The seventh day of the FIFA World Cup 2018 started with three matches that, their results, could help to decide which teams will advance to the round of 16. The first match of the day was between Portugal and Morocco, the second Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia and, the last match was Spain vs Iran.
Each match ended in 1 nil victories, with only one of the victories ensured a spot in the second round.
FIFA World Cup matchday 7: Portugal vs Morocco
Portugal started this match coming off the highest-scoring draw of the World Cup so far with Spain- 3-3. They knew that a victory in this match for them is necessary for them to ensure qualification into the second round. This may be Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup before he retires, even though he is 33 and could continue to play for the next four or five if he finds himself fit enough.
The Portugal players (Portuguese) started in full white and, the Morocco players (Moroccans played in red top and green shorts. The game started in full swing and it was the Portuguese that started to show the most flare. It took Cristiano Ronaldo, also called Ronaldo or CR7 by his fans, the greatest goal scorer in Europe, just four (4) minutes to open the scoring for Portugal to send the Portuguese fans in the stadium jumping and cheering on their feet.
Before World Cup 2018 CR7 had 70 shots on goal and scored only three (3) goals, and this was between World Cups 2006, 2010 and 2014. But, since the start of this tournament, he had 5 shots on goal and 4 goals. Now that’s a major improvement. He now has the most shots in the World Cup so far and is at the top of the golden boot awards (an award given to the top goal scorer in a tournament)
Portugal’s #8, Moutinho made a swinging cross into the penalty area towards CR7 for him to make a diving header- scoring his fourth goal of World Cup 2018. Ronaldo is a one-man sensation, but he does so very well! CR7 now has the fastest two goals of World Cup 2018- he also scored in the fourth minute in their opening match against Spain. In the ninth (9th) minute, CR7 got another chance to make it 2-0 for Portugal but he was off balance and his shot went off target.
A Moroccan attacker got a chance to equalise in the 11th minute but saw his header caught by the Portugal goalkeeper. Afterwards, Portugal got a chance to go 2-0, again, after CR7 made a very good cross to his team-mate, #17 for Portugal, whose half-volley shot was blocked by the goalkeeper stretching out his left arm.
The first half ended at 1 nil in Portugal’s favour but, I must say that the Moroccans looked likely to score as they were playing well. However, the second half started with the Moroccans playing better than in the first half. In the 57th minute, Rui Patricio had to make a quick dive to make a great save to prevent Morocco from getting an equaliser. Afterwards, Morocco’s player wearing the #5 jersey, Benatia had a chance to bring his team back in the game but saw his shot going over the crossbar.
In the 78th minute Benatia, again, almost scored for Morocco off a header, but it went wide.
Despite Portugal’s 1-0 lead, they seemed to barely contribute to the second half in terms of scoring chances. It was Morocco that was dominating the second half. The player wearing the #7 jersey for Morocco saw his shot on target blocked by a Portuguese defender for a corner. In the 92nd minute, Benatia almost scored saw his shot inside the six-yard box flying over the cross-bar.
The match ended 1-0 in favour of Portugal. This result caused Morocco to be the first team to be eliminated out of World Cup 2018. However, at the end of the game, it would be fair to say that Morocco played much better than Portugal-but, they did not take the many chances they got, and they paid dearly.
Morocco played very well against Iran in the first group match and should have won. It was unfortunate, however, that they conceded an own goal in the 95th minute.
Matchday 7: Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
This match was Luis Suarez’s 100th match or 100th cap for Uruguay. In this group A match, both teams wanted a victory to increase their chances of qualifying for the second round. The host nation, Russia had sealed their place in the second round the day before with a 3-1 victory over Egypt who was the likely favourites to win that match. Uruguay and Saudi Arabia now knew that a win would be very important for them in this match. Saudi Arabia needed the win the most as they needed the three points and hopefully beat or draw with Egypt to go to the second round. However, the Egyptians progress to the second round depends on Saudi Arabia to win this match to give them a little more hope of qualifying- if they beat Saudi Arabia when they play.
But, Luis Suarez and his teammates knew what they had at risk and had in the back of their minds to win the match. Luis Suarez (Suarez) opened the scoring for Uruguay in the 22nd minute. The goal came after a corner cross into the penalty box was missed by the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper, and fell to Suarez, which allowed Suarez to tap the ball into the back of the net. Suarez is now the first Uruguay player to score in three World Cup finals.
However, the Saudi Arabians tried hard to get an equaliser but their attempts were futile, and their hard fight did not pay off in time as the match ended 1-0 in Uruguay’s favour. Sad to say, Saudi Arabia, after a hard fight has crashed out of World Cup 2018- becoming the second team to do so and, with their crashing, they took Egypt with them because the Egyptians were hoping that Saudi Arabia won the match.
The Saudi Arabian players played with a lot of pride. The Uruguay players had to labour long and hard to eventually come away with the win. At the end of the match, Saudi Arabia had 53% ball possession and Uruguay 47%. But possession does not win matches, goals do, and that’s where Saudi Arabia players were lacking.
So, after this match, Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as Morocco, have been eliminated out of World Cup 2018.
There are now 29 teams left in contention to qualify for round two of the tournament. Russia and Uruguay are the 1st two teams to confirm their round two qualifications.
Spain vs Iran: is this world cup match of the day?
Spain started this match against Iran coming from a 3-3 draw with European rivals Portugal, which means they were on 1 point. However, Iran came into the match on 3 points after defeating Morocco 1-0 due to a 95th-minute own goal.
Spain had their 1st shot on target in the 25th minute from a free kick taken by David Silva. But, the Iranian goalkeeper was perfectly positioned to catch the ball. Iniesta got a chance to open the scoring for Spain just outside the six-yard box. Iniesta got a chance to score in the 42nd minute, but he was blocked out by at least 5 Iranian players.
In the 49th minute, Spain came very close to scoring, but the goalkeeper denied the Spaniard attack twice. In the 54th minute, Spain got their 1st goal of the match and their 4th of the tournament of World Cup 2018. This goal was scored by Diego Costa, which is his 3rd of the tournament.
In the 62nd minute, Iran got a goal but it was later ruled out for offside. The goal was ruled out due to Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decision. This is the 1st time in World Cup that VAR is spoiling a goal or ruling out a goal.
Spain got a lovely chance to go to 2-0 up but, thanks to two Iranians laying down on the line and the goalkeeper, Pique (a Spanish defender) was denied the goal scoring opportunity. The goalkeeper eventually held onto the ball. Just after 78 minutes, Amiri got the first yellow card of the match, he protested to the referee that it was his first offence. But the referee ignored him.
In the 82nd minute, Iran got the chance to equalise with a thumping header but it was too high. The match ended 1-0 in Spain’s favour. This is the ninth (9th) 1-0 victory of World Cup 2018 so far. Spain and Portugal are now on 4 points each in their group.
Which teams will advance to the second round?
In group A, Russia and Uruguay have advanced to the second round- Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not eligible to qualify. But, in group B, no team has definitely confirmed their place in round 2. However, I believe that Portugal and Spain will advance from this group.
Portugal, Spain and Uruguay all won their matches today and the common thing with all these victories is that they were 1-0 victories. The goal for each team was scored by their main striker/star player- Luis Suarez scored for Uruguay, Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Portugal, Diego Costa scored for Spain. So far, all of Portugal’s goals in World Cup 2018 are from CR7.
At the end of the day, only 3 goals were scored.
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