World Cup Report: Iran inches away from eliminating Portugal

Jun 25 2018, 7:22 pm

Ok, that was fun.

It doesn’t get much better than simultaneous drama involving world powers, dangerously close to being ousted from the World Cup by plucky underdogs.

That’s what happened on Monday at the World Cup.

Inches away for Iran

The task was simple for Iran on Monday.

Beat Portugal, and they would advance past the group stage at the World Cup for the first time ever.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but boy did Iran come close to winning it.

Ricardo Quaresma gave Portugal a 1-0 lead, after a gorgeous strike with the outside of his foot from outside the box.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance to put the match out of reach early in the second half, when VAR awarded Portugal a penalty.

Ali Beiranvand answered Iranian prayers, stopping Ronaldo to keep his team in the match.

VAR, and Ronaldo, nearly reared its ugly head later on. A video review was required for a potential red card, after Ronaldo struck his opponent in the head with his arm. After some nervous moments, the decision was made to just give Ronaldo a yellow.

Sick of VAR yet? Yet another controversial decision was made to give Iran a penalty in stoppage time, with Karim Ansarifard converting.

Time was running out for Iran’s miracle finish, but not before Mehdi Taremi had a glorious chance to send his country to the knockout round. He hit the side of the net.

Heartbreaking, to say the least.

Morocco nearly plays spoiler against Spain

Morocco was already eliminated from the knockout stage, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them play Spain. We were minutes away from witnessing a stunning upset, in an entertaining match the ended in a 2-2 draw.

A loss to Morocco could have eliminated Spain, so there were plenty of nervous moments when the Moroccans took not one, but two leads in this match.

Here are the goals that led to a 2-1 score late in the match:

Spain needed a goal in stoppage time, with the help of VAR, to earn the draw. This gorgeous back heel by Iago Aspas was initially called offside. Video review overturned the call, giving Spain goal and levelling the match.

Uruguay wins Group A

Up against the hosts from Russia, Uruguay delivered an emphatic 3-0 win to win Group A.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a free kick goal, while a lucky bounce off a Russian defender made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute. From there, it was cruise control for the South Americans, who added a third goal in second half stoppage time.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt play for pride

There was nothing left to play for, except pride, in the final match of the tournament for Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Mo Salah, Egypt’s star striker, scored first:

Everything seemed to be going right for Egypt after Essam El-Hadary, their 45-year-old goalkeeper, stopped a penalty in the 41st minute.

But Saudi Arabia didn’t give up. They earned another penalty before half time and this time Salman Al-Faraj made no mistake.

The match remained even until the fifth minute of injury time in the second half, when Salem Al-Dawsari finished off a gorgeous passing play to give his country a meaningful win.

We now know the first two matches of the knockout round, as Group A winner Uruguay will play Portugal. Spain, who won Group B, will face Russia.

Tuesday’s games

There’s lots to play for on Tuesday, as Australia, Denmark, Nigeria, Iceland, and Argentina try to qualify for the knockout round, while France and Croatia look to secure top spot in their respective groups.

  • Australia vs Peru (7 am PT /10 am ET)
  • Denmark vs France (7 am PT /10 am ET)
  • Nigeria vs Argentina (11 am PT /2 pm ET)
  • Iceland vs Croatia (11 am PT /2 pm ET)
See also
Rob WilliamsRob Williams

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