Three Arab football teams have been eliminated from group states of the World Cup in Russia, with Saudi Arabia and Morocco losing again Wednesday, they followed Egypt which suffered its second defeat during a clash against Russia yesterday.
Spain however entered the match against Iran with one point and seeking to improve ranking within Group B to revive chances to advance to round of 16. The Spaniards won 1-0 and were now sharing the lead of the group with Portugal, each with four points.
Meanwhile, Uruguay defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 at Rostov Arena and ended hopes for the Saudi team to advance in the competition, while Uruguay secured its qualification in Group A.
The only goal came by Luis Suarez in the 23rd minute after his team began dominating the tempo of the game.
Suarez scored his 52nd goal for Uruguay in 100 appearances and celebrated with a special touch signifying his pregnant wife, while Fernando Muslera has equaled the record for most World Cup appearances with 13 to join Ladislao Mazurkievicz.
The Saudi team created chances in the second half, as they were able to take shots from inside the area.
Uruguay stands behind Russia on top of Group A and secured their spot for the next stage of the World Cup.
Russia and Uruguay will face off in the final match of Group A to decide who will take first place, who will meet the second place winner of Group B.
Saudi Arabia’s manager Juan Pizzi was pleased with his team performance saying, “the difference between match number one and today is vast, and the only way to compete at the World Cup is to play like we did today.” Pizzi added after he was asked about his team’s pace, “We played at the pace and speed that we needed and that’s how we get to our opponents box, and if you pick up your speed it will cause you to lose like in the first match we did not have control of the game.” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was pleased for qualifying to the next round. “We managed to qualify for the knockout stages and that’s what we wanted and needed, and Saudi Arabia could have made it complicated for us,” he said.
Two victories in two matches for Tabarez, a streak not accomplished by Uruguay since 1954.
The other team eliminated from the World Cup was Morocco, which suffered a 0-1 defeat by Portugal, whose star Cristiano Ronaldo’s header netted his country’s sole gola. Ronaldo scored four goals in two matches.
The first half was dominated by the Moroccan team, as they kept the pressure to equalize and Portugal failed to create dangerous chances after the first goal.
Portugal?’s defense was overwhelmed by the Moroccan team in the second half as the Moroccans start off strong as they drive towards an equaliser.
Rui Patricio?’s super saves in the second half kept Portugal?’s net clean.
Morocco’s team manager Herve Renard expressed how proud he was of his players despite elimination from World Cup.
Renard said “I am not disappointed with the performance, and very proud with the players, I am very proud with the country, I am very proud of the staff.” In response to a question on Noureddine Amrbat’s head protection he was wearing at the beginning but took it off after 30 minutes of the match start, Renard said, “I am lucky to have a player like Amrabat with a warrior spirit.” Renard added, “We qualified for a World Cup after 20 years and we’ve showed that we can play football, we do play football.” The Moroccan coach was delighted with the atmosphere in the stadium saying, “in this Moscow stadium we felt like we were playing in Casablanca, which helped us a great deal.” Portugal coach Fernando Santos was pleased with the final score but pointed out his team’s performance was lacking. “It’s a World Cup. This is a strong team, as were Morocco, but we have to grow. We did well defensively, and we played well, but we need more than that. We have to change and earn more possession.” Santos joked when answering a question regarding how Cristiano Ronaldo has been performing so well at Russia 2018, “He has a great coach!” Spain’s 1-0 victory against Iran proved how tough they were in international competitions.
However, Spain coach Hernando Hierro paid tribute for the Iranians describing them as “tough.
“We knew it was going to be very difficult and, sure enough, it was a very complex game” against Iran, Hierro told a post-game news conference.
Forward Diego Costa scored Spain?’s sole goal in 54th minute.
“During the break, we knew we had a plan and I think we carried it out – my players did what they had to do,” said Hierro.
“Iran are a strong team and it?’s very tough to score against them. We knew how hard it would be,” he said.
The Spanish coach said the win kept chances for his team to qualify for further rounds alive. “We know we still need to improve but hopefully we will keep winning as we improve.” Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said his team deserved a better result yet he acknowledged how good the Spanish team was.
“I felt we deserved a better result. There is no doubt spain play wonderful, stylish football but I though we deserved more for the way we played,” said Queiroz, whose team won the first match against Morocco and has only three points.
He said there was a hope for Iran in its game final match against Portugal. “Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming” to advance to round of 16.
Source: Kuwait News Agency