World Cup day eight in a nutshell: Argentina humbled by Croatia, France win, and VAR debate

We round up Thursday’s talking points from Russia, with Argentina humbled, France winning, and more debate over VAR.

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 seven at the World Cup…

The reports

Denmark 1-1 Australia

Another VAR penalty decision helped Australia to a 1-1 draw with Denmark in their World Cup Group C clash in Samara.

Denmark took the lead on seven minutes through Christian Eriksen’s superb half volley, before VAR came into play as Yussuf Poulsen was adjudged to have handled from Mathew Leckie’s header.

Mile Jedinak stepped up to score his second of the tournament (38), and despite Australia impressing in the second half, it stayed 1-1. Australia must now win their final group game to stand a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage.

France 1-0 Peru

Kylian Mbappe’s first World Cup goal was enough to send France into the last 16 with a 1-0 win against Peru in Group C.

The striker slotted home from a deflected Olivier Giroud cross in the 34th minute and became France’s youngest ever goalscorer at a major tournament in the process, overtaking David Trezeguet’s previous record (vs Saudi Arabia in 1998).

Peru impressed again with their attacking play in Yekaterinburg – particularly in the second half – but once again could not find the breakthrough and will exit the competition at the group stages after their final game against Australia next week.

Argentina 0-3 Croatia

Croatia are through to the last 16 of the World Cup after a stunning 3-0 victory in Nizhny Novgorod which leaves Argentina in serious danger of exiting at the group stage.

Ante Rebic made the most of a Willy Caballero howler to open the scoring in the 53rd minute before Luka Modric curled in a sensational second (81) and Ivan Rakitic stroked in an injury-time third to secure his side’s passage to the knockout stages.

But after their opening 1-1 draw with Iceland, Argentina go into their final Group D game with Nigeria with only one point and their hopes of staying in Russia beyond the group stage are hanging by a thread.

Moment of the day

A moment that Willy Caballero will want to forget.

The Argentina goalkeeper gifted Croatia the opening goal of the match when he tried to chip out a pass and instead miscued and sliced it straight up in the air inside his box. Rebic, who could have been sent off for a tackle before half-time, took full advantage of the mistake with a sumptuous finish as he lashed in a volley past the goalkeeper.

While Caballero should not accept all the blame after a dire display from Argentina, head coach Jorge Sampaoli said conceding the first goal was damaging for his side.

“We were emotionally broken and we didn’t have any football arguments to change the course of events,” he commented.

Key quotes Tweet of the day

That looks as though it might be the case for England’s second Group G game against Panama after a photograph of a note carried by assistant manager Steve Holland was leaked to reporters.

It showed a plan to play in 3-5-2 formation against Panama, with Rashford and Harry Kane up front and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield following Dele Alli’s slight thigh strain – a player whose name was spelt ‘Ali’ on the sheet in the medical section.

Denmark head coach Age Hareide thinks VAR is taking the “charm” away from football.

After a 1-1 draw with Australia, who were awarded a penalty after VAR consultation, Hareide said: “I do believe it was a penalty but the whole issue with VAR is that there are people somewhere in Russia deciding to look at this situation because it looks like a penalty.

“That is okay but there were other situations in the match where they should have stopped it to look at what actually happened but they are not doing that, so who decides? Is it the referee on the pitch or someone watching in a dark room somewhere else?

“To me, it was probably correct but it does remove a bit of the charm of football to have such a precise system.”

3:20 Harry Kane is good enough to play for any of the teams playing in the World Cup, says Gary Neville

Over one million fans have attended games at the World Cup, organiser FIFA said in a statement after Denmark’s 1-1 draw with Australia, the 21st match of the tournament.

“To date, more than 2.6 million tickets have been allocated to football fans all around the world, with ticket sales ongoing until July 15. On average, World Cup stadium occupancy is at 97 percent and more than 70,000 tickets have been resold,” added the statement.

The only glaring case of large numbers of empty seats was Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Egypt in Yekaterinburg, where 6,000 tickets which had been allocated were left unused. FIFA said that was due to “no shows” from constituent groups which include sponsors, member associations and supporters.

And finally…

Germany midfielder Sami Khedira laughed off a cheeky offer of early flights home for the holders from a Swedish reporter ahead of their crunch World Cup clash.

Holders Germany will be under intense pressure in the Group F clash in Sochi on Saturday against Sweden after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their first match of the tournament.

The Juventus midfielder kept his cool when a Swedish tabloid reporter handed him a home-made return ticket for the entire German squad.

“I don’t think we will need that until July 16,” said the smiling Khedira.

Source.