Finally, FIFA World Cup 2018 has kicked off. The World Cup kicked off with a bang! The host country Russia promised a fantastic show and they did not fail when they finished their first match, which is the first match of the World Cup 2018 with a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.
Other countries such as Egypt and Uruguay, Morocco and Iran, Portugal and Spain, France and Australia, Argentina and Iceland, and, Croatia and Nigeria all played and tried to give the World Cup fans a splendid and exciting game as well when they clashed on day three (3) of the World Cup.
World Cup 2018 Day 1: Russia defeated Saudi Arabia
The host country Russia opened up the World Cup goal account with a 12th-minute goal from Yury Gazinsky, who scored a brilliant header. The match continued with both teams testing each other, trying to add another goal to the match. But, it was the Russians that were to be rewarded for their efforts as their second goal came in the 43rd minute through a shot from Denis Cheryshev.
The second half started off and both teams tried to add the goal tally to three. But, it was the Russian players with their tall height and physical strength that looked the better of the two teams. In the 71st minute.through a shot from Artem Dzyuba. Since this third goal, Saudi Arabia seemed to give up all hopes of winning the match as they never looked able to make a comeback.
The score remained 3-0 until a minute into stoppage time, Denis Cheryshev got his second goal in the World Cup and the 4th for Russia. This goal makes Cheryshev the first player to score for Russia more than once in a match since Oleg Salenko scored five against Cameroon in World Cup 1994. Three minutes later, Aleksandr Golovin scored a wonderful free kick for the fifth goal to give Russia a 5-0 led and a 5-0 victory.
This victory for Russia means that the host nation has never lost their opening match in any of the 21 editions of the FIFA World cup (W16 D6 L0). Russia has recorded the second highest victory ever by a host nation in their opening match at a World Cup Tournament after Italy vs the USA in 1934 (7-1).
Russia scored more than twice the amount of goals in this game than they scored in the 2014 World Cup (2).
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World Cup 2018 Day 2 results
Uruguay vs Egypt
The second game of the tournament was between Uruguay and Egypt. This match was an evenly poised one with both teams going neck and neck at it. However, Egypt played without their main star baller Mohammad Salah while Uruguay played with their main star player Luis Suarez. However, in the 89th minute, Jose Gimenez got the only goal of the match for Uruguay, which broke the hearts of the Egyptians as their hope of finishing the game with at least a point was shattered.
Gimenez’s goal was the 6th of the tournament and the first for Uruguay. The goal which came in the 89th minute is said to be Uruguay’s latest winning goal since Daniel Fonseca’s 92nd-minute winner against South Korea in June 1990.
Uruguay has won their opening game in the World Cup tournament for the first time since 1970 when they beat Israel.
Egypt is still winless in the World Cup finals, failing to win five (5) matches (D2 L3)
Morocco vs Iran
Morocco vs Iran match was a third of the tournament, and this one seemed to be ending in a draw. Unfortunately, however, Morocco found themselves 1 nil down in the 5th minute of stoppage time. This came as an own goal by the Aziz Bouhaddouz. The own goal came as Bouhaddouz attempted to clear a pass that was heading towards the goal keeper’s near post.
Morocco had never won their opening game in the World Cup tournament (D2 L3), and they also failed to win in 1970, 1986, 1994 and 1998.
The victory for Iran is their second in a World Cup tournament (D3 L8). Their first victory was when they beat the USA in June 1998. Iran did not attempt a single shot on goal in the second half and have become the second team to do so in a World Cup since 1966.
World Cup day 2 match of the day
Portugal vs Spain
This match was the best match of World Cup 2018 day 2 and, so far is the most exciting. The match produced six(6) goals with both teams getting 3 a piece. The first goal came as a result of a penalty taken by Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) in the 4th minute after he was brought down by Nacho. CR7 made no mistake when stepped up to the spot, kicked the ball, beating David de Gea to score Portugal’s first goal of the 2018 World Cup tournament.
Twenty (20) minutes later, Spain equalised with a wonderful goal by Diego Costa. Then, 20 minutes later, CR7 put Portugal back into the led just before halftime.
However, ten minutes into the second half, Diego Costa got his second goal of the tournament for Spain for the equaliser. Then three minutes later, Nacho, who had fouled CR7 in the first half, redeemed himself by scoring with a spectacular strike. This goal gave Spain the led in the match for the first time.
The Portuguese, led by CR7 then went on a campaign to break down Spain’s defence and get a third goal to equalise. However, they had to wait 30 minutes after Nacho’s goal before they got their reward. The goal came from a brilliant free-kick taken by CR7- the ball was kicked over the wall and then it dipped under the cross-bar to beat the world’s best goalkeeper David De Gea, who could do nothing to save that goal.
This was the third goal for Portugal, which is a hat-trick for CR7.
The match ended 3-3- a pleasing result for the Portuguese and a disappointing result for Spain.
World Cup day three (3)
France vs Australia
The fifth match of the world cup was a showdown between France, also known as Les Bleus and Australia, also known as the Soccereuse. The match featured star players for France such as Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Dybala and Dembele. France was able to use their prowess and, with the help of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to get a 2-1 win over Australia.
