Day three of 2018 FIFA World Cup open saw Groups C & D commence with France, Argentina and Croatia amongst those in action today.

Well, there is only one place to start after this afternoon saw a shock result in Group D as minnows, Iceland held Argentina in a 1-1 draw. 

Argentina started off on front foot but Iceland drew first blood in 9th minute, when Alfred Finnbogason broke and fired over before Birkir Bjarnason ran into box only to flick his effort wide. 

That let-off triggered Argentina’s attack into life and they got their reward ten minutes later, after Sergio Aguero weaved his way into space within box before lashing home for his first ever World Cup goal. 

Iceland however hit back minutes later after Hordor Magnusson crossed to Gylfi Sigurdsson. Finnbogason was running into box as Sigurdsson’s shot was deflected and met the ball to stab it home from close range. 

World Cup - Group D - Argentina vs Iceland

Iceland’s Alfred Finnbogason scored their equaliser, after Sergio Aguero had put Argentina ahead minutes earlier. (Reuters)

For rest of match, both teams had several chances but the biggest highlight came when Magnusson fouled Aguero in 63rd minute. 

Lionel Messi stepped up to take the penalty and fired it to his left, only for the diving Hannes Halldorsson to punch it clear.

La Albiceleste however refused to give up against a stubborn Icelandic defence with Halldorsson making numerous saves, including in injury time when he made a double save just before full time. 

The result leaves Argentina second and Iceland third in Group D after Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 with a own goal by Oghenekari Etebo, before a Luka Modric penalty sealed a dominant victory. 

Next up for Croatia is a clash with Argentina on Thursday night whilst Iceland will look to boost their knockout hopes if can beat Nigeria on Friday afternoon. 

 

 

VAR Drama rules Group C

VAR is the biggest talking point in Group C after being used in both of France and Denmark’s wins. 

France beat Australia 2-1 in a controversial game but had best chance of a goalless first half, when Kylian Mbappe nearly opened the scoring after two minutes from a tight right angle but Matthew Ryan comfortably punched his effort clear. 

The second half however had plenty of drama with the first coming within ten minutes of the match resuming. 

In 54th minute, Australia’s Joshua Risdon brought down Antoine Griezmann on edge of penalty box and referee, Andres Cunha pointed to spot after consulting VAR, having initially waved play on. 

World Cup - Group C - France vs Australia

Antoine Griezmann puts France ahead from the penalty spot. (Reuters)

Griezmann then stepped up and fired into right hand corner in 58th minute to make it the first ever goal assisted by use of VAR.

Minutes later, Samuel Umtiti handballed a Aaron Mooy free-kick to hand Australia a way back into the match.

Up stepped Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak to fire it down the middle and level things again in 62nd minute. 

Things then settled down till 80th minute when sub, Oliver Giroud played a pass to Paul Pogba who chipped the ball in off bar before it bounced out.

Confusion took hold till goal line technology confirmed that the ball had passed the goal line and France could celebrate. 

World Cup - Group C - France vs Australia

Paul Pogba’s goal crossing the line to win the match for France. (Reuters)

France then went close again from a Nabil Fekir free-kick after Aziz Behich brought the Liverpool bound star down just outside the box. 

Fekir however found the wall and Les Bleus eventually clung on to take victory. 

Over in the other Group C game, Denmark beat Peru 1-0 following an energetic encounter. 

Peru dominated the match and could of had a half-time lead after Christian Cueva was fouled by Yussuf Poulsen. Like in France’s game, the ref waved play on before consulting VAR and dishing out a penalty. 

Cueva stepped up and blasted the ball over the bar but that miss would eventually cost them come the hour mark. 

With nearly a hour played, Denmark went on a counter-attack with Christian Eriksen releasing Poulsen who slotted home at near post. 

Both teams then had further chances to score with Andre Carrillo wowing for Los Incas throughout the entire match, making numerous chances for his teammates but ultimately to no avail come full time. 

The results mean that France top Group C on goals scored from Denmark, Australia and Peru. 

Next up on Thursday, Denmark meet Australia whilst France face Peru in the second round of Group C games. 

 

 

 

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