Group A fixtures of World Cup 2018 have completed, and Uruguay has topped it with an emphatic victory over Russia. Egypt, on the other hand, shared points with Saudi Arabia before going out of the tournament.
Russia vs Uruguay lineups:
Russia (4-2-3-1): Igor Akinfeev; Igor Smolnikov, Ilya Kutepov, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov; Roman Zobnin, Yuri Gazinskiy (Daler Kuzyayev, 46′); Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksey Miranchuk (Fyodor Smolov, 60′), Denis Cheryshev (Mario Fernandes, 38′); Artem Dzyuba.
Uruguay (3-1-4-2): Fernando Muslera; Sebastian Coates, Diego Godin, Martin Caceres; Lucas Torreira; Nahitan Nandez (Christian Rodriguez, 73′), Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur (Giorgian De Arrascaeta, 63′), Diego Laxalt; Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani (Maximiliano Gómez , 90’+3′).
Goals: Suarez (10′), Cheryshev (OG, 23′), Cavani (90′).
Red card: Smolnikov (36′).
Yellow card: Bentancur (59′).
Uruguay started the day brilliantly with an early stunner from Suarez. The Barcelona forward took a scorcher of a freekick to get it past Akinfeev at the 10th minute. 13 minutes later, the Latin Americans doubled their lead. This time, left winger Laxalt’s thundering shot got deflected off Cheryshev and it found its way into the goal. And then, the day got worse for the host country. Smolnikov saw his second yellow for a dangerous foul on Laxalt and that reduced Russia to 10-men with nearly an hour to go. Although Russia managed to keep the scoreline to 0-2 at the break, they were surely in for a difficult second half.
In the second half, Russia made their last two changes very soon to try to get back into the game. But, their efforts were just not enough to beat Muslera in the Uruguayan goal. To the other end, Cavani netted his first of the campaign from a corner during the dying moments. In the end, Godin and co finished it off with a 3-0 win.
Russia vs Uruguay highlights:
And now, let us move on the second game of the group.
Egypt vs Saudi Arabia lineups:
Egypt (4-2-3-1): Essam El Hadary; Mohamed Shafy, Ahmed Hegazi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Fathy; Tarek Hamed, Mohamed Elneny; Trezeguet (Kahraba, 81′), Abdallah El Said (Amr Warda, 45’+7′), Mohamed Salah; Marwan Mohsen (Ramadan Sobhi, 64′).
Saudi Arabia (4-2-3-1): Yasser Al-Mosailem; Yasir Al Shahrani, Motaz Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Mohammed Al-Burayk; Abdullah Otafy, Hussain Al-Mogahwi; Salem Al Dawsari, Salman Al Faraj, Hattan Bahebri (Muhannad Asiri, 65′); Fahad Al Muwallad (Yehya Al Shehri, 79′).
Goals: Salah (22′), Al Faraj (Pen, 45’+6′)
Yellow card: Gabr (45’+5′), Fathy (86′)
The Africans were favourites to win this fixture, with an in-form Mo Salah. The Liverpool man did not disappoint. A quarter into the game, El Said fed Salah a long ball and the Egyptian King controlled it beautifully before lofting it above the Saudi goalkeeper’s head. Right after that early lead, Salah got yet another chance to double his tally, but surprisingly, the Liverpool star missed a one-on-one opportunity against Al-Mosailem.
It was a fantastic end-to-end action around that time, and some good attacking efforts helped the Asian side get a penalty with minutes to go in the first half. However, El Hadary, the veteran goalkeeper of Egypt, made a stunning save to maintain the lead for his side. And then, during stoppage time, Saudi Arabia got another penalty. This time, Al Faraj stepped up and he successfully converted it to restore parity Volgograd Arena.
In the second half, Egypt appeared to be the better side with repeated efforts. However, unthinkable happened in the stoppage time, when Al Dawsari scored from a tight angle to give Saudi an unassailable lead. Mo Salah remained a tragic hero, before getting knocked out from the tournament without a single point.