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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

World Cup 2018: Day 13 updates - Argentina beat Nigeria to progress from Group D

Big day for teams in groups C and D: Australia v Peru, Denmark v France, Nigeria v Argentina and Iceland v Croatia. Watch this space for updates

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring Argentina's first goal in the 2-1 win over Nigeria. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring Argentina's first goal in the 2-1 win over Nigeria. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

12.15am: Next up, Groups E and F...

With Lionel Messi and Argentina safely through to the last-16 alongside Croatia, attention turns on Wednesday to Groups E and F.

First up (kick-off 6pm UAE) is Group F and it's still all to play for. Group leaders Mexico, on six points, take on Sweden aware that avoiding defeat will send them through to the last-16. Germany face already-eliminated South Korea and need to win by two clear goals to book their place in the knockout stage, regardless of the Sweden v Mexico result.

That is then followed by Group E (kick-off 10pm) when Switzerland play Costa Rica, and Brazil face Serbia. Apart from Costa Rica, any of the three remaining sides can qualify for the knockout stages so it promises to be a tense evening in Russia!

We're already looking forward to it. See you then!

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12am: Argentina are through!

Talk about doing things the hard way! Argentina needed a win against Nigeria (and hope Iceland didn't beat Croatia) to book their place in the last-16...

...and that's exactly what they did with a 2-1 victory at Saint Petersburg Stadium, but it was very nervy. Lionel Messi scored a superb opener, only for Nigeria to equalise through a John Obi Mikel penalty.

Marcos Rojo proved the unlikely goal-scoring hero for Argentina after the Manchester United defender popped up to strike with four minutes remaining.

Joy for Argentina, despair for Nigeria.

Read the match report from a frenetic final round of Group D matches.

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8pm: Full time: France 0-0 Denmark; Peru 2-0 Australia

France advance as group winners after playing out a mutually beneficial draw with runners-up Denmark in their final match.

Sound exciting? Read Richard Jolly's damning match report here.

Peru registered their first victory of the tournament, beating Australia 2-0.

Andre Carrillo opened the scoring with a sumptuous volley on 18 minutes before Paolo Guerrero - Peru's record goalscorer - added a second five minutes after the break.

The Socceroos head home having scored only two goals in their three group games - both Mile Jedinak penalties.

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6.10pm: Pizzi extends Saudi Arabia stay

Saudi Arabia have extended manager Juan Antonio Pizzi's contract until the end of the Asian Cup in February 2019, the FA said, a day after the national team claimed victory over Egypt in their last World Cup game.

His attention will soon turn to preparations for the continental tournament being held in the UAE at the start of next year.

Here is the full story

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5.25pm: Australia v Peru team sheets

Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group C match between Australia and Peru in Sochi on Tuesday (6pm UAE kick off):

Australia (4-2-3-1)

Mathew Ryan; Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich; Mile Jedinak (capt), Aaron Mooy; Mathew Leckie, Tom Rogic, Robbie Kruse; Tomi Juric

Coach: Bert van Marwijk (NED)

Peru (4-2-3-1)

Pedro Gallese; Luis Advincula, Christian Ramos, Anderson Santamaria, Miguel Trauco; Renato Tapia, Yoshimar Yotun; Andre Carrillo, Christian Cueva, Edison Flores; Paolo Guerrero (capt)

Coach: Ricardo Gareca (ARG)

Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS)

And here's the line-ups for Denmark v France

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4.18pm: Away from the football

Here are some images away from the action - including a wonderful pic of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un impersonators

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3.45pm: Salah: Egypt will back again in 2022

Egypt’s principal players have apologised for the team’s early exit from the World Cup, with Mohamed Salah vowing to take his side back to the global finals in four years’ time.

Monday’s frustrating 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in Volgograd – they conceded the winner deep into injury time – extended Egypt’s winless run at the World Cup. In three appearances, they have yet to register a victory.

