Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Sports

World Cup 2018: What we learned from day 13

Marcos Rojo is not the man you would want the ball to drop to.

Left-footed centre-back Rojo, with 12 goals in his entire career, is not the man for the 86th minute winner to keep a nation of 44m football-mad fans in the World Cup.

But after Gonzalo Higuain had missed a gilt-edged chance and Angel Di Maria had lingered too long in front of goal, it fell to Rojo to be the hero.

Read more: World Cup stars' contract row could trigger new Bosman rule

The Manchester United man swept home Gabriel Mercados cross like a seasoned striker to break Nigerian hearts and keep Jorge Sampaoli in a job for the time-being.

Whether it was deserved or not, it was a moment World Cups are all about.

Maradona box-office viewing in the stands

While the play on the pitch in St Petersburg was enthralling and fans in the stadium could not take their eyes off it, viewers of the BBCs coverage were treated to a different kind of spectacle.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has been an animated presence in the stands throughout each game, but he took his roller-coaster of emotions to new levels tonight.

Diego Maradona didn't cover himself in glory with his celebrations (Source: Getty)

We saw the 57-year-old dancing with a Nigerian fan, rolling his eyes, apparently falling asleep, wringing his hands, being held back from leaning too far over the glass barrier and finally swearing at those bellow.

Maradona was box-office as a player and it seems he just cant leave the limelight.

Bore draw sums up Deschamps lacklustre French side

Perhaps we were pushing our luck with the seemingly continuous run of entertainment. Maybe we cant expect goals, drama and talking points from every fixture.

But all the same France and Denmark: youve let the side down.

The two teams' 0-0 draw in Moscows Luzhniki Stadium was turgid, uninspired but, considering their positions in Group C, predictable. Both qualified for the last 16, but both left their supporters to boo the final whistle.

The performance was particularly disheartening for France manager Didier Deschamps, who made six changes but saw none of the new players offer a solution to the problem that has dogged him for months: how to find a system which makes the most of the talent on offer.

Peru give their fans a reason to party in Sochi

Perus supporters have been magnificent at the World Cup. At the tournament for the first time since 1982 they have grasped the opportunity with both hands, travelling in huge numbers to the other side of the world to cheer their side.

Narrow 1-0 defeats by Denmark and France meant they were eliminated after two games, but Andre Carrillos excellent volley and Paolo Guerreros spinning finish gave them a perfect send off in a 2-0 win over Australia.

Its unlikely the Peruvians will be ruing Christian Cuevas penalty miss against Denmark tonight, thinking what could have been. A party beckons in Sochi.

Leave a Reply