We now know some of the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 so lets take a look at how it happened.
Match 1: Uruguay v Russia (3-0)
Some may see that Russia spent almost an hour of the game with ten men after Igor Smolnikov saw red and think that’s why the scoreline was so wide. Well, you are mistaken if you think so.
Uruguay were already 2-0 up when Smolnikov picked up his second yellow card in the 36th minute. Firstly, Luis Suarez’s clever free kick beat Akinfeev and then an own goal from Denis Cheryshev doubled Uruguays advantage.
Russia couldn’t cope with the speed and trickery of Uruguay and really were given a reality check when Edinson Cavani made it 3-0 in the 90th minute.
The result means that Uruguay finished top and Russia finished second in Group A.
Match 2: Saudi Arabia v Egypt (2-1)
Both of these nations knew that no matter the result, they would be heading home at the end of the day.
Egypt took the lead in the 22nd minute after a long ball up field found Mo Salah who exquisitely chipped the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper to break the deadlock. Salah should have scored again after he went through one-on-one but this time his chipped effort went wide.
Egypt’s goalkeeper, Essam El Hadary, became the oldest player in history to play at the FIFA World Cup and he saved Fahad Al Muwallad’s penalty just before halftime. However, he couldn’t keep out Salman Al Faraj’s penalty in the 6th minute of added time in the first half.
Saudi Arabia went on to win the game in the dying seconds thanks to Salem Al Dawsari. The result left Egypt winless in their first World Cup since 1990.
Match 3: Iran v Portugal (1-1)
Iran managed to rescue a point against Portugal but it wasn’t enough to see them qualify for the next round of the tournament.
Portugal were heavy favourites heading into the match and the European champions took the lead in 45th minute. Ricardo Quaresma beautifully curled the ball into the top left corner with the outside of his right foot on his first ever start in the World Cup.
Portugal should have sealed the win through a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty but it was well saved by the Iranian shot stopper.
Iran had a penalty of their own that was given in the final minute of added time thanks to a VAR review. Karim Ansarifard couldn’t have placed the ball any better as his penalty rocketed into the top right corner to rescue a point for his country.
Match 4: Spain v Morocco (2-2)
Spain were almost eliminated from the FIFA World Cup as they had to come from behind twice against Morocco.
Isco cancelled out Khalid Boutaib’s opener and Iago Aspas’ goal in added time sealed a draw after Youssef En-Nesyri put Morocco back in front.
The result meant that Spain finished top and Portugal finished second of Group B. That means that we know the first two games of the Round of 16, Uruguay will play Portugal and Spain will take on Russia.
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