World Cup diary 2018 – Wednesday 27 June
Going to be honest and say that the first batch of games from yesterday which saw Group C conclude, passed me by. I’ve nothing against Denmark, France, Peru or Australia (well maybe Australia, as an Englishman it’s great to see the Aussies lose at any sport), but my focus was on the evening games in Group D involving Iceland, Croatia, Argentina and Nigeria. As a result I merely picked up the final scores in early evening that saw Denmark and France go through after a 0-0 stalemate, with the French topping the group and Australia finish bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat to Peru in the other game.
So to the events in Group D and my match of choice involving Iceland and Croatia. I have a friend working for Iceland in their media team, so firmly nailed my colours to the mast of the Vikings hoping they would beat the Croatians and the result of the other game went their way. However, it was not to be despite the Iceland side giving it everything that they had. Chances came but in the end they looked a tired side and when you consider that in a good summer temperatures can reach 20-25 degrees Centigrade in Iceland, yet had to perform in temperatures of 30+, were the weather conditions a factor for their exit? Ultimately though they slumped to a 2-1 defeat which left Iceland with just a point from their three group fixtures.
With the game finished I switched channels to catch the last seconds of the Argentina and Nigeria game, where a cracking finish from Marcos Rojo just four minutes from time saved the two-times World Champions from exit of the 2018 tournament at the expense of Nigeria. For all the brilliance of Messi’s first-half goal and Rojo’s winner, the abiding image was of Maradona in the stands celebrating the second Argentinian strike by standing and displaying offensive hand gestures. I can’t share the opinion of those who consider him a ‘great’ since his image during his playing days will forever be tainted by the ‘Hand of God’ incident in 1986 and his banning from the 1994 World Cup for drug use. His antics since the conclusion of his playing days have reduced him to a laughing stock and embarrassment to his country.
Back to events on the pitch and those results from yesterday lead to the following last 16 ties:
June 30 France v Argentina July 01 Croatia v Denmark