Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia Logo
FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia Logo

July 1, 2018, Day Eighteen

Games

In today’s opening match, Spain played Russia and the former champions played as poorly as they have ever played while the hosts played all-out defense and looked for the counter. The lackluster game ended 1—1 and in Extra Time, neither team did anything differently which kept the tie. So the first penalty shootout of the cup took place.

Igor Akinfeev, the Russian goalkeeper saved a poor kick from Koke and then came the save that will live in World Cup lore. Iago Aspas sent Akinfeev the wrong way, to his right, and kicked high and down the middle. Only the keeper stretched his leg out and saved the shot, deflecting it high and wide right. The Russians all scored their penalties and the Spaniards missed two. Russia won and deserved the win.

Croatia and Denmark played the second match and in a repeat of the first game they ended up in penalties after extra time. The Danes were playing for this to happen while the Croats did not find a way of making their superior technical abilities weigh in. In the end, Luka Modric had a chance to win in regulation time but kicked poorly and Kasper Schmeichel saved easily. In the shootout as many penalties were saved as made but in the end Modric made his and Ivan Rakitic won the contest for Croatia with the fifth and final penalty.

The match was uninspired as the Croats seemed lethargic while the Danes were able to dictate play and kept the ball in the air most of the contest. The two goals, both scored in the first four minutes of the game, were dumb. The Denmark score was a dribbler off the keeper’s leg after the ball had hit at least one player from each side on the way in. The Croatia goal came when a Danish clearance in the box bounced off the face of a defender and onto the feet of Mario Mandzukic who managed to half-volley it in from very close range. The rest of the match was forgettable until the final minute of regulation and the penalty shootout.

By day’s end the Croats and Russians earned their way into the quarter finals on penalties after extra time.

Events

Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary today chronicled the fact that Andres Iniesta retired from Spain’s National Team following their loss as did Javier Mascherano from Argentina’s team after their elimination. Russian goalkeeper Akinfeev admitted his side were lucky in their match. Spain’s interim coach Hierro claimed to have no regrets about his team’s off-field drama in the cup.

News 

Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary found that Marcelo will be out of Brazil’s line up against Mexico tomorrow while Juan Carlos Osorio, Mexico’s coach vowed his team would play offensively against the favored Brazilians.

Fouls

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. Today the officiating was ok in the Spain-Russia match and kudos to Bjorn Kuipers for not missing Gerard Pique’s hand ball in the box that led to Russia’s penalty. Similarly, the penalty called for Croatia was spot on as was most of the officiating from Nestor Pitana.

Goals

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 126 goals actually scored in the cup (9 more have been own goals for a total of 136 tallies) 24% (32) have been converted by La Liga players while 20% (25) have been scored by Premiership stars. The remaining 56% have been scored by all other leagues combined.

Coming Up

On Monday, Brazil plays Mexico and Belgium plays Japan.

Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions

Fifty-two games played.                                             59% correct calls

Right calls–(30)—Correctly called 28 group stage matches and two of four Round of 16 matches.

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–(19)—Incorrectly called 17 group stage matches and two Round of 16 match.

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