Coverage of Group B matches during the 2018
World Cup Finals in Russia between
Host Cities - Visit Russia.
Group B Games
Friday, 15th June
in St Petersburg
A first half comedy of errors may have produced a
few laughs but little in the way of goals.
Half-time: Morocco 0 - Iran 0
The second-half was more about frustration and
niggly fouls; followed by some hard eye staring, nose to nose.
The substitution merry-go-round did liven
things up a little; but ironically it was the Morocco substitute, Aziz
Bouhaddouz, who scored with a terrific diving header in the dying
seconds of time added on - for Iran.
Iran could celebrate their first World Cup Finals
victory since they beat USA (2:1) in France 98.
After three servings of
luke warm, Middle Eastern hors d'oeuvres,
it's as if we're now on the European main
course; a game four, delicious serving of
Within three minutes, Ronaldo ran himself
into a penalty-winning position against
Nacho; won the
call; looked to the heavens; ignored de
Gea's jumping on the line antics; and struck
the ball in the back of the net; as only
Twenty minutes later,
Diego Costa danced around the Portuguese
defence all on his own; jiggling and
teasing, as he unbalanced the opposition and
slammed the ball home, from the edge of the
Isco almost doubled
Spain's tally a couple of minutes later,
as his shot thundered off the underside of
the crossbar but didn't bounce over the line.
2018 World Cup is starting to entertain us;
as Robbie Williams sang it would, at the
opening ceremony in Moscow - only yesterday.
Advantage Ronaldo, just before half-time, as
David de Gea fumbled in his left foot strike
from the edge of the area.
Half-time: Portugal 2 -
Deuce, as Diego Costa leveled Ronaldo's
brace by sliding in Busquet's ball, headed
down from a David Silva free-kick, ten
minutes after the break.
Three minutes later, Nacho redeemed himself
for conceeding the early penalty by putting Spain in front; with plenty
of bendy spin from the outside of his foot.
And the icing on the cake came when Ronaldo
struck an amazing bending, swerving over and under dipping curler of a
free-kick to earn his 51st hat-trick and the 51st hat-trick in World Cup
Finals history; just a couple of minutes before the final whistle.
Four added minutes still had plenty to offer but a
shared point was justly deserved as Cristiano Ronaldo equalled
everything Spain had to offer.
Wednesday, 20th June
Iran, wearing red, tried to attack Spain at the start. But when Spain
took a goal-kick, Iran were all back in their own half and remained
there for most of the first forty-five minutes; stifling any creativity
from the Spaniards.
It was about twenty minutes before Diego Costa even got a sniff of the
ball, Iran were so solid at the back.
David de Gea, standing alone in the Spanish goal, must have spent most
of the first-half watching the giant screen, amusing himself with some
of the play-acting from the Iranian players.
The referee was good though; signalling to one player that if he was
hurt in a challenge, then perhaps he should leave the field.
Iran 0 -
Iran gave it another go, at the start of the second-half. Then back to
This time Spain seemed to find a little more space by stretching the
play. Sergio Busquets fired a rocket from outside the area. Ali
Beiranvand slapped the ball away and rolled around on the floor in agony
when his own player slid into him.
Diego Costa was all smiles in the 54th
minute as he tried to shoot on the spin; the ball ricocheted off a
defender, onto the Spaniard, and into the net.
Sensational scenes in the 62nd minute as Iran had the ball in the back
of the net from a free kick and VAR was called in to cast the deciding
Goal disallowed for an over eager offsideness.
More amazing scenes in the seventieth minute as Iran found a new way to
defend the goal; sit on the ball, sit on the line; sit on each other.
Iran had a great chance to equalise. Attacking down the left, Vahid
Amiri nutmegged Gerard Pique and his cross just headed over the bar by
Spain top the group on the 'Fair Play' rule; with fewer bookings than
Iran are still in the World Cup, but need to beat Portugal on Monday.
in Moscow Luzhniki
Ronaldo likes scoring in the fourth minute.
From a corner, he powered in a diving header
to become the leading European scorer in
The solitary goal, along with an awesome save from Patricio, was enough to send Morocco home.
Monday, 25th June
The Iranian fans tried to keep Ronaldo awake, the night before the match
and almost rocked his boat with a stoppage time winner.
Ricardo Quaresma put Portugal ahead just before the break but Cristiano
Ronaldo failed to extend their lead from the penalty spot in the 53rd
Karim Ansarifard's stoppage time penalty gave Iran a lifeline, but Mehdi
Taremi fluffed his lines and hit the side-netting just before the final
Spain remained top of the group despite a scare; the
referee ruling out a last-minute tap-in by Iago Aspas, overruled by VAR.
Khalid Boutaib put Morocco ahead in the 14th minute
and Isco replied for Spain five minutes later.
Morocco were in front again, through Youssef
En-Nesyri, in the 81st minute before VAR came to Spain's rescue in
Saturday, 30th June
Uruguay vs Portugal
Ronaldo didn't get on the scoresheet and Portugal
didn't make it through to the next round.
Sunday, 1st July
Spain vs Russia
in Moscow Luzhniki
Spain were not good enough to break Russia down and
joined Portugal on the flight back to Iberia.
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