More Penalties At The World Cup Both In Normal Time And Afterwards

Posted: July 3, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, International Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The World Cup
Tags: , , ,

ASP

Having scraped through the group stage by the skin of their teeth, the Spanish decided to take on Russia without Andrés Iniesta in the starting line-up or, to be more accurate, Fernando Hierro made the decision to leave him on the bench.

It was a tactical manoeuvre designed to counter the counter of Russia and, in the main, it worked, giving the Spain team a little more pace to chase back.

Everything certainly started off going to plan as the visitors took the lead after 12 minutes. The goal was rather scrappy and was actually an own goal scored by Sergei Ignashevich who was busy trying to wrestle Sergio Ramos to the ground when the ball hit his heel and left Akinfeev stranded.

In truth, had the ball not gone in, the chances are that Spain would have been awarded a penalty, as the Russian defender was certainly fouling Ramos.

The lead lasted until the 41st minute when Piqué rose to defend a corner. He missed the ball and, for some reason, left his arm in the air which the ball then hit and the referee pointed to the spot.

The penalty was taken and scored expertly by Artem Dzyuba and the teams went in at half-time level at 1-1. Iniesta’s guile and wisdom had been missed in the first half so it would be interesting to see how long he would stay on the bench for the second half.

It was a while and, in fact, Russia brought on their fan’s favourite first when replacing Aleksandr Samedov with Denis Cheryshev.

The inevitable finally happened after 66 minutes when David Silva went off and Iniesta finally came on.

In truth he didn’t make that much difference and the business of Spain attempting to break down the Russian defence carried on as it had for most of the game.

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Spain failed in the penalty shoot-out, but should the game have gone that far?

So, after ninety minutes it was 1-1 and extra time was next on the agenda. At least the two teams could now make another substitution if they felt they needed to.

The game continued in the same vein as before with Spain unwilling to go to their plan B and, in fact, most onlookers were left wondering if they actually had a plan B.

It was the second half of extra time before Spain really started to attack the Russians with any pace and it had been the introduction of Rodrigo which instigated it.

The biggest talking point of the game was provided when Koke floated a free-kick into the Russian penalty area and both Piqué and Ramos were blatantly fouled. After consulting with VAR however, a “home” decision was made and the game continued.

Finally, after 120 minutes of football, the final whistle brought a halt to normal proceedings and we awaited the first penalty shoot-out of the tournament.

It was perfect from a Russian point of view as they scored every spot kick and, with Spain missing two through Koke and Aspas, that was them through to the last eight.

Denmark v Croatia…..

The next game was Denmark against Croatia and the hope was that it would be more entertaining than the previous match.

In fact, the first five minutes were more entertaining than the entire previous match and, by the time the clock had reached that mark, it was already 1-1.

Nicolai Jørgensen had put Denmark ahead after two minutes following a long throw which caused some panic in the Croatia penalty area.

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The big man equalises after only four minutes of the game against Denmark

Then Mario Mandžukić took advantage of panic in the Danish penalty area following a routine cross which wasn’t dealt with at all and scored the equaliser.

The game then settled down for the remainder of the first half and offered little in the way of incident and 1-1 was how it stayed.

Denmark were by far the better team in the second half but couldn’t add to their tally and the game went into extra time still gridlocked at 1-1.

It stayed that way but should have ended in victory for Croatia when they were awarded a penalty with two minutes left. Ironically this penalty gave Luka Modrić the chance to avoid a penalty shoot-out but he failed to beat Kasper Schmeichel with a tame shot.

So that meant a few more penalties were needed to sort out who the eventual winner would be.

They both struggled to score but, eventually, Croatia came out on top 3-2.

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