The first goal of the match came via VAR as the challenge made on Antoine Griezmann by Risdon was first ruled by the referee as ‘no foul’. But the VAR consultants gave the referee the opportunity to view a replay of the challenge and, after a few seconds, the referee awarded the Les Bleus a penalty- much to the disappointment of the Australian players and fans. Risdon was then given a yellow card for the foul.
In the 58th minute, the penalty was taken by Antoine Griezmann and, he made no mistake when putting that into the back of the net. This was the second penalty of the tournament and, the goal was Griezmann’s first World Cup goal for France.
However, about 3 or 4 minutes after Griezmann’s goal, the Soccereuse were awarded the second penalty of the match and the third of the tournament. This time, it was France’s #5 Umtiti that used his hands to touch the ball. The Australians protested and the referee awarded the penalty immediately. Then Mile Jedinak converted from the spot to give his team and fans a comeback and hope of creating an upset.
But, in the 80th minute Paul Pogba ensured France secured all three points when he got on the end of a pass and used the tip of his toes to chip the ball just under the cross-bar. When the ball hit the cross-bar it hit the ground and bounced back out into play. However, Goal Line Technology (GLT) was used to decide that it was indeed a goal, which was the winning goal for the French.
The match ended 2-1 in favour of France. This result now means France are on three points in their group with a +1 goal difference.
Iceland vs Argentina
Lionel Messi was the major attraction in this match as tens of thousands of spectators in the stadium and millions all around the world watched this match and were hoping to see him in action for Argentina in their first World Cup 2018 match. Messi disappointed his fans with the performance he displayed.
The Argentine football Maestro was given the chance to score his first goal of the World Cup 2018, but, he did not take it well and had a missed penalty. Interestingly, this was the fourth penalty of tournament and Messi became the first player to miss a penalty of the World Cup to miss a penalty.
Prior to Messi’s missed penalty, Sergio Aguero put the Argentinians ahead with a spectacular goal- turning in the 18-yard box and making a left-footed shot into the top near corner of the Iceland goal. This goal came in the 19th minute. However, 4 minutes later Iceland and Argentina were levelled on 1-1. The goal for Iceland came from a brilliant strike from Finnbogason in the 18-yard box, which was the first World Cup goal for Iceland.
The match ended 1-1- much to the delight of the Iceland players and their fans, but to the disappointment of the Argentinian players and fans.
Denmark vs Peru
The match between Peru and Denmark was a clash between two continents – Denmark for Europe and Peru for South America. This match was an intense one. It was Peru that was that was the first tea to get a real chance to score when the VAR was used to award them a Penalty. Unfortunately, Peru’s #8, Cueva kicked the ball over the cross-bar! He would later live to regret because the Danes (Denmark players) scored only one goal to gain all three points from the match.
The (first World Cup 2018) goal for Denmark came from the player wearing the #20 jersey called Yussuf Yurary Poulsen. It was Poulsen whose challenge resulted in the penalty for Peru- so this is like a redemption for him because he gave Peru a chance to score.
About a minute later, the Danish goalkeeper, Schmeichel had to make a splendid left-handed save for Denmark to deny Peru’s number 20, Flores a goal and the equaliser. Afterwards, Schmeichel prevented a header by Guero from scoring.
Later on, Peru got a close chance to score when #2 Rodrigues’ header zipped across the face of goal. But, there was no Peru player close enough to get on the end of it to tap it in.
Peru got another chance to score in the 71st minute but the Danish goal scorer, Poulsen was there to head the ball off the line. Peru’s #17 got another shot on goal in the 72nd minute but Schmeichel was there to catch the ball. Peru was on a spree of chances as they got another chance to equalise when a lovely backheel was made towards goal, but the shot just missed the near post. In the 84th minute, Peru’s Farfan saw his shot blocked by goalkeeper Schmeichel with his foot.
Eriksson almost scored Denmark’s second goal of the match but his shot was blacked by the Peru goalkeeper. After the
90 minutes, the 4th referee gave 5 minutes of stoppage time to play.
The missed penalty cost Peru the match. Schmeichel made six very good saves during the match. The Peruvians played well enough to get at least a point, but they were not successful. Denmark now joins France at the top of group C on 3 points.
Nigeria vs Croatia
I do not have much to say about this match, except that Croatia dominated the Nigerians as the Nigerians did not seem convincingly interested in the game as their players hardly seemed to create any chances. However, the Croatians got a goal via a corner, which was an own goal by Etobo, who was unfortunate because the ball was headed onto his legs and then bounced into the back of his own net.
In the second half, Croatia got a goal via a penalty taken by Real Madrid’s player Modric. The penalty came as a result of a Croatian drawn down in the penalty area.
The match ended 2-0 in Croatia’s favour.
At the end of day 3, four penalties were awarded and two were missed- one by Argentina’s Lionel Messi and the other by Peru’s Cueva. The two converted penalties were by Antoine Griezmann and the other by Modric.
A total of eight goals were scored in this match between the four matches.
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