June 16, 2018, Day Three
In Group C France took on Australia in Kazan and was fortunate to win 2-1 as the Aussies were up to the task of keeping the French honest. Two penalties, one a piece, and a fluky Paul Pogba goal, settled the match.
In Group D, Argentina took on Iceland in Moscow and “Our Boys” played their classic tough game to a heart-pounding, tense 1-1 draw, capped by goalkeeper Hannes por Halldorsson’s save of a Lionel Messi penalty. The Icelandic keeper had a handful of spectacular, last gasp saves and the European team kept Argentina mostly at bay, blocking countless shots and pressing the better team into ineffectual play.
As if bowing to the wishes of the GOAT debaters the game concluded with a Messi free kick attempt which he slammed into the wall seconds before the ref blew his whistle.
Bath in Group C, Peru took on Denmark in Saransk and the game proved a tight match with the South Americans the better side but with Denmark hanging tough. Yet it was Peru who squandered a penalty opportunity as Christian Cuevas skied his shot well over the crossbar. Meanwhile on a picture-perfect counter Yussuf Poulsen scored the decider at the 59th minute. With the 1-0 win the Danes took second place in their group.
Croatia met Nigeria in Kaliningrad knowing a win would put them atop their group. Luka Modric seized the reigns of this one providing the corner kick that found a Mario Mandzukic diving header deflect off Nigerian midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo for an unfortunate own goal. Then, Croatian striker and midfielder combined again for the second goal as Mandzukic was tackled to the ground on a corner kick play and Modric perfectly converted the ensuing penalty for the 2-0 win.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary today chronicled the World Cup’s first VAR awarded penalty took place today as Uruguayan referee, Andres Cunha, was advised by his video assistants that Australian defender Josh Rishdon had indeed tripped French striker Antoine Griezmann in the box, despite the ref’s original no-call. The slow-motion replay review indeed showed that although the defender originally made contact with the ball, Rishson’s dragging foot did subsequently catch the Frenchman who was still moving forward with a chance to straighten up and go for a one-on-one with the Australian goalkeeper Ryan.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick and 88th minute tying free kick goal are still in our freshest of memories this morning when we wake up to media stories wondering what Lionel Messi’s “response” will be to his perennial Ballon d’Or rival. Frankly, by day’s end we figured there probably was none, since Messi was too professional to be thinking about that issue and was probably instead focused on dragging his team into the next round. But the fact that he also had both an early penalty to put his team up, which he missed, and a late free-kick to earn the draw, which he also fluffed, did not do other than add fuel to that fire.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary will continue to keep tabs on the tournament’s scorers to see if the initial goal scoring tendency continues, as so far, of the 20 goals scored in the cup 11 have been by La Liga players.
In Group E, at 8:00 AM EST, in Samara, Costa Rica and Serbia open up the fourth day of cup play followed by Germany v Mexico at 11:00 AM EST in Moscow, in a clash of the top teams in Group F, and end with Brazil’s opening match against Switzerland at 2:00 PM EST in Rostov to close out the first two matches of their group.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions
Eight games played.
Right calls–(6)—Called for Russia over Saudi Arabia, Uruguay over Egypt, Portugal-Spain draw, France over Australia, Denmark over Peru, and Croatia over Nigeria.
Wrong calls–(2)—Called for a Morocco-Iran draw which ended with a 1-0 win for Iran off a Moroccan own goal at the 90+5 minute mark. Called for an Argentina win over Iceland which ended in a draw after Lionel Messi had a penalty saved.