World Cup Review: Match 3 for Groups A & B

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In the final matchday of Groups A and B, group A’s advancing teams were already decided, while three teams duked it out for two spots in group B. Our World Cup Review takes a look at the final day in groups A and B, and who moves on to the knockout rounds and who goes home!

Group A:

Group A had two teams fighting for the top spot in the group; would Russia or Uruguay come out on top? Egypt and Saudi Arabia met in a consolation game as both have already been eliminated from the World Cup!

Uruguay: 3 Russia: 0

This match would determine who would win the group. Would the south American power house take it, or would the host use the home field advantage to win the group? Early on it was clear who was going to come out on top of group A.

In the eighth minute Russia committed a foul right outside their box. Luis Suarez stepped up to the ball, and curled a ball to the low right corner of the net. His effort found its way in and gave Uruguay the lead! After the goal, Russia attempted to get back into the game, but was unable to get many chances. When the hosts were able to put the ball in the net it was their own.

A shot by Uruguay hit the leg of Denis Cheryshev and bounced into the Russian net. After going down by two, Russia’s aggressiveness got the better of them. Igor Smolnikov picked up a red card for a dangerous challenge in the 36th minute. Uruguay took a 2-0 lead, and the man advantage into half time.

In the second half Russia tried to get back into the match. However being down a man didn’t help their cause. Russia could not get anything going, on what was a frustrating night for them. A third Uruguayan goal by Edinson Cavani in the 90th minute sealed the deal.

Uruguay win the group while Russia finish second

Highlights:

Saudi Arabia: 2 Egypt: 1

In Group A’s consolation game, Saudi Arabia and Egypt played for their pride. The game had a nice flow about it! Egypt were the first side to strike through their talisman Mo Salah.

A long ball was played over the Saudi Arabian defense, Salah possessed the ball and split two defenders. An onrushing keeper came out, but Salah coolly chipped the keeper to give Egypt the lead. Salah had another similar chance, with even more time to place his chip two minutes later. He pulled this attempt wide in what would be a sorely missed chance.

Saudi Arabia found a penalty due to a hand ball by Egypt. The penalty was taken well, but Egypt keeper Essam El-Hadary (the oldest player to ever play in a World Cup; age 45) made the save! Saudi Arabia was able to find an equalizer late in second half stoppage time. Another  penalty from was given to them, and this time Salman Al-Faraj. The game was tied 1-1 at the half.

in the second half both teams had chances in a very open game. The contest looked to end in a tie, until a bit of class from Saudi Arbia in second half stoppage time. Some nice passing saw the ball bounce in the box towards the path of Salem Al-Dawsari. He took a chance first time and placed it around the keeper into the far left of the goal. Saudi Arabia won the consolation contest 2-1!

Highlights:

Standings:

While we knew that both Russia and Uruguay would make it to the knockout round, we didn’t know who would take the group. It was clear that Uruguay were the better side in their last match. They move on as group winners, and Russia move on to the knockout rounds for the first time ever, finishing second.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia showed well in the tournament at times, but they lacked the quality to get over the hump to compete for the knockout stage. Both will have something to build on as they look to future tournaments.

Uruguay will go on to play the runners-up of Group B in the Round of 16 , while Russia play the Group B winners in the Round of 16!

Group B:

Group B is a group where three nations are competing for two spots. Spain need a win or a draw to ensure their advance over eliminated Morocco. Portugal need a win or draw over Iran to advance. Iran would have to beat Portugal to have any chance of moving on to the knockout rounds!

Portugal: 1 Iran: 1

In a highly competitive match where one nation would advance and the other go home, Portugal and Iran put on a show!Portugal needed at least a draw to go through, while Iran needed to find a way to win the game to advance! Both sides showed they were in it to win it early with dangerous chances coming from both sides in the first 44 minutes. In the 45th minute, there was a spot of footballing genius from Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma.

