In World Cup action at the weekend, there were plenty of shocks and shake up’s in the beautiful game. Read our weekend World Cup game by game reviews here!
France v Australia (2-1) Group C
France won their inaugural match of the World Cup 2018 against Australia on Saturday, but it wasn’t easily got. Underdogs Australia played a defensive game expecting to be trounced but the game was goal less until Antoine Griezmann scored from the spot after being awarded a penalty courtesy of VAR technology. Just four minutes later Australia were awarded the second penalty of the game because Samuel Umtiti punched away Mooy’s free-kick. Mile Jedinak netted the equaliser to put them on a level playing field. Paul Pogba drove the ball into the box and unfortunately for Australia, Aziz Behich seemed to give it the last touch which sent the ball past the keeper to underside of the crossbar.
Argentina v Iceland (1 -1) Group D
It was a very disappointing result for Argentina’s first game in the tournament against Iceland. Iceland played with an attacking intent that regularly troubled Argentina’s defence. Argentina had great opportunities from the off including Messi’s free kicks but both Otamendi and Tagliafico were denied a goal. Iceland countered Argentina’s efforts, with two great opportunities – the first Caballero saved and luckily for the Argentinian keeper, Bjarnason shot the second one wide after his very poor clearance. Sergio Agüero put the first score on the board nineteen minutes into the game but Caballero made another error, failing to clear a cross by Gylfi Sigurdsson which gave Iceland the equaliser. Iceland continued to frustrate Argentina with their unending commitment. Argentina had a fantastic chance to go ahead in the 64th minute when Hordur Magnusson had bundled Aguero to the floor. Messi took and missed the penalty reminding everyone of his penalty failure at the 2016 Copa America Final. Argentina appealed for another penalty when Birkir Saevarsson tripped Cristian Pavon, but their appeal was denied.
Peru v Denmark (0-1) Group C
Denmark get off to winning start in the tournament after beating Peru 1-0. Both teams went into the game with a 15-match unbeaten run so the outcome was difficult to predict pre-match. Peru started the game fast and quick with short passing with Denmark were playing catch up. Yussef Poulsen conceded a penalty for Denmark just before the half time mark but Peru’s Cueva unfortunately failed to score. Poulsen made up for his previous error by scoring the only goal in the game early into the second half.
Croatia v Nigeria (2 – 0) Group D
Croatia secured their first three points of tournament after a very convincing win over Nigeria. Croatia has a deadly combination of Real Madrid’s midfielder Luka Modric, Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic to lead their 2018 World Cup campaign. Croatia sent shockwaves through the game twenty years ago when they reached the World Cup Semi-Finals and with the calibre of talent in this tournament, they may just do it again. In Saturday’s game Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal put Croatia ahead after 32 minutes. Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong manhandled Mandzukic at a corner to give Croatia a penalty in the 71st minute. Luka Modric netted the penalty with ease. Nigeria failed to make much of an impact with just two shots on target.
Costa Rica v Serbia (0-1) Group E
Yesterday, Serbia netted their first three points of the tournament after former Man United fullback and Serbian captain Aleksandar Kolarov scored an outstanding free kick. Serbia dominated the game however they found it hard to create chances because of Costa Rica’s fantastic defence. If Costa Rica are to qualify from the group stages they will need to work on their counter attacks to put points on the board.
Germany v Mexico (0-1) Group F
Germany were left red faced after their 1 nil defeat to Mexico yesterday. This was the first game the Germans have lost in the opening round of the World Cup in thirty-six years. Mexico had Germany on the backfoot for most of the game, making nine or so breaks on the counter which only materialised into one goal scored by PSV winger Hirving Lozano. By all accounts Germany were lucky to only have conceded one, there could have been five or six. Germany will really need to up their game in their next match
Brazil v Switzerland (1-1) Group E
In another shock result, five times World Cup winners Brazil struggled yesterday against the Swiss in their opening game. Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Switzerland’s Steven Zuber scored the equalizer early in to the second half after some suspect defending. Brazil came out fighting in the closing stages as Neymar, Firmino and Miranda all went close, but the Swiss held on.
See Group Leaders to date below:
- Group A – Russia
- Group B – Iran
- Group C – France
- Group D – Croatia
- Group E – Serbia
- Group F – Mexico