The second match in the World Cup group stage has proved to be very telling in who goes through to the knockout rounds and who will head home. As the matches play out, the sense of urgency, and will to get a result is out there for the world to see! Matchday two for Groups C and D did not disappoint. Our World Cup Review takes a look at how Groups C and D are lining up for a drama filled final match of the group stage
Group C’s matchday one showed that France are the favorite in the group, getting three points vs Australia. Peru played a great game, but conceded once, resulting in a win for Denmark. Now in matchday two, the Russia 2018 lives of Australia and Peru are on the line, while Denmark and France can punch their ticket to the knockout rounds with wins!
Denmark: 1 Australia: 1
As Denmark met Australia, the goal was clear for both sides. For Denmark, it was win and likely advance to the knockout rounds. For Australia, it was get at least a point or be eliminated with a match to go. Early on in the match we saw the quality of both sides.
In the first few minutes Australia showcased their strength as a headed corner almost found the back of the net. An early wake up call for Denmark sparked their attack. Star Christian Eriksen ran onto a nicely laid off ball in the box and lasered a shot into the net, this just two minutes after Australia nearly scored. The half continued as a back-and-forth affair, until the 37th minute.
Another Australian corner was sent into the box. The header was won by the Socceroo’s, and deflected off an extend Danish hand. After a look at VAR, a penalty for Australia was confirmed. Captain, and candidate for best facial hair of the tournament, Mile Jedinak stepped up to take the penalty. He coolly converted, and tied the game. The first half ended 1-1.
In the second half both sides scrambled for a winner but neither could find one. The draw was a fair result as both sides deserved a point! Th game ended 1-1, and gave both sides hope of moving on to the knockout stage.
France: 1 Peru: 0
In a game where France knew they could advance to the knockout stage, they were up for taking the game to Peru. Peru, who knew if they lost would be eliminated from the knockout rounds tried to match France’s intensity. Early on both sides created chances. France’s quality got them some great looks, but no goals early on. Peru took advantage of a weaker French defense, creating some golden oppertunities. Alas, they produced no goals. France’s persistence moving forward paid off in the 34th minute.
Some nice play saw France on the front foot. Pogba carried the ball into the Peruvian final third. There he found Giroud in the box. He produced a shot that was deflected, and fell right to the path of Mbappe. The teenage Frenchman tapped in the effort giving France a lead that they’d take with them to halftime!
In the second half Peru was hungry to find the equalizer that would keep them alive at Russia 2018. A clean Peruvian strike in the 50th minute curled to the far post, and struck where the post meets the cross-bar ricochetting out-of-bounds. This, coupled with the quality of the French possession effectively ended Peru’s chances. France took this one 1-0. This result ensured France moving on, and Peru going home with one match to play!
As matchday two of group C comes to a close we see another nation qualify for the knockout stages, and another eliminated with a game to play. France’s 1-0 win over Peru sends the South American side crashing out of the tournament. Peru has play two brilliant games, but unfortunately have conceded twice without find a way to get a goal; that’s the brutality of this sport at this stage! On the other hand, France are onto the knockout rounds following two matches where they were able to win by a one goal margin.
Denmark and Australia are going to duke it out for a spot with France, both sides saw a goal in their game against one another. Denmark sits on four points while Australia have one point. Should France beat Denmark in the final game, and Australia beat Peru, then they will be tied on points. The deciding factor their would be the goals scored category!
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 21, 2018
Group D was full of drama during their first round of matches. Argentina and their superstar Messi fell short in their first match drawing World Cup debutantes Iceland. Their split of points was huge result for Iceland, and what seemed like a dooming one for Argentina. Croatia showed their dominance in the other match shutting out Nigeria, who have seemed to fall off from years past. Each nation has everything to play for in match two. Croatia will look to move to 6 points, and qualify for the knockout stage, with a win over Argentina. Should Messi and the rest of the Argentine’s squad get a win, they’d be right back in the thick of things in the group standings. Iceland will look to build off their draw against a Nigerian side that can be knocked out of the tournament with a loss!
