Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary
June 21, 2018, Day Eight
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary, Day Eight, chronicles the second games of Group C beginning with the match between Denmark and Australia which, after some good, tough, but unexciting play ended in a 1—1 draw. Denmark’s Christian Eriksen scored on a pretty shot at the 7th minute and Mile Jedinak, after a VAR review, converted a penalty in the 38th for the game’s only scores. The result placed the Europeans in the driver’s seat for qualification to the next round.
The Danes showed why they are a big and tough defensive team who are hard to beat and why with Eriksen they have the potential to pull off some more surprising results.
In the second match, Peru often outplayed France, as they had done against Denmark, but the South Americans simply could not convert, and the French had a silly goal by Kylian Mbappe at the 34th to seal the deal 1—0. The victory qualified the Europeans for the next round, eliminated Peru form the cup, and left Australia to the mercies of Denmark’s match with France with the Danes needing but a draw to advance.
The Peruvians where, together with Morocco, perhaps the best teams to be eliminated so far and they were unlucky to lose both matches by the slimmest of margins.
In the big match of the day, the Group D clash between Argentina and Croatia in Nizhnij Novgorod, we were treated to a master class of great football by a Croatian midfield that is simply the best in the tournament so far. With Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic pulling the strings there, Mario Mandzukic sacrificing his body to the Argentine defensive line maulers, and Ante Rebic doing the same while playing inspired on offense, the Europeans ran away with a 3—0 victory major upset victory that qualified them to the next round, just about eliminated Argentina, and put little Iceland in the driver’s seat for qualification. Watch Modric’s golazo here!
Unfortunately for Lionel Messi, he had another lackluster match where despite much officiating favoritism for him and his team he was yet unable to pull the Argentines up by the bootstraps to achieve a positive result. The South Americans played poorly against a Croatian team that could not be underestimated and paid the price. This will be another match in which the ridiculous GOAT comparisons between the diminutive Argentine and Cristiano Ronaldo will rear their heads to the former’s detriment. But, truth be told the Croatians were much more of a team than their opponents tonight and deserved their win despite the early mistake by Willie Caballero in Rebic’s goal.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary today chronicled the Moroccan charge that USA referee Mark Geiger had requested Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt as a souvenir at the half time of the Portugal-Morocco match. Geiger and FIFA responded forcefully condemning the allegation as baseless and yet, there are doubtless some who may think that Morocco recently losing the bid for the 2026 World Cup to the USA might make some folks feel it’s open season on any US citizen in the FIFA world. Wow! Really?
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary found that most media outlets still report that whether to use VAR is still a divisive issue despite its obvious positive contribution. It baffles the mind to think such technology should not be routinely used throughout our sport, period. What should be at issue is when it is used. There is no point in only reviewing what the ref has called if major infractions occur constantly and go unnoticed.
In today’s Argentina v Croatia match, not only should Nicholas Otamendi have received a direct red card for kicking Ratikic when he was lying on the ground, but there were a number of Argentines, Javier Mascherano and others in midfield and defense, who consistently fouled Modric in the center of the field and away from the play just to make sure he did not get involved. Those were all red card fouls by definition and VAR should have caught them.
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 46 goals actually scored in the cup (5 more have been own goals for a total of 51 tallies) 18 (39%) have been tallied by La Liga players.
On Friday, at 8:00 AM EST, in St. Petersburg, Brazil and Costa Rica meet in their second game of Group E, followed by the second game of Group F between Nigeria and Iceland in Volgograd, at 11:00 AM EST. The day closes with the closing round match in Group E between Serbia and Switzerland, in Kaliningrad at 2:00 PM EST.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions
Twenty-three games played. 61% correct calls
Right calls–(14)—Correctly called for Russia over Saudi Arabia, Uruguay over Egypt, Portugal-Spain draw, France over Australia, Denmark over Peru, Croatia over Nigeria, Sweden over South Korea, Belgium over Panama, England over Tunisia, Senegal over Poland, Portugal over Morocco, Uruguay over Saudi Arabia, Spain over Iran and France over Peru.
Wrong calls–(9)—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. Called for a Costa Rica win and Serbia won 1-0 on a wonderful 56th minute free kick goal. Called Germany over Mexico, and the CONCACAF champion simply outplayed the current champions to earn a historic 1-0 win. Called for a Brazilian win in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw between the overly fouled Neymar and the Swiss. Called for an easy Colombian win over Japan but instead the South Americans imploded for a loss. Called for Egypt over Russia but the latter cruised to a 3-1 win. Called for a Denmark win over Australia that ended in a 1-1 draw. Called for a draw in the Croatia v Argentina match that ended with a 3—0 win for the Croats.