World Cup 2018: Spain top Group B, Portugal 2nd as VAR sparks fight

first_imgSpain snatched a 2-2 draw against Morocco on Monday to qualify for the World Cup last 16 and take top spot in Group B ahead of Portugal on goals scored.Morocco striker Khalid Boutaib gave the north African side a shocking lead early on but Isco restored parity, blasting high into the net after a layoff from Andres Iniesta.Morocco, already eliminated, struck again in the 81st minute when substitute Youssef En-Nesyri crashed in a header which looked set to inflict a first defeat on Spain since Euro 2016.But substitute Iago Aspas levelled in stoppage-time after consultation from the video assistant referee (VAR), putting Spain top ahead of Portugal, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran.Spain will play Russia in the last 16.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEElsewhere in the other Group B, Portugal qualified for the round of 16 at the World Cup despite being held 1-1 by Iran after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty.The European champions, needing a draw to qualify, went ahead with a stunning Ricardo Quaresma goal in the 45th minute.Ronaldo had a chance to extend the lead when he won a penalty in the 51st minute but Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand dived to his left to save his effort from the spot.Karim Ansarifard equalised with a stoppage time penalty awarded after a video review. However, Portugal clung on to finish second in the group with five points behind Spain, who drew 2-2 with Morocco, on goals scored, and will meet Uruguay in the last 16.advertisementWORLD CUP DAY 12 HIGHLIGHTSUruguay topped Group A after their 3-0 drubbing of Russia in Samara on Monday. Russia, who scored eight goals and conceded just once, looked half the side they were in their first two games. They were without their best players Aleksandr Golovin and Mario Fernandes (because of the fear of suspension) but even then, they failed to threaten the La Celeste defence even once.Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani scored a goal each and Uruguay went on to defeat Russia 3-0.MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTSSuarez, who seems to have put past World Cup controversies behind him, scored with a low shot from just outside the box that sailed past the wall of Russian players and into the right corner of the goal. Uruguay went up 2-0 over Russia on an own-goal. Russia went down to 10 men after right back Igor Smolnikov received a second yellow card in the 36th minute. Midfielder Diego Laxalt’s shot from long range deflected off Denis Cheryshev’s foot and past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.Also read – Russia did not push us around, says Uruguay coachCavani scored in the 90th minute and was taken out a short time later. The Paris Saint-Germain forward put a rebound into the left corner of the net after Diego Godin’s header was parried by Akinfeev.In the other Group A game, Saudi Arabia pulled off a last-gasp 2-1 win over Egypt to earn a consolation victory.Salah scored the 22nd minute when he raced on to Abdallah Said’s long pass and kept his cool to lob Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem.FIFA WORLD CUP: FIXTURES | POINTS TABLEEgyptian keeper Essam Elhadary also had marked his record-breaking appearance as the oldest player to play at a World Cup at 45 years of age with a spectacular penalty save, diving to his right and sticking out his left hand to shove Fahad Al-Muwallad’s strike on to the bar and away. But, Saudi got another penalty in the dying minutes of the first half and converted it this time to level the scoring at 1-1.In the second half, Saudi pushed for a winner but nothing was happening and the game was going towards a draw. However, Salem Aldawsari scored with almost the last kick of the match for the Saudis, shooting from a tight angle inside the Egypt penalty area and poking the ball past El Hadary to earn a 2-1 victory. Mo Salah signs off with a goalMohamed Salah’s 22nd minute goal against Saudi Arabia was his 50th overall for club and country included from 58 appearances since joining Liverpool in July 2017.This was his second goal in equal number of matches. Salah, who missed the first match of the World Cup through an injury, returned in the second match and scored. But, Egypt lost the match to Russia 3-1.The winger’s goal on Monday was also the first goal scored by Egypt from open play at a World Cup after 84 years. Abdulrahman Fawzi was the last person to net from open play in Egypt’s 4-2 defeat to Hungary in May 1934.advertisementHowever, the game ended 2-1 and Egypt therefore, lost all their games in this World Cup. Elhadary rewrites the history booksEgypt captain Essam Elhadary became the oldest player at the age of 45 years and 161 days to play in a World Cup. He is aged two years and 158 days older than Colombian Faryd Mondragon, who previously held the record.He sat out in the first two games of Egypt’s campaign as Mohamed El-Shenawy started ahead of the veteran. But, the captain returned for the final of their campaign to achieve the record at the Samara Arena on Monday. He is playing in a World Cup 22 years after making his senior debut for Egypt.READ FULL STORY HERENot only that, the Egyptian, who was born on January 15th, 1973, is 25 years and 339 days older than the youngest player to play in the World Cup. Kylian Mbappe, born on December 20, 1998 is the youngest player in this year’s World Cup.Interestingly Ramadan Sobhi, who recently came on as a substitute for Egypt in the match, had not yet been born when his Elhadary made his Egypt debut back in 1996.Before Elhadary, Mondragon was the oldest to take the field at the age of 43 years and 3 days when his team took on Japan in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Cameroon’s Roger Milla (42 years, 1 month and 8 days), Northern Ireland’s Pat Jennings (41 years), England’s Peter Shilton (40 years, 9 months and 19 days) and