epa06812638 Paul Pogba (2-L) of France celebrates with team mate Olivier Giroud (L) after scoring the 2-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group C preliminary round soccer match between France and Australia in Kazan, Russia, 16 June 2018.
Saturday Jun 16, 2018. 23:31
Matchday 3 at the 2018 World Cup began with a win for France over Australia and ended with Nigeria succumbing at the hands of Croatia, leaving Africa still waiting for it’s first goal at the tournament – let alone a positive result – following 0-1 defeats for Egypt and Morocco on Friday.
The day’s action opened in Kazan with France claiming a somewhat lucky 2-1 win over a plucky and determined Australia in Group C. ‘Les Bleus’ claimed the lead through a debatable penalty – which was awarded via VAR – scored by Antoine Griezmann, before the ‘Socceroos’ hit back almost immediately through a spot kick of their own, converted by Mile Jedinak.
Yet the Europeans, who were sluggish and unimpressive throughout, still managed to nick all three points with an 80th minute goal from Paul Pogba. The midfielder saw his deflected effort bounce over the goal line after striking the underside of the crossbar.
The second game saw Group D action for the first time, with Argentina held to a 1-1 draw by tournament debutants Iceland. ‘La Albiceleste’ took the lead on 19 minutes through Sergio Aguero, but the Nordic side hit back quickly through Alfredh Finnbogason and remained resolute in defence for the remainder of the match in Moscow.
The second Group C match in Saransk saw another penalty awarded by VAR, but Peru’s Christian Cueva was guilty of firing it over the crossbar. Their opponents Denmark took full advantage, with Yussuf Poulsen scoring the only goal of the game from a Christian Eriksen assist to seal a 1-0 win.
Finally, in the late game in Kaliningrad, Nigeria’s tournament got off to a terrible start as they were beaten 2-0 by Croatia in a Group D clash. An own goal from Oghenekaro Etebo and a Luka Modric penalty took ‘The Blazers’ to three points and top spot in the group.
Matchday 3, Saturday 16 June – Results
Group C – France 2-1 Australia
Group D – Argentina 1-1 Iceland
Group C – Peru 0-1 Denmark
Group D – Croatia 2-0 Nigeria