Today’s calendar reserver four matches which saw the debut of France and Argentina, amongst the favourites to proceed in the knock-out stage and the debut of Iceland in a World Cup competition.
Here’s how it went.
The third matchday of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ began with the Group C encounter between France and Australia in Kazan. Although Les Bleus made a bright start, stars Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann were unable to capitalise on their chances. The Aussies gained a foothold in the game after the first 15 minutes, with Hugo Lloris palming their best first-half opportunity clear when team-mate Corentin Tolisso threatened to deflect a free-kick into his own net.
The action then came thick and fast after the interval. After consulting with the video assistant referees (VAR team), referee Andres Cunha awarded France a penalty that Griezmann coolly converted. Samuel Umtiti then handled the ball in the box just a few minutes later, with Mile Jedinak scoring the resulting spot-kick. Didier Deschamps’ side ultimately turned the match back in their favour, thanks to an own goal from Australia defender Aziz Behich.
Both teams will be back in action on Thursday 21 June, when France take on Peru, while Australia will be under pressure against Denmark.
The second match saw veterans Argentina and debutants Iceland. Despite stamping their authority on the game’s opening stages, La Albiceleste struggled to find space against a deep-lying Icelandic defence.
The breakthrough came in the 19th minute when Sergio Aguero fired the ball home on the turn to give Argentina a 1-0 lead.
The South Americans’ joy was short-lived, however, as Alfred Finnbogason made history by scoring his country’s first-ever World Cup goal just four minutes later.
Lionel Messi had the biggest opportunity to take the lead in the second half, but his penalty was saved by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson. Although Argentina continued to press for a goal, they were repeatedly denied by the Nordic side’s staunch defensive efforts.
A goal from Yussuf Poulsen was enough for Denmark to defeat an effervescent Peru, who sparkled on their return to football’s greatest stage but just couldn’t find a way to score past Kasper Schmeichel.
Worse than that, they also suffered the ignominy of becoming the second team in this World Cup to miss a penalty, with Christian Cueva blasting his first half spot-kick way over the bar on the brink of half-time, after the Video Assisted Referee had awarded it following a review during open play.
Croatia moved top of World Cup Group D as a Luka Modric penalty and an Oghenekaro Etebo own-goal were enough to see off a surprisingly lacklustre Nigeria side in Kaliningrad.
The matches for Sunday are:
Source FIFA.Com/ The Telegraph