World Cup 2018 action continued, in Russia, on June 21, 2018, with second-round matches in Group C and Group D. Croatia stunned Lionel Messi and fifth-ranked Argentina 3-0, while France's 1-0 win over Peru, whose first return to World Cup Action in 36 years has yet to produce a goal, locked-up an appearance for France in the Knockout Stage. Denmark and Australia tied 1-1 in Group C action, securing Denmark in second place while the group waits for third round play next week. Yesterday, host nation Russia assured advancement to the Knockout Stage with their 3-1 victory over Egypt, eliminating Mohamed Salah and North African team.

Uruguay, led by a Luis Suárez goal in the 23rd minute, triumphed over Saudi Arabia 1-0 and guaranteed Uruguay a slot when the tournament contracts to 16 teams beginning June 30, 2018. Russia v. Uruguay June 25, 2018, will determine the winner of Group A where Russia will win the group on a win or tie.

Croatia advances to Knockout Stage

Croatia's 3-1 win over Argentina, coupled with their 2-0 win over Nigeria during the first week of competition, secure Croatia one of the two spots from Group D for the Round of 16. The match was scoreless for 53 tantalizing minutes until Ante Rebic was gifted a goal by Argentinian goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero when he kicked the ball poorly right onto Rebic’s feet and he promptly lobbed the ball over Caballero’s head for the first goal of the match, giving Croatia a 1-0 lead.

Argentina would be devastated in the 80th minute when Luka Modric’s brilliant footwork at the top of the box led to a brilliant right-footed laser-strike just past Caballero’s out-stretched hand and into the right side of the net, giving Croatia a 2-0 lead. Ivan Rakitic would add a humiliating third goal in the 91st minute after a brilliant game of cat and mouse to the left and in front of the Argentinian goalkeeper, sealing the 3-0 win.

Argentina will be anxious as Nigeria faces Iceland when Group D action continues June 21, 2018. One thing is sure, Argentina must win against Nigeria when the Group Stage closes next week for a chance to emerge from the group and play in the Knockout Stage.

Group C: France advancing, Denmark in second place

France defeated Peru in Group C action 1-0 on a Kylian Mbappé goal in the 34th minute.

The phenom became the youngest goalscorer for France in a World Cup at the age of 19. The win, coupled with France’s 2-1 win over a spirited Australia team during the first week of competition, assured France would be one of the two teams from Group C advancing to the Round of 16. Peru was eliminated from the Knockout Stage with the loss and will be playing for pride and respect against Australia when Group C action continues June 26, 2018. Denmark currently sits in second place in Group C after their 1-1 tie with Australia coupled with their 1-0 win over an emotional Peru team who was playing in their first World Cup match in 36 years during last week’s competition, giving them four points in the standings and a commanding two-goal differential over third place Australia.