Coverage of Group A matches during the 2018
World Cup Finals in Russia between
Saudi Arabia and
Host Cities - Visit Russia.
Group A Games
Thursday, 14th June
in Moscow Luzhniki
Russia kicked off the 2018 World Cup Finals, against
Saudi Arabia, as the lowest ranked team in the tournament.
In the twelfth minute, Yuri Gazinsky headed the hosts in front.
Ten minutes later, Alan Dzagoev pulled up with a
strained hamstring and was replaced by Denis Cheryshev.
Two minutes before the break, Russia doubled their lead through
substitute Denis Cheryshev; a wonderful left foot strike from just
inside the penalty area.
Half-Time: Russia 2 - Saudi Arabia 0
Another substitute, another header and another goal; as Artem Dzyuba
made it three for Russia, with twenty minutes left on the clock.
Denis Cheryshev doubled his tally as the time added on ticked down.
Then just to cap it all off, a fine free-kick from Aleksandr Golovin,
just before the final whistle, made it a high five on day one.
A comfortable win for the hosts to get the ball
rolling but Saudi Arabia weren't really much of a test.
Friday, 15th June
The second game of the 2018 World Cup Finals didn't
start too well, with both teams almost waiting for the first-half to end
and praying for an inspiring team talk in the changing room.
Luis Suarez scuffed a shot at the side-netting, but
that was about it.
The fans whistled their
disappointment towards the pitch but the
players didn't even lift their heads.
Half-time: Egypt 0 - Uruguay 0
Cavani and Suarez combined better right after the
break, only for swifty Suarez to be denied by the Egyptian goalkeeper's
Egypt's rookie goalkeeper, Mohamed El Shenawy, made
another couple of crucial saves - robbing the ball from the feet of
Suarez and flying to his left to keep out a Cavani scorcher - to keep
Egypt in the game.
Then, two minutes from time, Cavani's free-kick, hit
the post as Uruguay looked to break the deadlock.
Uruguay ended on a strong note. From a
free-kick out on the right wing, the ball is floated into the Eygptian
penalty area and Jose Maria Gimenez rises above the defenders to head
the ball past a stranded El Shenawy.
An important goal for Uruguay, as they try to keep
pace with the five-goal hosts.
Tuesday, 19th June
in St Petersburg
An open first-half that
neither side could take advantage of.
A flash or two from Mo
Salah for Egypt, and some lively movement
down the Russian left from the hosts. But no
Russia 0 -
An Ahmed Fathy own goal, two minutes after
the break got Russia off and running.
Twelve minutes later, Denis Cheryshev scored his third goal of the
tournament to put Russia firmly in the driving seat.
Artem Dzyuba made it three with his second of the tournament, just three
minutes later as Russia looked like heading for their second victory and
a place in the Second Round.
Mohamed Salah pulled one back for Egypt, from the penalty spot, with
seventeen minutes left to go.
Russia virtually guaranteed their place in the
Second Round after winning their second game on home
Wednesday, 20th June
Uruguay had to wait twenty minutes for their first corner.
A couple of minutes later Uruguay had another
corner. With the Saudi defence in a mess, the ball floated over
everyone's head for Luis Suarez to tap in at the back; his 52nd
international goal in 100 appearances.
Otherwise the Saudi goalkeeper had little to
do in the first-half.
Uruguay 1 -
Saudi Arabia 0
Not the most exciting of matches, with
Uruguay doing just enough and Saudi Arabia
Uruguay join Russia n the Second Round.
Monday, 25th June
Luis Suarez scored his second of the
tournament from a direct free-kick, inside ten minutes.
Denis Cheryshev almost equalised at the other end.
From a corner, in the 23rd minute, Uruguay
scored their second; thanks to a wicked deflection off Cheryshev. Diego
Laxalt would like to claim it though.
Ten minutes from the break Russia were reduced to ten men when Igor
Smolnikov earned a second yellow card for a foul on Diego Laxalt.
Uruguay 2 -
Edinson Cavani scrambled scrambled in
Uruguay's third just before the final whistle.
The home side can be thankful they had a couple of easy openers in the
group. Russia will probably be hoping that Iran can beat Portugal and
Spain draw with Morocco.
