Coverage of Group C matches during the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia between Australia, Denmark, France and Peru.
2018 World Cup Finals - Group C - Fixtures and Results
France vs Australia in Kazan (2:1)
The Socceroos started to believe in themselves once the first fifteen minutes passed without a serious threat from les bleus.
Hugo Lloris even had to save the French some embarrassment from a possible own goal; at the back end of a floating Australian free-kick.
After the Iberian delight of the night before in Sochi, football suffered something of a hangover here in Kazan; as the wannabees and nearly rans didn't really break into a first-half sweat.
Half-time: France 0 - Australia 0
Ten minutes after the start of the second half, France were awarded a penalty after a VAR review; although it seemed Joshua Risdon did get a foot to the ball before catching Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman converted from the spot.
Goaline technology confirmed that Paul Pogba's deflected chip off the underside of the bar did cross the line and give France the edge, with nine minutes to go; although the goal would later be given as an Aziz Behich own goal.
Australia may have deserved a draw, but we don't always get what we deserve; especially when the cream eventually rises to the top.
Peru vs Denmark in Saransk (0:1)
They huffed and they puffed but they couldn't blow the house down.
Both teams started with plenty of end to end bravado but failed to complete on the plan and the first-half headed towards a snore draw; until VAR came into play, a minute before the break.
On review, a penalty was awarded to Peru after Christian Cueva performed a beautiful stud roll on the ball to lose Yussuf Poulsen and was subsequently hooked down by the Dane's trailing leg.
Cueva stuttered on his run up, to try and commit Kasper Schmeichel, but hoofed the penalty kick high over the bar; the second penalty miss of the day, after Messi saw his spot kick saved by Iceland's Hannes Thor Halldorsson in Moscow.
Half-time: Peru 0 - Denmark 0
The second-half started much like the first, with Cueva trying to impress a little more, after his miserable penalty miss.
Kasper Schmeichel was immediately called into action at the other end, as Cueva laid the table for Flores.
Poulsen too putting in a shift on the Danish goal line a little later to keep the Peruvian threat at bay.
Peru continued to attack through Cueva and really deserved to level the score; Paolo Guerrero even trying a sneaky back-heel to try and get the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.
Then Schmeichel blocked out Jefferson Farfan, as Peru continued to search for an equaliser right up to the final whistle.
Denmark vs Australia in Samara (1:1)
Half-time: Denmark 1 - Australia 1
And that's the way it stayed.
France vs Peru in Ekaterinburg (1:0)
Hugo Lloris makes his 100th international appearance in goal for France and Olivier Giroud starts up top.
The Peruvian fans made plenty of noise to encourage their team forward.
On the half-hour, Lloris made a save with his legs from Paolo Guerrero, the Peruvian captain.
France seemed a little more confident; and Peru deflated.
Half-time: France 1 - Peru 0
Peru tried to get back on level terms but France just did enough to hold the game. Hopefully the French will excite us a little more in the knockout stage.
Australia vs Peru in Sochi (0:2)
Australia needed to win and hope Denmark lost. Peru were out, but gave their fans something to shout about; with two goals in the first fifty minutes.
No comeback for Australia.
Denmark vs France in Moscow Luzhniki (0:0)
France were already through to the Second Round and rested a few key players; including Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba.
Half-time: Denmark 0 - France 0
Sad to see a final group game showing such a lack of desire. Football fans at the World Cup Finals deserve more.
The only game to end in a scoreless draw so far.
Second Round - Round of 16
Willy Caballero has lost confidence as the Argentina number 1, so in comes Franco Armani; the number 12. Sounds like Italian tailoring, but let's see.
France were awarded a penalty in the eleventh minute, after Marcos Rojo stopped Kylian Mbappe's awesome run towards Armani in the Argentina goal. Antoine Griezmann sent Armani the wrong way and cooly side-footed the ball down the middle.
Mbappe's pace was too much for Argentina again, less than ten minutes later. This time Paul Pogba skied the free-kich from the edge of the area.
Half-time: France 1 - Argentina 1
Marcos Rojo, on a yellow card, is replaced by Federico Fazio at the start of the second-half.
Fazio made a lazy back-pass and almost let Griezmann through on goal. The little pull on the Frenchman not noticed.
Kasper Schmeichel saved three penalties but it wasn't enough to keep Denmark in the tournament.
A positive start from two very good sides. Uruguay perhaps looked more of a threat, with two shots on target, in the first thirty-five minutes.
France earned a free-kick on the right, in the fortieth minute and with it their first real chance to test Nestor Muslera. Antoine Griezmann's floated ball between the defenders was met by a glancing header from Raphael Varane.
Uruguay looked to reply before the break; but a one-handed save by Hugo Lloris, from Martin Caceres' header, kept them out.
