A day that started in dull Group C encounters ended with a huge drama in Group D, as Argentina beat Nigeria 2-1 to join Croatia in the round of 16 thanks to an 87th minute goal by Marcos Rojo, who also handled the ball with his hand earlier but escaped being penalized by the referee. Denmark and France provided the first goalless draw of the tournament as they both qualified.
The matchups born from these results: Mega match between Argentina and France in the round of 16, while Denmark take on Croatia.
Denmark 0 France 0
What can we say? The two teams didn’t want to score, knowing fully well a draw is enough to go through. Denmark didn’t try to usurp France’s first place, France didn’t try to put pressure on Denmark, until the final minutes when an energetic Kylian Mbappe disturbed the status quo. Both teams go through with the first (and only so far) 0-0 draw in the tournament.
Australia 0 Peru 2 (Match Highlights)
A match that meant nothing but national pride for Peru very quickly, as Paolo Guerrero, the man who wasn’t supposed to be in the tournament, gave his side a nice farewell from the tournament, putting in a brilliant assist to Andre Carrillo and scoring one himself. Peru were perhaps the most fun team to watch in this group, but a bit naive and inefficient, especially in their opener against Denmark, costing them the ticket to the round of 16. Australia, after surprising everyone in the first two matches, go home with just one point from three matches.
Group C Table
The moment Peru took the lead against Australia, there was nothing for Denmark to stress about, leading to the abysmal and dull performance in the match between the two qualifying teams.
Nigeria 1 Argentina 2 (Match Highlights)
Marcos Rojo scored the winning goal for Argentina in the 87th minute, after a match the Argentine side already had in its grasp (Lionel Messi’s first goal of the tournament) got out of hand with a foolish Javier Mascherano foul that led to Victor Moses scoring from the penalty spot. Rojo is also the villain in the eyes of many, heading the ball on his hand which should have resulted in a penalty kick, but referee Cuneyt Cakir looked at the VAR footage and decided it wasn’t enough to merit a spot kick that would have ended Argentina’s hopes.
Iceland 1 Croatia 2 (Match Highlights)
Croatia are the second team in the tournament to win all three matches of the group stage (Uruguay the first), sending Iceland home with just one point after a 90th minute goal by Ivan Perisic. Milan Badelj opened the scoring for the group leaders who were almost guaranteed to top spot going into the match, but a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty gave Iceland hope, while Argentina were still drawn with Nigeria, that they might turn things around and make history once again.
Group D Table
Argentina had to win in order to finish second, while Nigeria needed just a draw to join Croatia in the next round. Until the 87th minute of their match, they had that ticket in their hand. Rojo’s goal changed the course of destiny.
Goal of the Day – Marcos Rojo, Argentina
Was there any doubt? Not the prettiest goal, but its importance trumps everything else.
5 goals: Harry Kane (England)
4 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
3 goals: Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain)
2 goals: Artem Dzyuba (Russia), Mile Jedinak (Australia), Luka Modric (Croatia), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), Eden Hazard (Belgium), John Stones (England), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
1 goal: Yuri Gazinsky, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Jose Maria Gimenez, Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Nacho, Isco, Iago Aspas (Spain), Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe (France), Sergio Agüero, Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo (Argentina), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Christian Eriksen,Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark), Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela, Chicharito (Mexico), Neymar (Brazil), Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland), Andreas Granqvist, Ola Toivonen (Sweden), Dries Mertens, Michy Batshuayi (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi, Dylan Bronn, Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osaka, Takashi Inui, Keisuke Honda (Japan), Juan Quintero, Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado (Colombia), M’Baye Niang, Sadio Mane, Moussa Wague (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland), Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic (Croatia), Son Heung-Min (South Korea), Marco Reus (Germany), Jesse Lingard (England), Felipe Baloy (Panama), Salman Al Faraj, Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia), Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal), Khalid Boutaib, Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco), Karim Ansarifard (Iran), Andre Carrillo, Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Victor Moses (Nigeria)
Goals in the tournament: 40 matches, 105 goals (2.63 per match).
Day 14 Matches:
South Korea vs Germany (Group F)
Mexico vs Sweden (Group F)
Serbia vs Brazil (Group E)
Switzerland vs Costa Rica (Group E)