AGONAsport World Cup Daily Recap, Day 7: Portugal, Uruguay, And Spain All 1-0 Winners
The 2018 FIFA World Cup continued with Day 7 action. Groups A and B are set to go to the final day after today’s results. Uruguay’s narrow defeat of Saudi Arabia 1-0 sets up a group finale with Russia to determine first and second in the group. The situation in Group B is even more complex. Spain and Portugal both recorded 1-0 victories, over Iran and Morocco respectively. They are the favorites to go through the group, but despite the defeat, Iran can still qualify for the Round of 16 if they can manage to defeat Portugal in the third and final match in the group.
Portugal v Morocco 1-0
An early goal by Cristiano Ronaldo paced Portugal to a 1-0 win over Morocco. The result was extremely harsh on the North African side, who were by far the superior side in this match. Morocco played some fine football throughout and will consider themselves unlucky for not having picked up something from this match.
Match Rating - 7: Morocco were truly terrific on the ball, but they lacked the cutting edge required in the final third. Portugal were poor overall though they came away with the points.
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia 1-0
An improved Saudi Arabia restored their pride, but were ultimately unable to avoid a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay. The Saudi display was a marked improvement from their opening match of the tournament, a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Russia. Luis Suarez’s volley was the difference, the Barcelona striker scoring after 23 minutes. It was another tepid display by the Uruguayans, however they and their supporters won’t care as they clinch a place in the Round of 16.
Match Rating - 5: The Saudis were much more organized defensively in this match. This led to a match of few big chances as offensively they were toothless in attack. Uruguay looked short of ideas, relying totally on Suarez and Edinson Cavani to create chances.
Iran v Spain 0-1
A fortuitous Diego Costa strike ensured Spain would walk out 1-0 winners over Iran. Carlos Quieroz’s Iran team executed a fantastic defensive game plan which held up for 54 minutes before Costa saw an attempted clearance rebound of him and go in. Iran had a couple chances to equalize, but it wasn’t to be.
Match Rating - 7: An enjoyable game to watch, especially since the result in the balance until the final whistle was blown. Spain were sharp on the ball, yet they lacked the ruthlessness needed in front of goal. Iran showed they have quality and will fancy themselves to beat Portugal in their third Group Stage match.
Former AEK, Panathinaikos, PAOK, and Greek national team manager Fernando Santos saw his Portugal side defeat Morocco 1-0 . Former Olympiacos defender Manuel da Costa played the entire match for Morocco. Another Moroccan who played for Olympiacos, Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, played the final 15 minutes.
Karim Ansarifard and Ehsan Haji Safi both started for Iran against Spain. Ansarifard had a huge chance to give his team the lead, but dragged a shot just wide from inside the box in the second half. Ansarifard played the entire 90 minutes, while Haji Safi was substituted with 20 minutes remaining.
GOAL OF THE DAY
Suarez came in for criticism for a much-maligned first leg display, but he was on target with the Saudis. His lethalness in front of goal came at the perfect time. This was a fairly straightforward tap-in, however it also showed Suarez's good movement and anticipation.
- Ronaldo scores his fourth of the tournament
- Portugal eke out key win
- Morocco with another good display, but another loss
- In his 100th cap, Suarez scores as Uruguay advance to the Round of 16
- Saudis lose, but much improved
- VAR disallows Iranian goal
- Spain finding it difficult to breakdown tight defense
LOOKING AHEAD TO TOMORROW
It’s all about Group C during the first two matches on Thursday. Denmark take on Australia in the early match, then later France and Peru lock horns. Australia and Peru will look to avoid defeats so as to not be eliminated from contention. Thursday’s late match pits Argentina against Croatia in another intriguing fixture whose result will have real bearing on Group D.