June 18, 2018, 12:00:02 CEST | Wikinews
2018 FIFA World Cup
More from 2018 FIFA World Cup
18 June 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018 day three: France, Denmark and Croatia wins three points; Argentina shares the spoils with debutants Iceland
16 June 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018 Day 2: Uruguay, Iran win three points each with late goals; Portugal-Spain share the spoils
14 June 2018: Football: Russia beats Saudi Arabia 5-0 in FIFA World Cup opener
13 June 2018: Spanish Football Federation sacks Lopetegui as team's head coach one day before FIFA World Cup
23 May 2018: Radja Nainggolan announces international retirement after being left out of Belgian football world cup squad
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On Saturday, day three of the 2018 FIFA football World Cup, France defeated Australia 2–1, Argentina drew 1–1 against World Cup debuts Iceland, Denmark defeated Peru 1–0, and Croatia defeated Nigeria 2–0.
Group C — France 2–1 Australia
In the first match of the day, the French side took on Australia at the Kazan Stadium. France dominated in ball possession. In the 33rd minute, Frenchman Lucas Hernández missed a chance from Ousmane Dembélé's assist. With both the sides having multiple attempts for scoring, the first half remained goalless.
In the second half, Australia's Josh Risdon fouled on Anotine Griezmann in the penalty area. After confirming with the video assistant referee, a penalty kick was awarded to France. Griezmann scored from the spot kick, putting France in the lead. However, the lead was short-lived, as Australia won a penalty kick about two minutes later due to Samuel Umtiti's hand ball in the penalty area. Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick into a goal, leveling it up for the Aussies. Around the 80th minute, Aziz Behich scored an own goal, which was confirmed by the goal line technology. Behich's own goal proved to be the winning goal for the French side, winning three points.
After the match, Australia's coach Bert van Marwijk said, "I am proud and disappointed. I think we played a great game. I can not blame any of my players I can only give them compliments." Didier Deschamps, France's coach said, "We faced a very good Australian team. But in the end it was [...] important to win the first match and we did. During the last four World Cups we only once won an opening match so it is a good start today."
Group D — Argentina 1–1 Iceland
Argentina took on Iceland at the Spartak Stadium in the first Group D match of the tournament. Argentina dominated in ball possession. World Cup debutants Iceland got an early chance to open the scoring, in the 11th minute, but the shot went wide. Argentina had multiple attempts for goal before Sergio Agüero scored the opening goal for Argentina in the 19th minute, surrounded by several Icelandic players. However, Argentina's lead did not last long. In the 23rd minute, Alfred Finnbogason scored an equaliser, first World Cup goal for Iceland. In the remainder of the first half, Argentineans attempted multiple shots and winning five corner kicks but could not convert any into goals. The first half ended with 1–1 on the score board.
In the second half, Iceland conceded a penalty in the 63rd minute. Maximiliano Meza was fouled in the penalty area, but Argentine captain Lionel Messi's penalty kick was saved by Hannes Þór Halldórsson. Iceland were able to keep the scoreline 1–1 as both the sides shared the spoils, winning one point from the draw.
After the match, Iceland's goalkeeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson was awarded Budweiser Man of the Match award. Halldórsson said, "It's a dream come true for me to have saved that penalty, especially as it helped us gain a point that could be very important for us in trying to qualify from this group. I did a lot of homework, watching a lot of penalties from Messi. And I also looked back at some of the penalties I had faced and what he might be expecting from me. I had a good feeling he would put it that way."
Group C — Peru 0–1 Denmark
In the second Group C match of the night, both Peru and Denmark had potential chances of scoring goals early in the first half but none were converted into a goal. Peru won a penalty kick in the 44th minute, conceded by Yussuf Poulsen which was confirmed by the video assistant referee. But Peru's Christian Cueva missed from the spot kick as the ball went over the cross bar. The first half ended with a 0–0 score.
Just before the one hour mark, Christian Eriksen assisted Yussuf Poulsen, who scored the only goal of the match as the Danish side led the game 1–0.
After the match, Denmark's coach Age Hareide said, "They [Peru] did a lot to try and get an equaliser, and you have to give credit to the defence and whole team. I think it is our fifth game without conceding a goal and it is very tough to play against World Cup opponents and do that."
Group D — Croatia 2–0 Nigeria
In the last match of the night, Croatia faced Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium. Croatia had greater ball possession. They had multiple attacks in the first 30 minutes, and broke through in the 32nd minute. Oghenekaro Etebo ended up scoring an own goal after Croatia had won a corner kick. In the second half, Croatia was awarded a penalty kick when Mario Mandžukić was brought down in the penalty area. The referee pointed for the penalty kick and Luka Modrić scored the penalty, giving the Croats a 2–0 advantage over the African side.
Modrić won the Budweiser Man of the Match Award. After the match, Nigeria's coach Gernot Rohr said, "We're really disappointed we lost this game. Croatia were the better team. We could have come back into it in the second half after we started very well before the penalty against us. We're a young team, we're learning and I hope in the next game against Iceland we will do much better." Croatia leads Group D winning three points.
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Group C standings as of June 16
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