Morocco lost to Portugal, and are now going home, in the most devastating way. They played absolutely beautifully, and anyone who watched the match was able to recognize that they played much better than Portugal. A mistake in the fourth minute, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo open in the penalty box, allowed him to score the only goal of the match. Morocco had the opportunity to score many times, but could not capitalize. The referee made several questionable calls throughout the game, as well. Jose Fonte committed a blatant foul in the penalty box in the 30th minute, which was not called, to the luck of Portugal and the dismay of Morocco. Additionally, Moroccan star defender Medhi Benatia was issued an unnecessary yellow card in the 39th minute. A foul was also committed against Morocco during the corner kick that turned into a goal. The result of this match showed just how detrimental Morocco’s own goal against Iran in their first match was. They would still be in the running had that match concluded 0-0. Not only did Morocco play very well today, but Portugal played horribly. Portugal had much trouble in the box, and that is what allowed Morocco to have so many scoring opportunities. Almost everyone knew coming into the tournament that defense would be Portugal’s weakness, and we are beginning to see that. Portugal has absolutely no chance of going deep into the tournament if they continue to play like this. Everyone is aware that they are a one-man team, but that only goes so far, as Ronaldo cannot prevent opponents from scoring. Portugal will have to play much better in their last match against Iran in order to ensure they move on to the Round of 16.
Many expected Uruguay to completely control and dominate Saudi Arabia, especially after Russia beat them 5-0. However, this is not what occurred at all. Saudi Arabia played exceptionally well and the only mistake made was by their goalkeeper, who attempted to jump and catch the ball during a corner kick, leaving Luis Suarez completely open. Saudi Arabia looked much calmer and more relaxed and in control than they did against Russia. They also made a total of five roster changes, which seems to have worked. Had Saudi Arabia played their opener as they did today, they most likely would have won. As per the trend that has emerged among powerhouse teams this World Cup, Uruguay did not look particularly impressive. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera played very well and Luis Suarez scored his first goal of the tournament, but the team did not look strong. If they had this much trouble preventing Saudi Arabia from scoring and scoring themselves, one can only imagine what is going to happen to them when they play some of the strongest teams in the world. With this result, Uruguay and Russia will be moving on to the Round of 16, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been eliminated.
Spain beat Iran 1-0 today, getting their first win of the tournament. Again, as everyone has already seen, Spain did not look impressive at all. In fact, their goal was very lucky, as the ball accidentally bounced off Diego Costa into the net. During the first half, in particular, Iran did as much as they could to waste time. For example, Costa was speaking to Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, barely stepped on his foot, and Beiranvand collapsed to the ground screaming. The way Iran played should not have been a surprise to Spain. Everyone knew coming into the match that Iran would focus on defense throughout the entire match, and it seemed that Spain had trouble playing accordingly. Iran’s disallowed goal was absolutely heartbreaking. The linesman did not raise the flag to signal that the goal was offside until after it was scored, so everyone was confused. Surprisingly, Iran did not feel discouraged and kept playing with passion afterwards. Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand had a phenomenal match, and his massive six foot five frame helped him. If Iran play as well as they did today against Portugal, and if Portugal do not make the appropriate adjustments, Iran have a serious chance of making it to the Round of 16.