Russia 2018: Day 2

The World Cup got properly underway yesterday as we moved on from Russia’s 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia to our first full day of games. Mohamed Salah’s Egypt faced off with Luis Suarez and Uruguay, with Cristiano Ronaldo also in action.
Egypt 0 Uruguay 1

Absolute heartbreak for Mo Salah, sitting on the bench, still recovering from his shoulder injury that came at the hands of Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final.

An 89th minute winner from Jose Gimenez gave Uruguay all three points in the second game in Group A. However, neither side looked at all at the races.

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Luiz Suarez looked way off the boil, particularly in the first half. He missed what should have been a sitter for him. It even resulted in him having a word with himself and literally hitting himself in the face. It just goes to show how relentless Suarez is as a footballer.

Edison Cavani went close to putting Uruguay ahead a few times during the game. Heroics from the in-experienced Egyptian goalkeeper, Mohamed El-Shenawy put a stop to that.

Egypt fought well for the first 80 minutes of the game, but as soon as it was made evident that the Egyptian King wouldn’t be taking part in the game, everyone’s head went down and they lost all belief in themselves.

Salah watches on as his nation fail to win at a World Cup yet again

This was Uruguay’s first win in an opening game at a World Cup since 1970, and Egypt are still yet to win a game at any World Cup.

Morocco 0 Iran 1

Iran have brought to an end a seven match win-less streak at a World Cup with their last win dating back to a 2-1 win over the USA. Talking about heartbreak for Mo Salah, the heartbreak for every Moroccan on the pitch was just as bad, if not, worse. They conceded a 95th minute own-goal to fall to Iran and a loss in the opening group game of a World Cup always leaves you in an awful position going forward.

Iran’s win is the first win for an Asian representative at the World Cup since 2010. The confederation went 16 games without a win, including Saudi Arabia’s 5-0 loss to Russia on opening day.

Heartbreak for Morocco

Aziz Bouhaddouz’s 95th minute own-goal is the latest own-goal in World Cup history.

Rumoured Liverpool target, Hakim Ziyech couldn’t affect the game massively, unable to bring his Morocco side to a level good enough to beat Iran, and maybe that speaks volumes about whether he should sign for Liverpool…

Looking forward, neither of these sides are going to be massively optimistic on their chances of progressing. That all depends on the next set of group games.

Spain 3 Portugal 3

A penalty, a free-kick and a fluke finish. A hat-trick is still a hat-trick.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to keep Portugal on terms with a Spain side taken over by Fernando Hierro in the past few days.

The best players win games. Even better players save you from defeat.

Just four minutes in, Nacho Fernandez tripped Ronaldo to give the Real Madrid forward the chance to put the ball in the back of the net from 12 yards out. Portugal have never missed a normal time penalty at a World Cup.

His goal was cancelled out by a fantastic finish from Diego Costa after keeping his calm around the edge of the box extremely well. Ronaldo put Portugal back ahead with a shot straight at David De Gea. The Spanish keep pulled a Rob Green and let the ball squeeze past him with ease. Extremely uncharacteristic of the United stopper.

Diego Costa got his second of the game after a little bit of set-piece magic from David Silva. Spain had their third off an absolute screamer of a finish from Nacho, who smashed the ball home from 20 yards out.

Nacho’s goal was quite something.

Ronaldo tied the score once more in the dying minutes of the game, with his first free-kick goal in what seems like years.

Group’s C and D have full fixtures today. Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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