Croatia: 3 Argentina: 0
In what could be the most surprising match of the group stage, Coratia met with 2014 finalists Argentina. Croatia knew that if they won they would be through to the knockout stage. Argentina could not advance or be eliminated with any result, but a loss would create a huge hole in which they would have to rely on other teams results to move on!
Early on in this Match Argentina had a golden opportunity. A deflected ball fell to the foot of Perez, but he couldn’t find a way to place the ball into a seemingly open net. This summed up Argentina’s day. Both teams felt each other out for the rest of the half, but Croatia looked the better side.
As the second half started Croatia stepped on the gas! Seven minutes into the half, Argentina had possession and were forced to play back to their goalkeeper Caballero. He was pressured by Croatia’s Rebic, tried to play the ball out of pressure, but accidentally played it up into the air where Rebic could get the ball. Rebic set himself up, took the shot first time, the volley swerved past Caballero and into the net. Argentina were down on themselves after this huge error. Croatia sensed it and took advantage.
Late on, Croatia stifled Argentinian chances. They then looked to hit Argentina on the counter attack. In the 80th minute that style played out to perfection. A counter attack broke out and ended with Luka Modric on the ball just outside of the box. He set himself up to get a chance off around a defender. His shot was placed perfectly past Caballero to put the game away. However Croatia wasn’t finished. As Argentina pressed high to try to find a goal in second half stoppage time, they lost possession. Croatia created an attack and went through Argentina, who gave up defending. Ivan Rakitic was the recipient of an open net goal. Croatia took this one 3-0. They are through to the knockout rounds, while Argentina look like a side that won’t make it out of the group!
Nigeria: 2 Iceland: 0
In the final match of Group D, underdog’s Iceland came into a match with a young Nigerian side who needed a win to stay alive. Both teams were up for this one, whoever came out the winner would be in a great spot heading into the final game.
In the first half Iceland were on the front foot. Their size advantage gave them many chances from set pieces. Unfortunately for them, they lacked the quality to put one of their many chances in the net.Nigeria were comfortable sitting back defending for their lives. It worked in the first half, but the second half was a different story for the Nigerian’s.
As the second half started Nigeria seemed like a different team. They wanted to be on the ball, and looked to hit Iceland fast when they were dispossessed. This paid off just four minutes into the second half. Victor Moses found the ball on the wing and sprinted down the line. He chipped in a cross toward Ahmed Musa. He took a touch that popped the ball up in the air. He settled under it and smashed a chance past Icelandic keeper Haldorsson. As the half went on, it was clear Nigeria’s desperation, and speed on the counter were the deciding factors in the match.
In the 75th minute Musa found himself on the ball out wide. He had one defender to beat to get in on goal. He speedily beat his man, and was in on Haldorsson. He sidestepped Haldorsson and coolly slotted home his second goal of the game. Iceland looked like a shell of themselves from their historic match vs Argentina, as they had no way to stop Nigeria in the second half. This one ended 2-0 in favor of Nigeria, putting them in a good place to advance out of the group!
Moving into the final set of fixtures in group D Croatia have already advanced to the knockout round. With Argentina’s loss to Croatia they are in the cellar of the group, with everything to play for in their last match. Nigeria made the jump from last to second with their win over Iceland. Iceland sit third in the group based on a better goal difference than Argentina. The final matchday features Croatia vs Iceland, and Nigeria vs Argentina. The race is on for the second spot in the group. Argentina and Iceland can only finish second with a total of four points, the tiebreaker between the two nations would be goal difference. Nigeria could automatically go through by beating Argentina. It’ll be fun to see who comes out of this very competitive group!
So, Group D…
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 22, 2018
More action to come!
As the tournament roles on, we will continue our reviews! Come back Tomorrow for a review of Match 2 for Groups E and F! Catch all the games on Fox or Telemundo! Replays of matches are also available on the FoxSportsGO App!
Check out these matches or replays of today’s matches:
Brazil vs Costa Rica (Group E) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App
Nigeria vs Iceland (Group D) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App
Serbia vs Switzerland (Group E) – In Progress -Fox/Telemundo
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Mandatory Credit: Sipa USA-USA TODAY Sports