At the end of the day Group B of the World Cup followed the natural order of things, but Spain and Portugal had to suffer a lot to confirm their favouritism and ensure passage to the round of 16. The decisive round had two draws and excitement right till the end, with VAR interference in two goals scored in additional time (with one in each game).
Spain secured first place with an Iago Aspas’ goal against Morroco (2-2), and Iran drew the game with Portugal through a penalty (1-1), The Iranians finished just one goal away from qualification (and also from winning the group).
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 25, 2018
For the first time in this tournament Portugal had more ball possession than the opponent (68%), but once again showed many limitations in organized attack. In the first minutes Fernando Santos’ team seemed more comfortable in that task, with William between Pepe and José Fonte, but Sardar’s individual marking withdrew influence to the Portuguese defensive midfielder, who is still the third player on the leader board.
Unable to advance through the central zone, Portugal created danger via the flanks. In fact only from the right side, where Ricardo Quaresma was playing. The winger scored the Portuguese goal with one of his famous “trivelas” (cross or shot with the outside of the foot) and was the elected “Man Of Match”, but he was only #2 on the Twelve leader board.
The first name on that list is Adrien Silva, another one of Fernando Santos’ surprises for this game. The Leicester City midfielder replaced João Moutinho and even appeared on the right side to combine with Quaresma in Portugal’s goal, but is a player more able to pick up the game in backcourt than to play inside the opponent’s defensive block.
Pobreza táctica representada numa imagem pic.twitter.com/dJVQWPO2eD
— Mundial Táctico (@dominio_tactico) June 25, 2018
André Silva was the other of three changes in Fernando Santos’ team, but failed to raise the bar on what Gonçalo Guedes did in the previous games. The AC Milan striker had only one shot, in the 77th minute, and not inside the area, where he had only one action (a successful aerial duel).
Cristiano Ronaldo had five attempts to score, and one of them from the penalty spot, but Ali Beiranvad stopped it and pushed the Portuguese captain to lead the World Cup errors ranking.
In the end of the day Cristiano was the sixth player with more points on Twelve’s leader board, but only 17th in points per minute. Portugal’s central defenders made a solid performance once again, and José Fonte became the fifth player for defensive points per minute.
The Dalian Yifang player is even the second Portuguese player in total points, just after Cristiano Ronaldo, but Ricardo Quaresma is now the national leader on points per minute, after having made his «trivela» known worldwide.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) 25 de junho de 2018