Monday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup action featured four games: Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt and Uruguay vs. Russia in the final Group A games and Iran vs. Portugal and Spain vs. Morocco in the Group B finales. Check below for game reports, highlights and other key facts from World Cup 2018 Day 12.
4 p.m. ET Spain 2, Morocco 2 (Final):
The finale to Group B play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup provided tons of drama Monday, but ultimately Spain and Portugal finished in first and second place, respectively, while Iran’s tournament run came to a heartbreaking end.
Spain drew with Morocco 2-2 despite the African nation having leads of 1-0 and 2-1 during the game. A late goal gave Spain the crucial point in the group standings as they topped Portugal on the second tiebreaker (goals scored).
Morocco surprisingly opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Khalid Boutaïb found the back of the net.
Spain equalized just five minutes later when Isco converted on a beautiful setup by Andres Iniesta.
Isco nearly scored another goal in the 62nd minute, but his header was cleared off the goal line in spectacular fashion.
Morocco broke through in the 81st minute when Youssef En-Nesyri headed home a corner kick.
Iago Aspas saved Spain in stoppage time when his skillful backheel found the back of the net to tie the score 2-2.
Man of the Match
Aspas’ goal was the difference in Spain winning the group, so he gets our man of the match honor for a job well done off the bench.
Spain will play Group A runner-up Russia at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday in the Round of 16. Morocco exits the tournament.
4 p.m. ET Iran 1, Portugal 1 (Final):
Portugal will keep going toward 2018 FIFA World Cup glory, despite crashing at the end of the group stage.
Iran played Portugal to a 1-1 draw on Monday in their Group B finale. Portugal slipped from first place in the group to second on the result, plus Spain’s draw against Morocco.
Portugal controlled the first-half action and created many more scoring chances than Iran but failed to score, as halftime loomed. Then Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma put his team ahead in the 45th minute with a moment of pure genius.
Portugal had a golden opportunity to double its lead in the 53rd minute but Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand saved Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick.
Portugal sustained its pressure throughout the second half but couldn’t score that crucial second goal. Those attacking struggles set the stage for a dramatic ending to Group B play.
The referee used VAR to determine Portugal committed a handball inside its own penalty area and awarded Iran a penalty kick, which Karim Ansarifard converted three minutes into second-half injury time.
Iran almost snatched the victory and first place in Group B two minutes later, but Vahid Amiri missed the target from close range.
Portugal advances as Group B runner-up but just barely.
Man of the Match: Quaresma’s strike earned him global praise.
Next up: Portugal will face Uruguay at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday in the Round of 16. Iran is eliminated.
Noon ET, Uruguay 3, Russia 0 (Final); Saudi Arabia 2, Egypt 1 (Final):
Uruguay swept aside Russia in their final Group A game to edge the host nation to the race for top spot in the group standings. Click here for an Uruguay vs. Russia recap and highlights.
Saudi Arabia defeated Egypt on Salem Al-Dawsari’s late game-winning goal in the other Group A game to finish third in the group. Click here for a Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt recap and highlights.
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