FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

VAR drama as Portugal and Spain reach World Cup last 16

WORLD CUP: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and 2010 winners Spain progressed to the World Cup knockout rounds on a morning of high drama dominated by VAR decisions, as Uruguay pipped Russia to top spot in their group.

FootballWorld-Cup
Agency: AFP

Tuesday 26 June 2018, 10:09AM


Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo vies for the ball with Iran’s defender Majid Hosseini during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and Portugal at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk earlier today (June 26). Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo vies for the ball with Iran’s defender Majid Hosseini during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and Portugal at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk earlier today (June 26). Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

Spain ended up topping Group B by virtue of goals scored after an injury-time strike by Iago Aspas – confirmed by the video assistant referee – rescued a 2-2 draw against Morocco in Kaliningrad and will take on the host nation in Moscow on Sunday (July 1).

Portugal, who finished level with Spain on five points, conceded a late penalty as Iran drew level at 1-1 and faced a heart-stopping moment as Mehdi Taremi put a shot inches wide – a goal that would have sent the European champions crashing out.

Ronaldo was at the heart of a series of VAR incidents in Saransk. First he had a penalty saved by Ali Beiranvand and was later saved by a review as Iran’s players called for him to be sent off following an incident with Morteza Pouraliganji.

Furious Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said Portugal captain Ronaldo, who was booked, should have been sent off for using an elbow and lashed out against VAR, saying it was “not going well”.

“I don’t want to talk too much, it’s about my country and a player. I know it’ll be a war against me,” said Queiroz, who coached his native Portugal at the 2010 finals in South Africa.

“But the reality is you stopped the game for VAR, there is an elbow,” he added. “An elbow is a red card in the rules. In the rules it doesn’t say if it is (Lionel) Messi or Ronaldo.”

Portugal will face Uruguay in the last 16 in Sochi on Saturday (June 30).

Relieved Spain boss Fernando Hierro, who took over as coach on the eve of the World Cup, said he knew the group was going to be tough, acknowledging his side had to tighten up.

“The first conclusion I draw is that despite all these challenges we ended on top. I’m looking at the silver lining,” he said.

“Obviously we can improve. Five goals in three matches is not the way forward. The players are professional, they understand what the situation.”

- VAR penalties -

There have now been 19 penalties taken at the 2018 World Cup – more than in any other edition of the competition.

Earlier, 10-man Russia were handed a World Cup reality check, losing 3-0 to Uruguay as the South Americans topped Group A with a perfect record.

The host nation rode a wave of national euphoria in their first two matches, sweeping aside Saudi Arabia and Egypt despite being initially written off as no-hopers but could not keep the magic alive against the South Americans.

QSI International School Phuket

An early free-kick from Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, an own goal from Denis Cheryshev and a late strike from Edinson Cavani sealed top spot for Uruguay, with Russia through to the knockout stages as runners-up.

“Obviously, the first few matches you’re tense and don’t want to make any mistakes or lose,” said man-of the-match Suarez.

“One mistake can be very expensive. Today we came to the pitch with a different attitude and perspective and that's made the pressure better. That’s what we saw on the pitch.”

Disappointed Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov said it was better to lose heavily now than in future games, adding his players had shown nerves for the first time but were psychologically prepared for the knockout stages.

“The outcome is very simple. We did what we had to do,” he said. “But you cannot start a game of this level with such a mistake – we gave up a goal.

“Uruguay then started playing their type of football. And then we got a red card.”

In the other match in Group A, Saudi Arabia beat Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 2-1 in a match up of two eliminated sides in Volgograd but the main talking point was Egypt goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary becoming the oldest player ever to appear in a World Cup.

El Hadary, 45 years and 161 days old, smashed the record set by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

The veteran goalkeeper produced a stunning save from a Fahad al-Muwallad penalty after Salah had given Egypt the lead with his second World Cup goal, but could not keep out another spot kick by Salman al-Faraj in first-half injury time.


Follow the World Cup with The Phuket News

Keep up to date with all the FIFA World Cup results and group standings by following The Phuket News by clicking here.

You can also get a free printable copy of The Phuket News World Cup wallchart via the link.  

Best of luck for your home nation!

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
PM Prayut calls for tourism safety across all forms of transport

Does general Prayut not have a public relation team to keep him on right publicity track? All the ...(Read More)


Call to expedite Prawit probe

Just asking the dealers? Let me laugh. They only can be forced by court order, which the mates of Po...(Read More)


Isolated heavy rain forecast for South, Phuket

And we will see again, small boats ( like the 2 disaster boats) still will sail out. More disaster...(Read More)


Phuket officials inert as fishing boat breaks apart at tourist beach

While the pathetic marine safety officials are proving that Phuket is a dangerous and risky destinat...(Read More)


Phuket marine safety goes on show, efforts to recover last Phoenix disaster body continue

Look like Thai Ind. Standards Marine "Work Vests", the type that will not give one a clear...(Read More)


PM Prayut calls for tourism safety across all forms of transport

Another empty message, imploring Thai officials "to make sure everyone is safe". He does n...(Read More)


Phuket marine safety goes on show, efforts to recover last Phoenix disaster body continue

Re: I hope all bookings are cancelled and tourists never return here. I think it would be better i...(Read More)


Phuket marine safety goes on show, efforts to recover last Phoenix disaster body continue

The governor did put on his marine safety face, coz that day there was on Phuket no volunteer cleani...(Read More)


Phuket marine safety goes on show, efforts to recover last Phoenix disaster body continue

And it also looks like all the bright orange "life vests" are the same toy flotation aids ...(Read More)


Phuket marine safety goes on show, efforts to recover last Phoenix disaster body continue

"The government's efforts to overhaul safety measures across all forms of transport".....(Read More)