We are only on match day 2 at the World Cup and we have already been blessed with 13 goals and a nail biting encounter between two European giants: Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo. The neighbors drew a spectacular 3-3, while Uruguay and Iran defeated African teams Egypt and Morocco respectively with last-gasp goals. Yesterday, as expected, hosts Russia hammered Saudi Arabia 5-0.
Ronaldo, Diego Costa impress
It took Ronaldo two minutes to make his mark at the World Cup. Dribbling on the left flank into the box, the Real Madrid forward was tripped by club teammate Nacho Fernandez and won a penalty for his team. The Portugal captain gave Nacho a cheeky smile and proceded to send David de Gea the wrong way putting his team one ahead.
20 minutes later, it was Diego Costa’s time to shine. The Atletico Madrid striker brushed off Pepe to win the ball. He then danced with four Portuguese defenders before blasting the ball past Rui Patricio. Ronaldo and Costa would each score once before and after the break respectively to make it 2-2. In the 58th minute, Nacho Fernandez took his chance at redemption and volleyed the ball magnificently in Spain’s net.
Fernando Hierro, manager since two days, thought the game won and made substitutions accordingly. Off came Diego Costa and veteran Iniesta. Ronaldo had other plans. In the dying moments of the game Ronaldo won a free kick on the edge of the box. He curled one sweet shot in DeGea’s top right corner, giving the Manchester United stopper no chance. 3-3. The End.
African teams unlucky
In the absence of Mohamed Salah, Egypt were well-organized defensively and played on the counter. Warda particularly distinguished himself against Uruguay. The 2010 semi finalists were beyond doubt the better team but Egypt had their chances too and held on impressively, only to be undone in the dying moments of the game from a set piece. Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez rose above three Egyptian defenders to score the only goal of the game and win it for the South American outfit.
Morocco suffered the same result a couple of hours later, with Aziz Bouhaddouz scoring an own goal in the 95th minute and shattering Moroccan hopes. In a group with Spain and Portugal, it was important to win this game. Even with 3 points, it will be almost impossible for Iran to qualify for the knockout round. Now, imagine Morocco’s odds.
Group A: Russia top the group with 3 points, with Uruguay in second position due to a lower goal difference. Egypt are third and Saudi Arabia fourth, with zero points.
Group B: Iran are now at the top of Group B with 3 points, with Spain and Portugal next with 1 points each. Morocco is at the bottom with no points.
Group C and D play tomorrow:
- 6:00 AM EST France vs Australia
- 9:00 AM EST Argentina vs Iceland
- 12:00 PM EST Peru v Denmark
- 3:00 PM EST Croatia v Nigeria
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