June 25, 2018, Day Twelve
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary, Day Twelve, chronicled the deciding match of Group A in Samara, between Russia and Uruguay and the South Americans left no doubt about the gap between the teams with a 3—0 win.
At the same time in Volgograd, Egypt and Saudi Arabia bowed out with their consolation match. The Saudi’s won 2—1 with both of their scores in added time 45+6 and 90+5 after Mohammed Salah had pulled Egypt ahead at the 22nd minute. This is the only tournament in recent memory with so many added minutes per half and per game. Those added minutes have for the most part changed the outcome of the respective matches and not always in a fair manner.
Later in the day in Saransk, in Group B, Iran and Portugal meet with the winner advancing. A very rough and tough match ensued and it took a brilliant outside of the foot, right-to-left curler from Ricardo Quaresma, from just outside the box for the opening score at the 45th minute. The score stood until a penalty against Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded and the Portuguese turned human shooting low and to the right of goal where waiting with outstretched hands was Alireza Beiranvand for the save at the 53rd minute.
In a VAR-interrupted match, which nevertheless seemed to get all of the calls right, a last gasp penalty was awarded to Iran for a hand ball in the box and converted at the…you guessed it, 90+3 minute mark for the eventual 1—1 draw.
Concurrently at Kaliningrad, Spain and Morocco met with Spain needing a win to outright win their group but multiple other scenarios would work too. As it turned out the match was Morocco’s best performance at the cup and earned them a 2—2 draw. Morocco opened the scoring at the 14th via a miscommunication between Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos that saw Khalid Boutaib score. Isco got one back at the 19th only to have Boutaib’s replacement, Yourssef E-Nesyri pull Morocco ahead at the 81st. The score line held until the…you guessed it, the 90+1 when Iago Aspas drew Spain even and won them the top slot in the group.
The results mean that Uruguay will play Portugal on June 30th in Sochi while Spain and Russia meet July 1 in Moscow.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary found that Iran’s fans were allowed to camp outside Cristiano Ronaldo’s hotel room and make a ruckus into the wee hours of the morning on the night before the Iran-Portugal match.
With VAR being so poorly used in its inaugural World Cup Papa will keep track of the manner in which infractions and unsportsmanlike acts decide games throughout the cup. In this group stage we have already had the Mexico-South Korea slug fest, the Switzerland-Brazil foul-Neymar fest, the Germany-Sweden let’s-save-the-champions fest, the Morocco-Iran let’s-knock-out-the-best-Moroccan-player fest, the Ronaldo-baiting-Iranian fest, and the overly rough play allowed by most refs in most games so far.
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 91 goals actually scored in the cup (6 more have been own goals for a total of 97 tallies) 29% (26) have been converted by La Liga players while 25% (23) have been scored by Premiership stars. The remaining 46% have been scored by all other leagues combined.
On Tuesday at 10:00 AM EST, in Moscow, France and Denmark meet in the co-final game of Group C with the former qualified and the latter needing but a draw to do so. In Sochi, Australia and Peru play with the former having a chance to move on if Denmark lose to France and the Peruvians eliminated since the last round of games. In Group D tussles, Nigeria and Argentina meet At 2:00 PM EST, in St. Petersburg, with the former needing a draw and the latter a win to move on. At the same time, Iceland and Croatia meet in Rostov with the latter already qualified and the former needing a large win over Croatia.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions
Thirty-six games played. 63% correct calls
Right calls–(22)—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, France over Peru, Brazil over Costa Rica, Belgium over Tunisia, Mexico over South Korea, Germany over Sweden, England over Panama, Senegal over Japan, Colombia over Poland, and Uruguay over Russia.
Papa made an “push (no call)” on the Iceland-Nigeria game, but called it for Iceland after the cup began, so this prediction is not credited as right or wrong (1).
Wrong calls–(13)—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. Called for a Serbia-Switzerland draw which instead ended in a 2—1 Swiss win. Called an Egypt-Saudi Arabia draw that ended a 2-1 win for the Saudis. Called for Spain over Morocco and Portugal over Iran and both games ended as draws.