AUSTRALIA V PERU
- Peru scored first World Cup goal since Spain 1982
Peru went down fighting as they bow out of their first World Cup appearance in 36 years, defeating Australia 2-0 in Sochi.
Their veteran captain, Paolo Guerrero, was the hero on what will certainly be his last appearance in the finals at the age of 34.
His effort created the opening goal for Andre Carillo and he scored the second himself after 50 minutes.
Peru finished third in Group C with Australia bottom of the table.
DENMARK V FRANCE
- France and Denmark served up the first goalless draw of the 2018 World Cup
France and Denmark played the first goalless draw of the 2018 World Cup finals in a concluding Group C game in the Luzhniki stadium, knowing full well it was enough to see them to the round of 16.
The 1998 champions fielded a number of reserves yet maintained their unbeaten run and top the group with the Danes content to finish second.
France will face Argentina on Saturday in Kazan while Denmark will play the Group D winners – Croatia – in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.
ICELAND V CROATIA
- Croatia’s six goals scored so far in Russia were from nine shots on target
- Iceland had 38 per cent possession yet managed 15 attempts but could register only one goal
Croatia pushed on into the second round of the 2018 World Cup by clinching top place in Group D with a 2-1 win over Iceland in Rostov-on-don.
With Croatia already qualified, coach Zlatko Dalic made nine changes. They took the lead in the second half through Milan Badelj. The 29-year-old hit the crossbar with a long-range strike, but he made no mistake moments later when the ball was cut back to him near the penalty spot.
Iceland drew level in the 75th minute when substitute Dejan Lovren was adjudged to have handled Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross and the Everton midfielder drilled home the penalty.
Substitute Ivan Perisic produced the decisive moment to set up a last-16 meeting with Denmark.
NIGERIA V ARGENTINA
- Nigeria have lost five times in five games against Argentina at the World Cup
- Lionel Messi scored the 100th goal in Russia 2018
- He has now joined Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta as the only Argentina players to have scored in three different World Cups
Argentina recovered from the brink of World Cup exit with a battling 2-1 win over the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Saint Petersburg.
Lionel Messi looked more like his old self as he opened the scoring after 13 minutes and also hit a post with a first-half free kick.
The two-time champions needed an 85th-minute strike from Marcos Rojo to clinch victory and progress after Nigeria had equalised with a Victor Moses penalty early in the second half after Javier Mascherano had wrestled down Leon Balogun at a corner.
Ever Banega, making his first start in Russia, produced the assist for Messi’s 14th-minute opener. The Sevilla midfielder lofted a pass over Kenneth Omeruo, and the Barcelona forward cushioned the ball on his thigh and created space with a deft left-footed touch before firing into the far corner with his right.
The 31-year-old almost scored again with a free-kick that Francis Uzoho’s fingertips pushed onto the post.
Shortly after the resumption of the second half, Nigeria equalised. Three Argentinian defenders converged on the ball and conceded a corner, from which Mascherano, with both of his hands on Balogun at the near post, was adjudged to have hauled his man down.
Moses placed the spot-kick to the opposite way of Argentina’s debutant goalkeeper Franco Armani and Nigeria were back in pole position for the group’s runners-up spot.
A second goal from the Super Eagles would have killed off Argentina’s hopes and Odion Ighalo spurned a good opportunity when volleying wide.
The Super Eagles wanted a spot-kick for a handball against Rojo prior to the ball dropping to Ighalo. And though VAR consulted, no penalty was given as the defender headed against his arm.
Ighalo saw another effort saved by Armani and Oghenekaro Etebo’s free-kick went into the side netting as Nigeria missed chances to seal a second-round berth. And it proved costly as Rojo, who also scored the winner when both sides met in Brazil 2014, won it four minutes from time to spare his country’s blushes.
Argentina will play France in the round of 16 in Kazan on Saturday.