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World Cup day three in a nutshell: Penalties, Maradona and VAR on a bumper day of games

12:46 am, 17th June 2018

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 three at the World Cup…

The reports

France 2-1 Australia

Among the tournament favourites, France stuttered to victory against an Australia side who did more than just stifle their opponents, and could have taken the lead before half-time.

They eventually fell behind to an Antoine Griezmann penalty, awarded thanks to VAR, before equalising from the spot through Mile Jedinak after Samuel Umtiti handled in a moment of madness.

But his blushes would be spared late on when Paul Pogba’s shot struck defender Aziz Behich and looped over Matt Ryan to seal three points.

Argentina 1-1 Iceland

Argentina were not so lucky as to avoid a disappointing opening result, as Lionel Messi’s missed penalty cost them victory against debutants Iceland.

Sergio Aguero’s shot on the turn put his country ahead early on, but within four minutes they were pegged back when Alfred Finnbogason tapped in after a save from Willy Caballero.

Messi stepped up from the spot when Maximiliano Meza was fouled by Hordur Magnusson, but Hannes Halldorsson guessed the right way to keep out his penalty kick.

Peru 0-1 Denmark

Another tale of a missed spot-kick would cost Peru, in their first finals since 1982 and vastly outnumbering their opposite numbers in the stands in Mordovia.

The South Americans were handed the second spot-kick from a VAR review of the tournament, but Christian Cueva blasted over from 12 yards, and later left the pitch in tears at half-time.

His misery was compounded when Yussuf Poulsen, who had given away the penalty, finished off Christian Eriksen’s slide-rule pass at the near post for the only goal of the game, despite long spells of Peru pressure.

Croatia 2-0 Nigeria

A surprisingly insipid Nigeria performance was punished by Croatia as an own goal and a Luka Modric penalty took the eastern Europeans top of Group D.

Having taken the lead after 32 minutes when Oghenekaro Etebo, who has just signed for Stoke, was struck by the ball from a corner and diverted it into his own goal, Croatia cruised to victory with little fight from their opposition.

When Mario Mandzukic was bundled over in the area after the break, Modric’s penalty sealed victory.

Moment of the day

Messi had a lot to live up to less than 24 hours after Cristiano Ronaldo single-handedly led Portugal to a 3-3 draw with Spain – but he could not do it.

The Barcelona forward, and five-time Ballon d’Or winner, fluffed his lines from 12 yards when a goal would probably have given Argentina victory.

Messi has now missed 17 of the 88 penalties he has taken in his career, but few will be more frustrating than Saturday’s saved effort.

There was similar, if not worse disappointment for Peru’s Cueva, who had to be consoled by his team-mates at half-time when the emotion of his missed penalty against Denmark became all too much.

On a brighter note, Finnbogason’s goal was Iceland’s first at the World Cup, in their first match, with their first shot on target. For a nation with a population less than that of Argentina capital Buenos Aires, it was a joy to behold and one their fans will never forget.

The key quotes

Stat of the day

Tweet of the day

This tweet about referee Bakary Gassama got a few on Twitter chuckling on the back of his strong performance refereeing Denmark’s win over Peru…

What were England up to?

Fabian Delph cast aside any suggestion England might be getting too cosy and friendly ahead of their first game with Tunisia on Monday.

Delph revealed the starting line-up for the Group G opener has already been revealed by manager Gareth Southgate to his players, but denied there was any chance of complacency among him or his team-mates.

Much has been spoken about the unity among the England squad – although Delph said he and his team-mates had no issue “digging each other out” if needed.

He said: “Nothing’s ever personal, that’s what I’ve found with this squad. As long as it’s constructive criticism, people take it on the chin.

“We’ve worked on various different systems with various personnel.

“The team’s not guaranteed, there could be changes. But from the set-up that we’ve done, it’s pretty clear who’s going to be starting.”

On Sunday, Gareth Southgate and his squad will head to Volgograd, the location of their game with Tunisia, and could be met with temperatures eclipsing 30°C if the early weeks of June are anything to go by.

In the news

Germany boss Joachim Low said he has no concerns over the fitness of Manuel Neuer or Mesut Ozil in the build-up to the World Cup holders’ opening game with Mexico on Sunday.

Neuer has missed most of the season with a foot injury, but is in line to begin the World Cup as Germany’s No 1, having already started their final warm-up game with Saudi Arabia last week.

Mohamed Salah was handed a birthday cake by the hotel the Egypt squad stayed in after their 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Friday.

Having endured a miserable birthday, missing that game as he continues his recovery from injury and watching his side fall to a last-gasp defeat, Salah enjoyed a better day on Saturday, with Egypt boss Ihab Leheta confirming he would be ready to play in Tuesday’s do-or-die second game with Russia.

He said: “Salah participated in training with his team-mates for the entire session and he is ready to play against Russia according to technical staff.”

Eight people were injured when a taxi drove into pedestrians not far from the famous Red Square area in Moscow.

Amid heightened security across Russia for the World Cup, the driver of the taxi was detained but claimed the incident was unintentional, after he lost control of the vehicle.

Moscow next plays host to Germany v Mexico, at 4pm UK time on Sunday.

And finally…

Never one to play by the rules, Argentina legend Diego Maradona was all smiles when he appeared in the stands for the draw with Iceland.

The 57-year-old, who coached his country at the World Cup eight years ago, soon made himself comfortable, lighting up a cigar in full view of the crowd.

Whether or not Maradona was forced to put it out is unconfirmed, but there’s no smoke without fire…

Who plays on Sunday?

Costa Rica v Serbia (Group E) – Samara, 1pm

Germany v Mexico (Group F) – Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm

Brazil v Switzerland (Group E) – Rostov-on-Don, 7pm