World Cup Recap – Groups A to D27th Jun 2018 |
What a couple of days it’s been at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. VAR has gone wild in Russia, teams have just edged through when expected to walk it and it’s all gone a little bit Messi.
Let’s take a deep breath and recap all the action from the last two days in Russia before the final round of group matches.
Russian reality check in Group A
Uruguay and Russia were both guaranteed progression into the last 16 before their clash on Monday, but it was to settle who finished top. Russia’s emphatic start to the first World Cup on home soil came to an abrupt end when they were seriously outplayed by a lively Uruguayan side who made them look very average.
Mo Salah got his second goal of the tournament despite his side falling to a 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia which left Egypt finishing at the foot of the table.
Iberian scare in Group B
Both Spain and Portugal came out of Monday night by scraping a draw to progress into the knockout stages. In a night full of VAR controversy in both matches, the Iberian nations just edged it, with Spain finishing top of the group on goals scored.
Spain looked woeful at times and were twice undone with some at the back by some energetic play from Morocco. A goal at the death from Aspas was initially ruled offside before being given, thanks to VAR, to see Spain snatch a 2-2 draw.
Portugal had similar troubles against Iran despite a bright start, going ahead through Ricardo Quaresma’s sweet strike. Ronaldo’s lacklustre VAR awarded penalty was saved to keep it at 1-0 until the 93rd minute when Iran equalised through yet another controversially awarded VAR penalty.
boring safe in Group C
Australia’s slim chances of qualification were snuffed out by a quality display from Peru, who recorded their first win at a World Cup Finals since 1978 to finish 3rd in the group. Despite plentiful chances in all 3 games, the Socceroos leave Russia with just the 1 point and dreams of what could have been.
France topped the group, leaving Denmark in second place after the sides played out a goalless draw, the first of this World Cup. In a match with few chances and little ambition, both sides played it safe, much to the annoyance of the crowd inside the Luzhniki Stadium who booed the teams at the final whistle.
The Argies battle on in Group D
One of the standout stories of this World Cup has been the underperformance of Argentina and it’s talisman Lionel Messi. Going into the final group game it was a do or die moment for the South Americans as well as Nigeria and Iceland, who all had a shot at progressing.
Argentina were lucky to overcome Nigeria late in the game after Messi’s first goal in the tournament was cancelled out from Victor Moses penalty. The strike from Manchester United defender Rojo saw the Argies clinch a 2-1 win and edge into 2nd place in the group.
Iceland fell victim to another injury-time winner to end their first World Cup in 4th place, with an impressive Croatia topping the group on a maximum 9 points.
Who’s in the second half of the draw
We’re now halfway through the final group matches and 8 teams have made it through with 8 teams on the bus to the airport.
Who will be filling up the other half of the draw over the next two days? Here’s what’s coming up from Groups E to G on Wednesday and Thursday…
15:00: South Korea v Germany | Mexico v Sweden
All sides could still qualify on paper, with wins for Germany and Sweden even meaning a possible exit for Mexico despite their two wins. It’s going to be a tight one!
19:00: Serbia v Brazil | Switzerland v Costa Rica
Costa Rica are already out but a win for Serbia could do the unthinkable and knock out Brazil. Yikes!
15:00: Japan v Poland | Senegal v Colombia
Poland is out after an all-round poor display but a win for Colombia could knock out Japan or Senegal. Squeaky stuff here.
19:00: England v Belgium | Panama v Tunisia
The 3 Lions are through comfortably alongside Belgium and will play to decide the top spot with Tunisia and Panama playing for pride.