker Jaan Rebane in the fourth minute, who almost scored a goal at that time, but his shot was saved by the USA's goalie, Xavier Reagan. 4 minutes later, US defender Adam Frenton took a penalty, but his shot hit the crossbar. The first actual goal came in the twelfth minute when Clinton Walsh of the USA scored following a corner-kick taken by Gordon Baleford.

Next 23 minutes (first half)Edit

More chances were taken in the next 23 minutes of the second half. The first chance was in the 23rd when Gordon Baleford of the USA swept past Estonia's Jaan Rebane, but failed to score. Jaan Rebane also tried to score a goal in the 33rd minute, but his shot bounced off the post, and a corner-kick had to be taken. The handball incident came in the 43rd minute.

Kuusk handballEdit

In the forty-third minute, Hillar Kuusk, Estonia's captain, cut inside from the left and played a diagonal low pass to the edge of the area to team-mate Jaan Rebane. Kuusk's pass actually went behind Rebane and went to Clinton Walsh, the US vice-captain, who was a striker. Walsh tried to hook the ball clear but miscued it. The ball screwed off his foot and into the penalty area, toward Kuusk, who had continued his run. USA goalkeeper Xavier Reagan, came out of his goal to punch the ball clear, with his considerable height at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), making him clear favourite to beat Kuusk at 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) to it. However, Kuusk reached it first, with the outside of his left fist. The ball went into the goal, and the referee (Polish Waclaw Menslav), not having seen the infringement, allowed the goal.

Second halfEdit

After Kuusk's handball, Estonia's striker and vice-captain Jaan Rebane tried to score in the second half, but his shot hit the crossbar. It was also offside. The first goal in the second half came from the USA's Clinton Walsh, who scored from a corner-kick in the 56th minute. In the 78th minute, Walsh scored again to complate his hat-trick. Estonia, who had scored a handball, had ultimatley lost.

AftermathEdit

Estonia went on to lose their next match to Hungary 1-0, and in their final match they were walloped 5-0 by Canada. Estonia thus finished bottom of Group F with no points. Meanwhile, the United States topped the group with 9 points, after beating Canada 2-0 and Hungary by the same scoreline. The USA advanced through to the second round where they beat the Republic of Ireland 4-2 after extra time. In the quarter-finals they were beaten 8-4 by Louaza.

DetailsEdit

Please note that "c" means captain.

World Cup
14 June 2018
90 minutes
Group stage
Flag of the USA USA 3-1 Flag of Estonia Estonia Dyluria Stadium, Îzätfä
Attendance: 32, 370
Referee: Waclaw Menslav (Poland)
Walsh Soccerball shade 12'56'78' Kuusk Soccerball shade 43'
Flag of the USA
UNITED STATES:
GK 1 Xavier Reagan
RB 4Adam Frenton
CB 5Herbert Dempsey (c)
CB 6 Robbie Mellerton
LB 7 Brad Golfer
RW 8 Mickey Robinson
CM 9Damarcus Obama
CM 10 Frank Petley
LW 11Stuart Harbont
SS 2Clinton Walsh
CF 3 Gordon Baleford
Manager:
Flag of the USA Samuel Morton
Flag of Estonia
ESTONIA:
GK 1 Paavo Ivanov
DF 4 Andres Koppel
DF 5 Jaak Sepp
DF 6 Olev Ilves
DF 7 Kristjan Tamm
MD 8 Hillar Kuusk (c)
MD 9 Peeter Semenov
MD 10 Nigul Mägi
MD 11 Mikk Petrov
FW 2 Jaan Rebane
FW 3 Koit Pavlov
Coach:
Flag of Estonia Toomas Smirnov


Assistant referees:
Flag of Poland Boleslaw Venslov
Flag of Lithuania Adomas Juska
Fourth official:
Flag of Italy Fabio Collini
'Fifth official:
Flag of Italy Guiseppe Leroza

Man of the match:
Flag of the USA Clinton Walsh

QuotationsEdit

  • "We scored a handball, but we lost. Ah, well." - Toomas Smirnov, Estonia's coach, after the match.
  • "I don't understand. As he [Kuusk], whooshed right past me, he just jumped higher than me!" - Xavier Reagan, US goalkeeper, also after the match.

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