Monday's World Cup: Spain advances with late draw; Uruguay runs record to 3-0

The Detroit News

A video replay in injury time gave Spain the goal it needed to win Group B at the World Cup.

Spain substitute Iago Aspas scored the late equalizer Monday in a 2-2 draw with Morocco. His clever deflection off a cross from Dani Carvajal was initially disallowed for offside, but the video assistant referee overruled the call at Kaliningrad Stadium. The decision set off a touchline melee among players from both sides.

Another substitute, Morocco forward Youssef En Nesyri, headed in a goal in the 81st minute to give already-eliminated Morocco hope of a victory.

Earlier, a mix-up by Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos gifted Morocco its first goal of the World Cup, with Khalid Boutaib pouncing on the loose ball and scoring in the 14th minute. Iniesta made amends five minutes later by setting up Isco at the other end to bring Spain level at halftime.

With Portugal also drawing with Iran, Spain progressed as group winner because it scored more goals and next plays host Russia on Sunday in Moscow, while Portugal plays Uruguay in Sochi a day earlier.

More Monday matches

Portugal 1, Iran 1: Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed penalty cost Portugal first place in its World Cup group.

It could have been worse if not for Ricardo Quaresma, who started for the first time in the tournament and scored his maiden World Cup goal with a shot that had about as much flair as any in the tournament.

Quaresma became the only player other than Ronaldo to score for the Portuguese in three games in Russia. The 34-year-old midfielder also became Portugal’s oldest scorer in World Cup play by hitting a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area that went beyond the reach of diving Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand.

Karim Ansarifard scored a late penalty for Iran, which needed to win to advance but couldn’t break through a second time despite a furious charge in the waning minutes. 

Uruguay 3, Russia 0: Luis Suarez finally got rattled at this year’s World Cup.

Sitting at the podium in the post-match news conference following Uruguay’s win over Russia, a reporter asked him why he often wore a sad expression.

Suarez tossed aside his translation headphones, then smiled broadly in defiance and finally said: “What a waste of time. Next question please.”

Other than that little blip, Suarez has been on his best behavior in Russia, scoring twice as Uruguay swept through the group stage with three straight victories — sending the two-time champions to the knockout round for the third straight World Cup.

Edinson Cavani also scored Monday against the host nation, which dropped its first match of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia 2, Egypt 1: The oldest person to play in a World Cup match made some spectacular saves. He also watched two go past him.

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, who is 45, took the field for his team’s final group match to set the record. Although he saved one penalty, he couldn’t stop Saudi Arabia from winning a game between two teams that had already been eliminated.

Swiss players fined

FIFA has fined three Switzerland players for making hand gestures of an Albanian national symbol to celebrate World Cup goals against Serbia, and cleared them to continue playing.

Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri received a warning and a fine of $10,100 for unsporting behavior, in a judgment Monday by FIFA’s disciplinary panel. Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner was warned and fined $5,050.

Brazil underachieving

Already smarting after struggling through its opening two matches, Brazil needs to improve. 

Luckily, the five-time champions head into their final group match against Serbia on Wednesday knowing a draw is enough to advance to the round of 16.

Brazil opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland and then got two injury-time goals to pull out a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica.

Argentina faces must-win

Shrugging off talk of unrest in the Argentina squad, under-pressure coach Jorge Sampaoli insisted he still had the final say on team selection and will make changes to get the best out of Lionel Messi in the must-win match against Nigeria.

A 3-0 loss to Croatia last week left Argentina in danger of missing out on the last 16 and sparked days of soul-searching in Argentine football, with Sampaoli coming under criticism for his tactical approach.

Plethora of penalty kicks

In the first World Cup with Video Assistant Referees, 20 penalty kicks have been awarded in the first 36 games — two more than the record for an entire tournament. Fifteen of the 20 kicks have been successful.

FIFA says there were 18 penalties awarded in 1990, 1998 and 2002. 

World Cup

Monday’s matches

Uruguay 3, Russia 0

Saudi Arabia 2, Egypt 1

Spain 2, Morocco 2

Iran 1, Portugal 1

Tuesday’s matches

Australia vs. Peru, 10 a.m. (FS1)

Denmark vs. France, 10 a.m. (Fox)

Nigeria vs. Argentina, 2 p.m. (Fox)

Iceland vs. Croatia, 2 p.m. (FS1)

Wednesday’s matches

South Korea vs. Germany, 10 a.m. (FS1)

Mexico vs. Sweden, 10 a.m. (Fox)

Serbia vs. Brazil, 2 p.m. (Fox)

Switzerland vs. Costa Rica, 2 p.m. (FS1)