Italy’s Dino Zoff (40 years, 4 months and 13 days) are the other four in the top five list.And, he left a mark on this match as well. He saved a penalty in the 41st minute of the match. Saudi’s Fahad hit the ball to the right but the 45-year-old dived towards his right and put a strong hand and pushed the ball to the cross-bar to save the penalty.He became the fourth goalkeeper to save a penalty on his World Cup debut. Iceland’s Hannes Halldorsson (vs Argentina in 2018), USA’s Tony Meola (vs Czechoslovakia in 1990) and Peru’s Quiroga (vs Scotland in 1978) were the other three. Uruguay’s ‘clean’ sail through the group, Russia’s worst World Cup defeatAfter hammering in eight goals from their first two matches, the Russians were given a reality check on Monday in Samara.Playing with 10 for majority of the match, they suffered to keep up with the Uruguyans and ended up losing their match 3-0 and finish second in Group A.This was Russia’s biggest margin of loss in a World Cup. This is also the first time since 1982 that a host nation (European) has failed to progress from their group as the leaders. The last time it happened was in 1982 in Spain.Luis Suarez grabbed his second goal of the tournament to open Uruguay’s account with a free kick after 10 minutes and they doubled the lead with an own goal from Russia’s Denis Cheryshev soon after. Edinson Cavani bundled home a third goal for Uruguay at the death to wrap up their third straight victory.advertisementUruguay won all their games in the group stages and that too without conceding a goal. They became the first team in 20 years to do so. The last team to achieve this feat was Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. Spain first draw in last group game since 1982Spain’s draw meant they failed to win their final World Cup group stage match for the first time since they hosted the tournament back in 1982, when they lost 1-0 to Northern Ireland. Spain also finished a World Cup group stage unbeaten for the first time since 2006, having lost at least once in each of the last two editions of the competition.Spain also conceded 12 goals in their last six World Cup matches, which is as many as they had in their previous 18 combined.David de Gea, who is often called one of the best among his peers, finally managed to save the fifth shot on target he faced at this year’s 2018 World Cup. He had conceded from each of the first four he faced.Isco scored in the 19th minute of the game to make it even for Spain. He has scored 11 goals in 31 games for Spain, with 10 of them coming in his last 15 caps for his country.Morocco scored scored two or more goals in a World Cup game for the fourth time in their history, with the three previous occasion being in 1986 (three against Portugal), 1998 (two against Norway), 1998 (three against Scotland) Portugal progress from group stage for only fourth timePortugal qualified from the group in a World Cup for the fourth time in their history, having previously progressed in 1966, 2006 and 2010.Iran and Portugal had met only once in the World Cup before, which was back in 2006. Portugal had won 2-0 on that occasion with goals from Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo had scored his first ever goal in the tournament.Morocco had four players booked in the first 31 minutes against Spain, which is more than any other side up until now in the first half of a game at this year’s World Cup. It was also the most since 1966, it was also Morocco then who had accumulated five yellow cards before half time against The Netherlands in th2 1994 edition.Ricardo Quaresma scored just on the stroke, his first ever World Cup goal and that too with his first shot on target in his first start at the tournament. With the goal he became the oldest player to score on his first World Cup start (at 34 years, 272 days) since Yahya Golmohammadi had netted for Iran against Mexico in 2006 (at 35 years, 84 days). Most penalties in a single World CupA new record was set at the 2018 World Cup with 19 penalties having been awarded, which jumps the existing one of 18 penalties set at 1990, 1998 and 2002 editions.Ronaldo was brought down in the penalty box with and after the referee took help of the VAR pointed to the spot.The Portuguese captain stepped up in the 53rd minute, but joined the unenviable list of player who have missed a penalty at this year’s World Cup.The list:Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson missed against NigeriaPeru’s Christian Cueva missed against DenmarkArgentina’s Lionel Messi missed against IcelandSaudi Arabia’s Fahad Al-Muwallad missed against EgyptIncidentally, Alireza Beiranvand became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty, excluding shootouts, from a Portuguese player in the World Cup’s history. Late VAR dramaAfter a penalty was awarded using Video Assistant Referee, which Ronaldo missed, VAR returned to change the results of both the Group B matches.Late drama was in store at the Kaliningrad Arena as Iago Aspas scored with a clever flick in the injury time. He had started to celebrate but it was cut short by the assistant referee’s flag. VAR stepped in and the goal stood as Spain managed to hold and top their group. Aspas has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight games for Spain.The VAR penalty in the Iran-Portugal game was more contentious as the referee had missed a handball from Cedric. But replays showed the ball hitting the arm while jumping to head the ball. Karim Ansarifard stepped up and converted his spot kick, but failed to take his team through to the next round. Ronaldo escapes with just a yellowVAR was also called into action to consult whether an incident between Cristiano Ronaldo and Morteza Pouraliganji warranted a red card, it was decided that a yellow was the appropriate decision. Ronaldo had elbowed the Iranian, but many in the stadium and otherwise called for much stricter punishment.last_img read more

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