Half-time: Uruguay 0 - France 1
Kylian Mbappe and Cristian Rodriguez were booked, with twenty minutes to go, as nerves started to be tested to the limit.
In the end, France did enough to earn a place in the semi-finals without really going therough the gears.
No goals, but an interesting first-half with flashes of brilliance from Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne. Raphael Varane and Hugo Lloris were defensively equal.
Belgium probably had the better of the first half an hour, then France tried to move it around more offensively through the influence of Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud. Kylian Mbappe presented the former Gunner with another chance to shoot; and he failed miserably.
Not be outdone by Hugo Lloris, Thibaut Courtois stuck out a foot to make a crucial save for Belgium from Benjamin Pavard.
Romelu Lukaku wasn't really in the game, until just before the break; which showed how well France were holding their shape.
Half-time: France 0 - Belgium 0
Roberto Martinez brought on Dries Merts for Moussa Dembele in the 60th minute; Didier Deschamps still sitting pretty.
Paul Pogba dropped back to keep an eye on Marouane Fellaini; even Olivier Giroud was deep in the France half to clear a Belgium threat. France were under pressure with twenty minutes to go.
Eden Hazard was denied an edge of the box free-kick with ten minutes still to play. Then Marouane Fellaini was taken off and Hugo Lloris made a diving punch to keep out Axel Witsel.
Tension started to show on the red, yellow and black painted faces of the Belium fans.
Blaise Matuidi had a great game for France but took a challenge too far and, shell-shocked, had to be replaced with just a few minutes left to play.
France held out to make it to their third World Cup Final.
2018 World Cup Final in Russia
Sunday, 15th July:
2018 World Cup Final
Moscow Luzhniki: France vs Croatia (4:2)
1:0 (Mario Mandzukic, own goal, 18)
1:1 (Ivan Perisic, 28)
2:1 (Antoine Griezmann 38pen)
3:1 (Paul Pogba 59)
4:1 (Kylian Mbappe 65)
4:2 (Mario Mandzukic 69)
World Cup Finals
Uruguay trailed Argentina at half-time (1:2) but replied with three goals in the second half; to win the first ever World Cup Final (4-2) on July 30th, 1930.
Italy were one of the countries who missed out on the vote to host the first World Cup but managed to win the prestigious golden trophy for the home fans.
The third World Cup was held in Europe for a second time, although Germany had annexed Austria, and Spain was in civil turmoil.
Although no cup-final as such, Uruguay and Brazil went into their final game with the winner guaranteed to be champions; a draw would be enough for Brazil.
The fifth World Cup tournament produced a record number of goals, including a 7:5 encounter between Austria and Switzerland in Lausanne.
Brazil presented a 17 year-old Pele to the world; who went on to claim a hat-trick in Brazil's 5:2 semi-final win over France and bag another two in the final.
Czechoslovakia overcame Hungary in the quarter-finals and Yugoslavia in the semis, while Brazil took care of England and the host nation, Chile.
Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick, in the final against West Germany, as England triumphed in a thrilling game watched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
1970 belonged to Pelé, who earned his third World Cup winners' medal when Brazil got their hands on the Jules Rimet Cup.... for keeps.
W. Germany 1974:
Johan Cruyff was the player of the tournament as total football became the buzzword of the day, even though Holland lost to West Germany in the 1974 final.
Holland contested the 1978 World Cup Final, in Argentina, for the second time in a row. As in West Germany, they again finished runners-up; to the hosts.
The Spain 82 World Cup finals increased to 24 teams and the format was changed to have two group stages, with four second-round groups of three.
In 1986, Mexico became the first nation to stage the World Cup Finals for a second time; having only staged the competition sixteen years previously.
In 1990, Italy became the World Cup of stalemates. Both semi-finals were drawn out through penalty kicks. In the final itself, the only goal came from the spot.
Once Team US had played a few games most of the nation began to understand they were hosting the greatest show on earth and how the game was played.
France became the sixth nation to win the World Cup on home soil. Thirty-two teams competed in the 16th World Cup; better known as France 98.
The 17th World Cup, held in Korea and Japan, was the first World Cup finals to be shared by two hosts and the first to be held in Asia.
The 2006 World Cup Finals ran from 9th June to 9th July; the opening match in Munich and the final in Berlin. Munich and Dortmund hosted the semi-finals.
South Africa 2010:
Eighty years after the First World Cup Finals in Uruguay, the world's most prestigious football competition was finally hosted on the African continent.
Five times World Cup Champions, Brazil, get a second chance to hold the prestigious World Cup Finals; 64 years after they last hosted the tournament.
VAR made its World Cup debut and set out to change the course of a game with some crucial rule infringement watching and vital on the spot decisions.
When FIFA executives met in Zurich to decide on who would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals, Qatar was probably the biggest surprise to many.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Finals will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. The United Bid won the hosting rights ahead of Morocco.
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