The World Cup is well underway now as we head into the end of the second week. And with another 4 games played, the knock-out stages are approaching.
Match 1: Denmark Vs. France (0-0)
The first goalless draw of the tournament. It had to happen at some point and the honour fell to France and Denmark. In the end, it was all that was required to make sure France topped the group and Denmark grabbed the second spot.
As expected France fielded a much-changed side as they had already guaranteed qualification. Denmark also played for a point as they played with most of their men behind the ball. It was a game that lacked any flair or imagination, with few chances and very little creativity. The news of Peru’s lead at halftime certainly did not help things. Denmark knew if the results stayed as they were, they would be safely through.
It took a whole 39 minutes before we saw a shot on target inside the Luzhniki stadium. Griezmann was the man to do so with a tame effort on the turn which was comfortable for Schmeichel in net. Meanwhile, Eriksen had Denmark’s best chances after he was just beaten to a low cross by Steve Mandanda in goal. it was the same man who denied Eriksen again, this time as he spilt the Tottenham man’s freekick.
Match 2: Australia Vs. Peru (0-2)
The Aussies went into the game knowing if they grabbed a win and France beat the Danes then they’d have a chance of going through. However, that wasn’t to be the case as a Peru side who were unlucky to be on 0 points, came out and showed what they can do.
The Socceroos struggled to create clear-cut chances after Andre Carillo’s superb low struck volley from 15 yards. The South Americans were just as good at the other end as Leckie was denied the equaliser by some good defending. The game was sealed by Guerrero as he spun and sent a shot flying into the far corner. A third looked to be on the cards when Cueva hit the post at the death, as the Peruvians saw their first world cup finals win in 40 years.
The result means that Group C looks like this:
Team P GD Points
1 France 3 2 7
2 Denmark 3 1 5
3 Peru 3 0 3
4 Australia 3 -3 1
Match 3: Nigeria Vs Argentina (1-2)
Messi bags his first goal of the tournament as Argentina scrape through the group. Argentina left it late to see themselves through the group in second place as they beat an unlucky Nigerian side to the Knockouts.
Messi scored an excellent goal just 14 minutes in as Argentina looked to save themselves from an embarrassing exit. However, they were poor again in the second half as Nigeria got back on terms through a Moses spot kick.
Man united’s Marcos Rojo was the man to seal it for Sampaoli’s side as he struck a sweet volley 4 minutes from time. They will face France in their next game, which will be played on Saturday.
Match 4: Iceland Vs. Croatia (1-2)
The final game of the day (the other 7 pm kick-off) saw group topping Croatia face off against the Icemen.
Iceland still had hopes of making it out of the groups but knew they had to beat high flying Croatia. Their hopes of doing so began to fade as they missed some key first-half chances. Croatia however, capitalised after the break as Badelj fired home the first.
A Gylfi Sigurdsson spot kick gave game chasers Iceland hope after Sverrir Ingason hit the bar moments before. With the score in the other game at 2-1 Iceland knew a win would see them through. It wasn’t to be though as their attacks became fewer and fewer. Croatia were taking more and more control before Perisic fired home in injury time to send the Icemen packing.
The result means that Group D looks like this:
Team P GD Points
1 Croatia 3 6 9
2 Argentina 3 -2 4
3 Nigeria 3 -1 3
4 Iceland 3 -3 1
Read more posts by Will Dent