#Russia2018 In Pictures

Iran shock Morocco, Salah sits on the bench and Ronaldo hat-trick not enough for Portugal win

By Antoinette Muller 15 June 2018
Caption
Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo pictured shortly before kick off of the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL

The World Cup is in full flow. Three fixtures, three dramatic results.

Compiled by ANTOINETTE MULLER, photos by EPA.

Friday was all about the Iberian derby between Spain and Portugal. Of course it was Cristiano Ronaldo who scored first, who else? It was only a penalty, but still.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates after scoring the 1-0 lead from the penalty spot during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL

In a battle of goalscorers people like least, Diego Costa equalised for Spain.

Diego Costa (R) of Spain and Jose Fonte of Portugal in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/RONALD WITTEK

But Ronaldo doesn’t like having his thunder stolen. He was helped by an absolute howler from David de Gea, who produced the kind of awful goalkeeping you might see in the doldrums of England’s National League North.

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea fumbles the ball and Portugal go 2-1 up during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL

Costa equalised before Nacho put Spain ahead. And Ronaldo nearly exploded with shouty rage almost as red as his kit.

Nacho (C) of Spain celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 3-2 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain at the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/PAULO NOVAIS

Ronaldo made it a hat-trick. Obviously. But that wasn’t enough for a win as the sides settled for a 3-3 draw.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2-L) of Portugal converts a free kick to score the 3-3 equalizer during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Portugal and Spain in Sochi, Russia, 15 June 2018.
EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL

In Friday’s middle match, aggressive would be putting it politely, but we’re a polite lot so we’re sticking with it. The match between Morocco and Iran produced 36 fouls, four yellow cards and a dramatic late header to seal a shock win for the Iranians.

Morocco’s Noureddine Amrabat was absolutely clobbered and, while he was eventually subbed, the medical team first tried spraying him with water and slapping him about a bit. Concussion protocol, who needs it? Let’s go with something from a 1950s medical journal instead.

Noureddine Amrabat (C) of Morocco receives medical assistance during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St.Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT
Mehdi Benatia (L) of Morocco and Saman Ghoddos of Iran in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St.Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (C) of Iran is stretchered off the pitch after being injured during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St. Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT

But at least we got a bit of throwing your coach up in the air action after an own-goal sealed a dramatic win for Iran. Celebrating like you won the whole damn thing. Grand.

Morteza Pouraliganji of Iran celebrates after the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St.Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/TOLGA BOZOGLU
Players of Iran celebrate, throwing the coach Carlos Queiroz in the air, after winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St.Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV
Players of Iran celebrate winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St.Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV
Iran’s players celebrate after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Morocco and Iran at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Giuseppe CACACE

In the early kick off, despite everyone’s best efforts to make sure he was fit and ready, Mohamed Salah started on the bench for Egypt against Uruguay in Friday’s early kick off. And that’s where the Liverpool star remained.

Supporters of Egypt before the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

If you’re not fond of Uruguay or, more specifically, Luis Suarez, the good news is he didn’t score. In fact, he had a goal disallowed for offside and also did this impressive impersonation of sitting on the bog.

Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Drama came late in the match with Edinson Cavani hitting the post, but it was José Giménez who sneaked in the only goal of the match in the 90th minute, leaving Salah sad.

Jose Gimenez (C) of Uruguay goes for a header to score the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI
Mohamed Salah of Egypt sits on the bench prior to the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI
Edinson Cavani of Uruguay (L) and Diego Godin of Uruguay react after winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 15 June 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Saturday brings not three, but four fixtures, with France and Australia kicking things off in the first match at 12:00 South African time. DM

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