Saudi Arabia vs
Egypt took the lead through Mo Salah, but Al Faraj equalised from the
spot, just before the break, and Salem Al Dawsari scored for Saudi Arabia
before the final whistle; to win
the Arabic exhibition match in stoppage time.
Saturday, 30th June
Uruguay vs Portugal
The game started brightly and within seven
minutes Uruguay were in front; a crossfield
pass cross from Edinson Cavani to Luis
Suarez , who crossed it back from the left
to connect beautifully with Edinson Cavani's
Then Rui Patricio had to get down well to
keep out a Suarez free-kick that flew
through the wall in the 22nd minute.
The Uruguay defence held solid for the rest
of the half.
Half-time: Uruguay 1 - Portugal 0
It took a while coming, but from a short
corner on the left the ball was whipped in
by Raphael Guerreiro. Pepe was allowed a
clean run into the area and powered the
header past Fernando Muslera, while all eyes
were still on Ronaldo.
Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay the lead again,
just after the hour mark,wrapping his foot
beautifully around the ball to curl it past
Twenty minutes from time, Ronaldo helped
Cavani from the pitch as the double
goalscorer struggled to limp.
Portugal continued to search for an
equaliser but Uruguay held out; Luis Suarez
even looking to set up Cristian Rodriguez
for Uruguay's third, in stoppage time.
Sunday, 1st July
Spain vs Russia
Russia may have started with five at the
back but they made some good front running
early on, to excite the home crowd.
From an Isco free-kick, out on the right,
Sergei Ignashevich had his back to the ball
as he tried to rugby tackle Sergio Ramos to
the ground. Justice was dealt, without the
need for VAR, when the ball bounced off the
Russian's achilles tendon and into the net
without him knowing anything about it; the
tenth own goal at Russia 2018.
Russia were awarded a penalty in the 40th
minute when the ball was headed on to Gerard
Pique's outstretched arm.
After a slight delay, Artyom Dzyuba made no
mistake from the spot to send the home crowd
Diego Costa almost slipped through for
Spain, just before the break but he's had
very little of the ball. Then Russia broke
Half-time: Spain 1 - Russia 1
Russia were content to sit behind the ball
and Spain seemed to think it was World Class
just to pass the ball around in front of
them. Watching a game of chess in Moscow's
Red Square would have been more exciting.
Diego Costa was pulled off with ten minutes
to go; replaced by Iago Aspas.
Iniesta tried a little one-two with Aspas.
Then again, Iniesta's shot was palmed away
by Igor Akinfeev.
The two substitutes certainly added a little
more energy and creativity to Spain in the
Another Russia break with substitute
Cheryshev looking for the ball on the left.
Three minutes to go and we almost had a
football match in front of us; some urgency
finally being shown by both sides,
interspersed with signs of cramp.
Fyodor Smolov, another Russian substitute,
came closest in stoppage time.
Thirty Minutes of Extra-Time.
First real chance for Spain in the 12th
minute of extra-time as Iago Aspas sent
Marco Ascencio forward. That was Ascenscio's
In the second period of extra-time, after
108 minutes of open play, Rodrigo Moreno
provided the first real sign of creative,
attacking football from Spain. Great save
from Akinfeev to keep Russia on course for a
Another attack from Spain and the Russian
players on the bench encouraged the fans to
make more noise. The extra man echoed around
In the 24th minute of extra-time, VAR was
called in to look at a holding in the
Russian area. Appeal turned down. Close call
and then the heavens opened.
PENALTIES - Russian Roulette.
First time ever penalty shootout for the
Andres Iniesta - Scored, down the middle.
Fyodor Smolov - A kiss for the ball then
planted just above de Gea. 1:1
Gerard Pique - Hits post on the way in. 2:1
Sergei Ignashevich - Easy. 2:2
Koke - Saved by Igor Akinfeev. 2:2
Aleksandr Golovin - Scored, through de Gea.
Sergio Ramos - Stuttered on the run up, and
Dmitry Cheryshev - Lived in Spain since he
was 5 years old. Scored. 3:4
Iago Aspas - Long delay. Iniesta couldn't
watch. Saved. Spain are out.
Friday, 6th July
in Nizhny Novgorod (0:2)
Uruguay couldn't muster enough creative spark to
pull back France and take the game into extra-time.
Saturday, 7th July
in Sochi (2:2aet
Russia did well to reach the quarter-finals and were
very close to meeting England in the semi-final.
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