Quaresma found the ball on the far right of the attacking third. A give-and-go allowed him to move centrally to create an attack. He took one touch with his left foot to set up a brilliant shot. He hit the ball with the outside of his right foot, and bent the ball over the keeper into the upper right corner of the net. His brilliance gave Portugal a 1-0 lead at the half.

As the second half commenced, the referee and VAR would take some of the limelight away from the spectacle of the match. First a penalty decision was given via VAR to Portugal. Christiano Ronaldo stepped up, and hit the ball with pace, but keeper Alireza Beiranvand stopped the chance! As the game went on, it looked as if Portugal would win the match! However, another decision to go to VAR and award a penalty occurred, this time for Iran. Substitute Karim Ansarifard stepped up and slammed the chance into the roof of the net to tie the game for Iran in the second minute of a six-minute stoppage time!

As the game frantically continued, both sides looked for the illusive winner. The one great chance to find the winner fell to Iran’s Mehdi Taremi. A deflected ball found him in the box, and he put the shot just wide, hitting the outside of the net. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Iran were eliminated, falling short of finding a winning goal; Portugal knew they were through to the knockout round, but the result between Spain and Morocco would dictate if they finished first or second.

Highlights:

Spain: 2 Morocco: 2

In this match, the goal was clear for Spain, win the game and advance! Already eliminated Morocco had other ideas. Spain began the match pushing numbers forward! This allowed Morocco to look for a counter attack. They found a great chance in the 14th minute! An uncharacteristic give away by Andrés Iniesta gave Morocco a break away! Khalid Boutaïb carried the ball down the pitch into Spain’s box. As David De Gea rushed the attacker, Boutaïb slipped the ball past him to give Morocco the lead! Their lead wouldn’t last long.

Iniesta redeemed himself just five minutes later. Finding the ball inside the box, he beat the Moroccan defense to the end line. There he played the ball across the face of goal where Isco could tap the chance home. The game moved to half time tied at one.

In the second half both sides looked good, but not good enough to find a winner. A shot hit the bar for morocco, and a chance cleared off the line for Spain. The game looked to end 1-1 until the last 10 minutes of the match! In the 81st minute morocco sent a corner into the box. Substitute Youssef En-Nesyri rose above everyone and headed a chance home to give Morocco the lead! Just as Morocco looked to find a winner some late drama occurred!

in the second half stoppage time Spain had numbers forward. They put a cross into the box, and  Iago Aspas flicked the chance home. During the play, it seemed that Aspas could have been offside. The referee went to VAR to check the play. The review found it was a good goal! Spain equalized as the match ended 2-2!

This result meant that Spain would win the group over Portugal based on the goals scored category!

Highlights:

Standings:

As a hectic ending to group B commenced, the two powerhouses emerged victorious. A late tying goal by Spain in second half stoppage time, robbing Morocco of a win in the tournament, meant that they would come out on top of the group. Iran’s late miss when the game was tied against Portugal meant that Christiano Ronaldo and Portugal move on to the knockout rounds as the groups second team.

As great a tournament as it was for Iran and Morocco, they are the two nations heading home after some grueling matches. Both should hold their head high as they truly competed with two of Europe’s best teams!

Spain advance to meet Russia in the Round of 16, while Portugal play Uruguay in the Round of 16!

Here’s how Group’s A and B will meet in the knockout round:

Group A winners Uruguay take on Group B runners-up Portugal on Saturday, June 30th at 2 pm EST. Group B winners Spain will play Group A runners-up, and host nation, Russia on Sunday July 1st, at 10 am EST!

More action to come!

As the tournament roles on, we will continue our reviews! Come back Tomorrow for a review of Match 3 for Groups C and D! 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:

France vs Denmark (Group C) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App

Australia vs Peru (Group C) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App

Nigeria vs Argentina (Group D) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App

Iceland vs Croatia (Group D) – REPLAY – FoxSportsGO App

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Mandatory Credit: Sipa USA-USA TODAY Sports

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