“We want to apologise to all the Egyptian fans who came to support us here in the three matches, I know it is difficult for them, like us,” Salah, scorer of Egypt's goal against the Saudis, said in a post-match interview. “I just want to say that Egypt reached the World Cup after 28 years, some players here do not have the required experience. Thanks to all of them and we will back again in 2022.”

Hector Cuper also spoke about his future with the national team.

Read what the Argentine had to say here.

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3.15pm: Queiroz: Referee should have shown Cristiano Ronaldo a red card

Iran manager Carlos Queiroz reacted angrily after a 1-1 draw with Portugal on Monday doomed his team to elimination from the World Cup, saying they had deserved to win.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo should have been sent off for what he said was an elbow in the face of Morteza Pouraliganji, and Iran should have been awarded at least one more penalty.

Queiroz also implicitly criticised the refereeing and renewed his attacks on the VAR system.

"An elbow is a red card. The rules do not say what if it is Ronaldo or Messi. It is a red card. The decisions must be clear," Queiroz said.

Pressed on whether he thought referees treated stars such as Ronaldo leniently, he said. "You need to ask them.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, reacts as Iran's Morteza Pouraliganji lies injured on the floor. Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, reacts as Iran's Morteza Pouraliganji lies injured on the floor. Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

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2.43pm: Nigeria to send Messi and Argentina home - says Achilles the cat

The omens don't look good for Argentina and Lionel Messi before their final group match against Nigeria on Tuesday – if a "psychic" cat is to be believed.

Messi and his teammates have had a rough time in Russia so far, drawing 1-1 with Iceland and getting thumped 3-0 by Croatia.

And it isn't going to get any better according to Achilles the cat, who has been predicting winners and losers in the tournament from the comfort of the St Petersburg Hermitage museum.

When the opportunity came to pick between Nigeria and Argentina, via two bowls of food placed in front of him with a flag above each, Achilles decided the Super Eagles would win by a nose.

Achilles the cat, that lives in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum, chooses Nigeria while attempting to predict the result of the match between Argentina and Nigeria in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 26, 2018. Anton Vaganov / Reuters
Achilles the cat, that lives in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum, chooses Nigeria while attempting to predict the result of the match between Argentina and Nigeria in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 26, 2018. Anton Vaganov / Reuters

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1.43pm: Onion's undies

Here's one slightly off the cuff.

Graham Onions, the Lancashire fast bowler, is probably regretting taking to Twitter while watching England's game against Panama on Sunday.

England were on the receiving end of some roughhouse tactics from the Panama team during the Group G match.

The former England bowler was clearly not too impressed with the Panamanians. Onions tweeted that if one of the Central Americans did not receive a red card, he would bowl the next day in Lancashire's County Championship match against Lancashire ... in his pants!

Poor old Graham. Three Panama players received yellow cards, but no red cards as England went on to secure a 6-1 win and with it safe passage through to the last 16.

While Onions didn't actually bowl in the match in his undies, he certainly donned them during the warm-up. Check it out.

The moral of the story is: don't write cheques your butt can't carry.

Yes, pun intended.

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1.10pm: Golden oldies

At 45 years and 161 days, Egypt's Essam El Hadary became the oldest ever player to play in a World Cup on Monday.

The goalkeeper was making his debut at the global finals in the 2-1 Group A defeat to Saudi Arabia.

And although the defeat sees Egypt leave Russia with no points, El Hadary will remember the game for a stunning penalty save from Saudi Arabia's Fahid Al Muwallad.

Ian Oxborrow has put together a gallery of the oldest players to appear at a World Cup.

Check out the gallery.

Essam El-Hadary, of Egypt, was 45 years and 161 days when he played against Saudi Arabia on June 25, 2018. He saved a penalty but his side lost 2-1. EPA
Essam El-Hadary, of Egypt, was 45 years and 161 days when he played against Saudi Arabia on June 25, 2018. He saved a penalty but his side lost 2-1. EPA

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11.35am: Want to know about next stage? Here's our updated wallchart

Eight teams have qualified for the knockout stage, and more will join them in the next few days as the World Cup groups next their climax. In fact, five groups yet to have their two qualifying teams decided.

