A very eventful start for the World Cup. The most anticipated game of the early stages, Spain versus Portugal, certainly delivered both in terms of intensity and spectacularity. Despite going down in the score twice, the Red Fury pulled the strings for most of the game and found the target with two magnificent goals, one from distance by Nacho and a very crafty one by Diego Costa in the box. However, the Navigators were not to be denied and came away with a point thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, whose dazzling free kick to tie in the final minutes capped off an all-around great match.
Russia got off to wonderful start, battering Saudi Arabia with the help of excellent performances by Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandar Golovin. The other two games on Friday were decided very close to the final whistle: after missing some easy chances against a very gritty Egypt team, Uruguay broke through with a header by José Gimenez, while Iran downed Morocco with a late own goal and grabbed three points that could swing the qualification.
France and Argentina both had rather underwhelming shows, but Le Bleus still pull it off against Australia thanks to an own goal on a late attempt by Paul Pogba, while La Seleccion was stopped by Iceland as Lionel Messi missed a penalty and the final pressure did not come to fruition. They also showed to be a little too lax in the back.
In the final two encounters of the slate, Denmark escaped against Perù, where Los Incas missed a penalty and Christian Eriksen and Yussuf Poulsen combined for the game-winning goal. Croatia had a relatively easy time against Nigeria: the match was decided by a Mario Mandzukic header deflected by a defender and a penalty by Luka Modric.
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