World Cup 2018: Spain and Portugal on the Verge of Qualification, the Program of Monday

World Cup 2018
Spanish training session, World Cup 2018

This Monday, Russia and Uruguay, already qualified, are in first place. Spain faces Morocco, and Portugal the formidable Iran, which still has hope of passing to the knockouts.

The pressure rises Monday in Russia ! Place the last day of the group stage of the World Cup 2018, where the qualifications are snapped and the first places are contested. This will be the case for Isco’s Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal , who will play their ticket for the knockout section of the tournament.

Spain-Morocco and Iran-Portugal will undoubtedly be much more tense than the opposition between Uruguay and Russia, both already qualified, who nevertheless have first place to go in Group A.

Uruguay-Russia, 4 pm, group A, Samara

“Nobody believed in us and now everyone is almost giving us a medal,” laughs Russian defender Andrey Semenov. It must be said that to imagine that Sbornaya, which ranks in the worst Fifa rankings of its history (70th), could score eight goals in two games by conceding only one, it had to be done.

Yet, the host country did it. And with the way, against two teams certainly quite weak, Saudi Arabia (5-0) and Egypt (3-1). So much so that the men of Stanislav Cherchesov are no longer necessarily losers against Uruguay, 14th world. “If our attackers are good and we manage to stand together in defense, we will make a big world,” promises the Uruguayan captain Diego Godin. The first test arrived for the main concerned: Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Saudi Arabia-Egypt, 4pm, Group A, Volgograd

Save the honor. This is the only goal left to the Saudis and Egyptians, authors of a World Cup rather disappointing with two defeats. For qualifying in the eighth, it will return in 2022. In the meantime, Mohamed Salah has one last chance to score the World Cup in his class, unless his recent injury to a shoulder relegates him to the bench for this game without stake.

Essam El-Hadary could also make history if he plays: the Pharaoh keeper would become at age 45 the oldest player to play in a World Cup finals. Saudi Arabia could comfort itself by finally scoring a goal.

Spain-Morocco, 8 pm, group B, Kaliningrad

In Group B, Spain (4 pts) is probably the best placed because it faces a Moroccan selection already eliminated while Portugal (4 pts) defies a solid Iran (3 pts) who still strongly believes in its qualification .

“We must be faithful until death to the style of play that defines us. We have to play, multiply the passes, keep the ball, “launched the jewel Isco, flamboyant in the Spanish midfield in the first two games. This game identity while “tiki-taka” should guide the Roja to the 8th. For this, it only takes a draw to Fernando Hierro’s men.

Iran-Portugal, 8pm, Group B, Saransk

CR7 against the “wall Melli”. We could summarize this decisive meeting of group B, since on the one hand, Cristiano Ronaldo is the only Portuguese striker since the start of the World Cup 2018 – with four goals – and on the other side is an indefinable Iranian selection, which has long resisted Spain (1-0) after defeating Morocco (1-0). It also took a huge success for Diego Costa to break through the Persian wall.

“Spain-Iran, more than the match against Morocco, was a great warning for all of us, from players to coaches,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. He misses a point to his Selecçao to see the final table. Iran, he must win against the European champion, or hope for an improbable heavy defeat of Spain if it draws.

Portugal prepare for their last group match in World Cup 2018 against Iran
Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese prepare their last group match against Iran at the Kratovo base camp near Moscow on June 24, 2018. (© AFP / Francisco LEONG)

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