Monday was the first day of the final round of the group stage, seeing the end of Groups A and B. Here’s what went down, and who’s advancing to the Round of 16.
Saudi Arabia 2, Egypt 1
- Saudi Arabia: Al-Faraj (PK, 45+6′), Al-Dawsari (90+5′)
- Egypt: Salah (22′)
- Saudi Arabia: None
- Egypt: Gabr (Yellow, 45+5′), Fathy (Yellow, 86′)
It was effectively a meaningless game, as both teams came in already knowing they wouldn’t be moving on to the group stage, but that didn’t stop it from being exciting. While Salah got things started for the Egyptians, Al-Faraj was able to answer with a penalty, allowing Al-Dawsari to net the game winning goal with essentially no time left to spare, letting Saudi Arabia get their first points of the tournament, and leaving the Egyptians completely empty-handed.
Uruguay 3, Russia 0
- Uruguay: Suárez (10′), Cheryshev (Own Goal, 23′), Cavani (90′)
- Russia: N/A
- Uruguay: Bentancur (Yellow, 59′)
- Russia: Gazinskiy (Yellow, 9′), Smolnikov (Yellow, 28′), Smolnikov (2nd Yellow/Red, 36′)
- Russia’s Igor Smolnikov will be suspended for their Round of 16 match after receiving a red card.
In the battle for the top of Group A, it was all Uruguay, who dominated from beginning to end. Uruguay maintained 56% of the possession, while heavily outshooting the Russians 17-3. It didn’t help that the Russians were down a man for approximately 54 minutes due to a red card near the end of the first half. Since both had already clinched a spot in the knockout round, this game was a battle for the better seed. Uruguay will face the Group B runner-up, while Russia will face the Group B winner in the next round.
Iran 1, Portugal 1
- Iran: Ansarifard (PK, 90+3′)
- Portugal: Quaresma (45′)
- Iran: Haji Safi (Yellow, 52′), Azmoun (Yellow, 54′)
- Portugal: Guerreiro (Yellow, 33′), Quaresma (Yellow, 64′), Ronaldo (Yellow, 83′), Soares (Yellow, 90+8′)
It was a crazy match with several highs and lows for each team, and ended up being one of the more chippy matches we’ve seen so far, but Iran’s late push wasn’t enough to get them a necessary victory over Portugal. Ronaldo, who has been phenomenal this tournament, didn’t play to his normal standards, missing a penalty kick and almost receiving a red card, but ending up with a yellow with a few minutes left in the game. Portugal will face the Group A winner, while Iran will head home.
Spain 2, Morocco 2
- Spain: Isco (19′), Aspas (90+1′)
- Morocco: Boutaïb (14′), En-Nesyri (81′)
- Spain: None
- Morocco: El Ahmadi (Yellow, 21′), Amrabat (Yellow, 29′), de Costa (Yellow, 31′), Boussofa (Yellow, 31′), Mohamedi (Yellow, 89′), Hakimi (Yellow, 90+4′)
A late offsides called overturned by the video assistant referee allowed Iago Aspas’ goal to count, giving Spain a much needed victory, and disallowing Morocco from playing the role of spoiler in Group B. Morocco was able to keep the game even despite having just 39% of the possession, and being outshot 16-6. Spain won Group B due to the third tiebreaker, more goals scored, and will face the Group A runner-up, while Morocco’s journey in the World Cup has ended.
Updated Standings from These Groups
- Uruguay – 9 points (GD: 5)
- Russia – 6 points (GD: 4)
- Saudi Arabia – 3 points (GD: -5)
- Egypt – 0 points (GD: -4)
- Spain – 5 points (GD: 1)
- Portugal – 5 points (GD: 1)
- Iran – 4 points (GD: 0)
- Morocco – 1 point (GD: -2)
Matches on 6/26
Denmark vs. France – Group C (10:00am Eastern)
Australia vs. Peru – Group C (10:00am Eastern)
Nigeria vs. Argentina – Group D (2:00pm Eastern)
Iceland vs. Croatia – Group D (2:00pm Eastern)