Goal difference and disciplinary record could come into consideration should teams finish level on points - and we could even see the Fifa organising committee drawing lots if the most unlikely of scenarios plays out whereby teams are level on points, goals scored and conceded, and yellow and red cards received.

Our online editor Ian Oxborrow explains what is happening in each group and who could play who in the next round here. You can check out the actual wallchart below.

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11.05am: When you're not watching a game, you can dance

Argentine football fans stumbled into a mini street dance party in St Petersburg on Monday, joining locals who were keen to show off their Latin dancing skills to their newest visitors.

Latin music lovers of all ages unleashed their moves in the spontaneous street dance in the centre of Russia's second citycapital. More than a dozen couples danced the salsa and shimmied to upbeat Latin songs as passers-by on the road looked on in amazement.

You can read the full story here, or watch the video below.

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10.05am: Salah disappointment - in pictures

Mohamed Salah, who had a brilliant club football season with Liverpool in 2017/18, had a far less enjoyable World Cup campaign after Egypt fell to their third consecutive defeat in the tournament on Monday.

The North African side were beaten by Saudi Arabia 2-1, as they exited the stage down and depressed. Salah did his best later to deny he will be retiring from international football after days of speculation he was not happy to be in Egypt's dressing room and that he had fallen out with the football association of his country over a combination of reasons.

In any case, the 26-year-old forward cut a sad figure during Monday's game, which you can check out by clicking at this link, or simply by looking at the pictures below.

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9.15am: Brace yourselves for Day 13

'Morning all! Day 13 of the 2018 World Cup is upon us, and it is a huge one for seven of the eight teams involved. But first let's do a quick recap of yesterday's action.

Portugal got a bit of a scare from Iran on Monday but Cristiano Ronaldo's side kept their cool to avoid defeat. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, but it was not without drama as Ronaldo missed a penalty and was involved in a VAR-related controversy (not VAR again!). Meanwhile, Spain also drew their final Group B game - 2-2 against Morocco - to top the group and book their last-16 match against hosts Russia, who finished second in Group A (but more on that in the next paragraph).

To read a round-up of the Group B action, click here.

Both Group A matches yesterday were dead rubbers since Uruguay and Russia had already make the knockout stages. As it turns out Uruguay proved too strong for the hosts, beating them 3-0 to finish top of the group and set up a mouth-watering last-16 clash against the Portuguese. You can read our English football correspondent Richard Jolly's piece on Uruguay's win here.

Elsewhere, our main man in Russia - John McAuley - was at the Egypt-Saudi Arabia game, which the Arabian Gulf team won 2-1. The game was memorable for the fact that Egypt's veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest man to play at the World Cup - at 45.

To read McAuley's match report, click here. You can also read Saudi manager Antonio Pizzi's reactions here and Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah's remarks here.

Robbie Kruse, Mile Jedinak, Tomas Rogic and Tim Cahill attend a training session at the Park Arena in Sochi. Nelson Almeida / AFP
Robbie Kruse, Mile Jedinak, Tomas Rogic and Tim Cahill attend a training session at the Park Arena in Sochi. Nelson Almeida / AFP

Today's action

Once again, we have four games today.

Two matches kick off at 6pm: Australia v Peru at Fisht Stadium, Sochi and Denmark v France at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. Both Group C games are must-win fixtures for the teams competing as they will determine which two of them make the knockout stages.

The two 10pm kicks involve Group D teams: Nigeria v Argentina at Saint Petersburg Stadium, St Petersburg and Iceland v Croatia at Rostov Arena, Rostov-On-Don. Croatia have already qualified for the next round after wins over Nigeria and Argentina. They will be runaway favourites to beat Iceland, who struggled during their defeat to Nigeria after holding Lionel Messi's Argentina to a 1-1 draw.

On paper, Argentina are favourites to beat Nigeria. But the Albiceleste have been in poor form in the tournament while the Super Eagles will feel buoyant after their win over Iceland. They certainly have the quality to beat this Argentine side, given the state of their minds at the moment.