Cristiano Ronaldo was the star man for Portugal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ for the second match running, scoring the winner against Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium to eliminate the North Africans. After his hat-trick heroics against Spain in his side’s opener claimed a single point, one goal was enough to secure all three today.
Morocco played their part in an enthralling match, their vociferous fans cheering their side on for consistent waves of attack against the stern Portuguese defence. Younes Belhanda came closest for the Atlas Lions, but his header was superbly kept out by Rui Patricio.
In the end, it was a decisive header from Ronaldo that claimed the win, his strike coming after just four minutes. Portugal will come up against a familiar face in Carlos Queiroz in their final Group B fixture, while Morocco will have purely pride to play for when they face Spain.
Uruguay made sure of their place in the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ after a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in Rostov-on-Don.
With the temperatures reaching 32°C, La Celeste had good reason to conserve their energy. They took the lead after 23 minutes, when Luis Suarez sidefooted into an empty net after Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais had tried and failed to claim a corner.
After moving into pole position to qualify for the next round, the Uruguayans paced themselves, continuing to probe but without exerting themselves too much, despite the fact that a draw with Russia in their final game will leave them second in Group A.
In the lead-up to the match, Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi had urged his players to be competitive, putting the emphasis more on the right mindset than on strategy and tactics. He has reason to be satisfied despite their elimination. Though not the strongest side in the competition, the Saudis battled hard and had chances to score.
Iran and Spain rounded off Matchday 2 in Group B, with La Roja securing a deserved 1-0 win to record their first victory at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
Fernando Hierro made two changes to Spain’s starting line-up following their opening match against Portugal, as Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez respectively replaced Nacho and Koke. However, the Iberians struggled to break down a reshuffled Iranian defence that included Majid Hosseini in place of the injured Roozbeh Cheshmi. Indeed, Spain’s first clear opening did not arrive until around the half-hour mark, when David Silva went close with a sideways scissor kick, before narrowly missing the target again just before the break with a deflected shot.
The second half started brightly and Gerard Pique, earning his 100th cap for Spain, had a chance from a corner before Sergio Busquets tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area. Team Melli had a sight of goal at the other end of the pitch in the 53rd minute, but Karim Ansarifard’s shot could only brush the side netting. Spain took the lead with their next attack a minute later, the ball ricocheting into the net off Diego Costa, who registered his third goal in two matches. Iran grew more adventurous after falling behind and Vahid Amiri almost levelled matters with a header that flew just over.
Matches for Thursday
1400 Denmark vs Australia
1700 France vs Peru
2000 Argentina vs Croatia