World Cup day 12 in a nutshell: Uruguay and Spain top their groups, Russia and Portugal second

We round up Monday’s talking points from Russia as Uruguay and Spain topped their respective World Cup groups and head into the last 16.

Each day during the tournament, we will be pulling together all the big stories and best reaction right here in a nutshell, so you do not miss a thing.

Here are the highlights from day 12 at the World Cup…

The reports

Uruguay 3-0 Russia

Uruguay beat 10-man Russia 3-0 in Samara to secure top spot in Group A and end the hosts’ perfect start to their home World Cup.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a low free-kick and Denis Cheryshev deflected a Diego Laxalt shot into his own net (23) before Igor Smolnikov was sent off for a second yellow card nine minutes before half-time.

Both sides had already qualified for the last 16 and Edinson Cavani poked home Uruguay’s third in injury-time to seal a victory which means his side will now face the team which finishes second in Group B in Sochi on Saturday.

Meanwhile, after comprehensive wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Russia will face the team who finish top of Group B next Sunday.

Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt

Salem Al-Dawsari’s late goal secured Saudi Arabia a first World Cup win in 24 years with a 2-1 victory over Egypt in Volgograd.

In what was a dead-rubber game in Group A, Mohamed Salah, who was not initially named in Egypt’s starting line-up, gave his side the lead in the 22nd minute, scoring his 50th goal in 58 appearances for club and country since July 2017.

Essam El Hadary, who become the oldest player to feature in a World Cup aged 45 years and 16 days, saved Fahad Al Muwallad’s 41st-minute penalty but he could not keep out Salman Al Faraj’s spot-kick deep into first-half injury time as Saudi Arabia drew level.

The game was seemingly heading for a draw when Al-Dawsari struck to spark wild celebrations from Saudi Arabia as they ended their World Cup campaign with victory, while Egypt became the first side since Honduras in 2014 to lose all three group games at a World Cup.

Spain 2-2 Morocco

A remarkable late turnaround saw Spain top Group B after they drew 2-2 with Morocco in Kaliningrad on Monday night.

Iran’s last-minute equaliser against Portugal, paired with Iago Aspas’ stoppage-time equaliser for Spain, helped by VAR, mean Spain will now play hosts Russia in the last 16 on Sunday, while Portugal play Uruguay on Saturday in Sochi.

Khalid Boutaib put Morocco ahead early on (14), finishing low after a mix-up on halfway from Spain, but Isco equalised (19) following a classic Spain move.

With just nine minutes remaining, substitute Youssef En Nesyri rose highest to head home a corner, but in stoppage time Aspas’ superb flick finish found the far corner, despite initially being ruled out for offside, before Iran equalised against Portugal moments later.

Iran 1-1 Portugal

Portugal reached the last 16 of the World Cup as Group B runners-up after a controversial 1-1 draw with Iran in Saransk.

Ricardo Quaresma scored a sublime goal in the 45th minute and Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty saved in the second half as Portugal appeared to be cruising through as group winners.

But Ronaldo was perhaps fortunate to avoid a red card following an 80th-minute VAR review and Iran equalised through an injury-time penalty from Karim Ansarifard – awarded with the use of VAR for a handball by Cedric Soares – before Mehdi Taremi missed a gilt-edged chance late on to knock Portugal out.

Moment of the day

Egypt’s goalkeeper Essam El Hadary set the record for being the oldest player to start in a World Cup game and had an eventful first half before a 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed Salah put Egypt ahead in the 22nd minute – their first goal in open play at the World Cup since 1934 – before Salman Alfaraj got the Saudis level with a penalty-kick in first-half stoppage time.

El Hadary has smashed the record set by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

Key quotes Tweet of the day

The perils of having a famous footballing father…

The Spurs midfielder missed Sunday’s 6-1 win over Panama that secured England’s place in the last 16 with a game to spare.

Switzerland trio Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner have avoided bans from FIFA after being investigated for their celebrations against Serbia.

Xhaka and Shaqiri have received a warning from FIFA and fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,633) for unsporting behaviour, while Lichtsteiner has received a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,816) for his actions.

Xhaka and Shaqiri, who both have ethnic Albanian heritage and whose roots are in Kosovo, made hand signals that appeared to imitate the double-headed eagle on the Albanian flag after scoring in the 2-1 win over Serbia. Swiss captain Lichtsteiner also appeared to make the gesture during the win in Kaliningrad.

FIFA has rejected reports alleging doping cover-ups among the Russian national team, saying it had not found any evidence of doping among Russia’s players as the country hosts the World Cup.

Reiterating a statement it made last month, FIFA said: “Insufficient evidence was found to assert an anti-doping rule violation by any footballer. In the course of the investigations, FIFA looked at every possible evidence, leaving no stone unturned.”

It added that the investigations into all players named in Russia’s preliminary squad last month had been closed.

The Egyptian FA says it has never discussed Mohamed Salah’s international retirement with the player.

Salah’s relationship with the EFA was strained by a sponsorship row leading up to the tournament while there was criticism at the weekend after Salah was granted honorary citizenship by Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov at a banquet held to say goodbye to the Egypt squad, who have been based in Grozny.

“We were always informed by Salah when he takes any decisions,” the EFA said in a statement. “We spend the whole day together and he has never discussed this issue with any of the delegation’s members.”

And finally…

The Association of British Travel Agents is reporting a rush on requests from England fans trying to get to Russia for the World Cup.

The 6-1 win over Panama on Sunday was England’s biggest winning margin ever at a major tournament and was watched by 14.1 million, which was almost 83 per cent of the TV audience in Britain.

Planes, trains and buses could be packed on the way to Kaliningrad for Thursday’s group game between England and Belgium with both teams are already assured of spots in the knockout stage.

The ABTA has advised England fans there’s three options to get there: “A flight to Moscow and then a two-hour flight, a flight to Moscow and then a 20-hour train journey, or you could fly to Poland or Lithuania and take the bus from there.”

Source.