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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

World Cup 2018: Day 6 as it happened - Russia on brink of last 16 after defeat of Egypt

In other games on Tuesday, Poland take on Senegal and Egypt face Russia. Watch this space for live updates.

Russia players celebrate the first of their goals against Egypt. Pilar Olivares / Reuters
Russia players celebrate the first of their goals against Egypt. Pilar Olivares / Reuters

12.20am: That's a wrap for Day 6

How brilliant is this World Cup shaping up to be? Another day packed with entertaining football started with Japan earning a historic win over Colombia before Senegal stunned Poland.

Then it was left to hosts Russia to apply the final gloss with a superb win over an Egypt side that welcomed Mohamed Salah back to the side.

Enjoy John McAuley's match report from inside the Saint Petersburg Stadium as a rampant Russia proved too strong for Egypt.

Tomorrow, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia face off in the other Group A match at 7pm (UAE time) after Cristiano Ronaldo leads Portugal against Morocco in Group B at 4pm.

The day then concludes with former world champions Spain taking on Iran at 10pm.

We'll see you then!

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11.55pm: FT: Russia 3 Egypt 1

Another accomplished performance by the tournament hosts as goals from Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba and an own goal by Ahmed Fathi hand Russia victory.

Mohamed Salah pulled one back from the penalty spot but it was too little too late for Egypt.

Unless Saudi Arabia defeat Uruguay tomorrow, Russia are through to the knockout stages. A remarkable position for the hosts to be in given the doom and gloom that surrounded the squad heading in to the tournament.

For Egypt, they are on the brink of elimination having lost their opening game to Uruguay.

A full report will soon follow from The National's John McAuley who is Saint Petersburg to cover the match.

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11.30pm: GOAL! Salah pulls one back for Egypt

Mohamed Salah (who else?) pulls one goal back for Egypt to make it 3-1. The Liverpool star converts from the penalty spot.

Will there be a twist in this tale? Egypt have 25 minutes to pull off an unlikely comeback.

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11.18pm: GOAL! Russia make it 3-0

So much for all the worry heading in to the tournament! Russia have now scored eight goals this World Cup to all but book their place in the knockout stages.

The latest goal is scored by Artem Dzyuba just four minutes after Cheryshev's strike.

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11.15pm: GOAL! Cheryshev doubles Russia's lead

A third goal in two games for Denis Cheryshev who looks to have sent Russia through to the knockout stages.

Still time for Egypt to get something but Russia have been much the better side.

Less than half an hour to go.

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11.05pm: GOAL! Russia take the lead

Own goal by Ahmed Fathi hands the hosts the lead early in the second half.

That is now the fifth own goal of the 2018 World Cup - more than the entire 2014 tournament in Brazil.

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10.55pm: All goalless ahead of second half

Chances came and went for both Russia and Egypt in that first half, with the hosts slightly more on top. However, with Mohamed Salah on the pitch, Egypt will always offer a threat.

Still all to play for in the second half.

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9.40pm: Russia v Egypt fast approaching

It's been another super day of World Cup football in Russia and we still have one more match to go!

All eyes are on the hosts who kick off the second round of group matches against Egypt at 10pm... and there's only one man in the spotlight ahead of this one.

Egypt superstar Mohamed Salah is confirmed in the starting XI.

Here are the teams:

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8.55pm: FT: Senegal 2 Poland 1

A frenetic second half ends with Senegal claiming all three points, and becoming the first African nation to win a game at this World Cup.

Thiago Cionek's own goal gave Senegal the half-time lead, before Mbaye Niang doubled their advantage on the hour mark.

Grzegorz Krychowiak pulled one back for Poland with four minutes remaining and it was the Poles who ramped up the pressure in the final moments of the game.

However, Senegal held firm for a valuable three points.

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8.20pm: GOAL! Senegal double their lead

Poland have it all to do now as Mbaye Niang doubles Senegal's lead after pouncing on some shoddy Poland defending.

Poland have 25 minutes to get something out of this game.

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7.50pm: HT: Poland 0 Senegal 1

Thiago Cionek's own goal the difference between the two sides at the break.

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7.45pm: GOAL! Senegal take lead through own goal

It's taken until seven minutes before half-time but the breakthrough has finally arrived, and it's gone the way of Senegal, courtesy of a Thiago Cionek own goal.

A fortunate goal, but Senegal won't care one bit.

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7.15pm: Nothing to separate Poland and Senegal

Opening 15 minutes have come and gone in this Group H tie and there's nothing between Poland and Senegal. Both sides have had decent spells but nothing too threatening just yet.

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6.25pm: Poland and Senegal teams

One match down, two to go on Day 6 of the 2018 World Cup.

Next up is the final match of the first round of group games as Poland and Senegal prepare to face each other in Group H at the Otkrytie Arena.

Here are the teams...

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5.55pm: FT: Colombia 1 Japan 2

Historic moment for Japan who become the first Asian team to beat a South American side at a World Cup!

It started in ideal fashion when Colombia were reduced to 10-men after Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the third minute for a deliberate handball inside the penalty area. Shinji Kagawa duly converted to confound a nightmare start for Colombia.

However, the remainder of the first half went Colombia's way, who defied their numerical disadvantage to create the best chances, before earning a deserved equaliser when Juan Fernando Quintero's free-kick crept over the line.

The second half was a different affair, though, as Japan made their extra player count, applying constant pressure to Colombia's defence, which eventually led to their winner when Yuya Osako headed home Keisuke Honda's corner.

A dream start for Japan, but plenty of work for Colombia if they are to replicate - or improve on - their quarter-final showing from 2014.

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5.35pm: GOAL! Japan back in front

Japan are back in front, Keisuke Honda - on as a substitute - swings in a corner for Yuya Osako to get on the end of with a fine header.

After a second had dominated by Japan, that goal had been coming.

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5.20pm: Rodriguez makes his way

James Rodriguez, Colombia's star player, makes his belated 2018 World Cup debut, much to the delight of the Colombia fans.

The Bayern Munich/Real Madrid midfielder was one of the stars of the 2014 tournament and will be looking to inspire his side once again.

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5.15pm: All Japan in the second half

Japan are finally looking like the team with the extra man. The Asian side had created a handful of chances to test Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

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5.05pm: Best World Cup pictures so far

As the second half of Colombia v Japan gets underway, have a flick through this gallery put together by The National's photo editor Jake Badger, who has selected his favourite photos of the World Cup so far...

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4.48pm: HT: Colombia 1 Japan 1

All level at the break and it's been an entertaining match so far. Colombia had a shocking start when Carlos Sanchez was sent packing after just three minutes for his deliberate handball inside the penalty area. Shinji Kagawa scored the resulting spot kick to give Japan the lead, only for Juan Fernando Quintero to squeeze home a free kick to equalise for Colombia.

Japan may have the extra man but it's Colombia who are in control of this one.

It's set up nicely for the second half.

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4.40pm: GOAL! Quintero levels for Colombia

Colombia are level thanks to Juan Fernando Quintero's under-the-wall free-kick! A smart finish from the Colombian, certainly, but an absolute clanger from Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

It's nothing less than Colombia deserve though, who have largely been the superior side, even with their one-man deficit.

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4.35pm: Barrios on for Cuadrado...

Just as we write about the danger posed by Juan Cuadrado, he's replaced by Wilmar Barrios on the half hour mark - no doubt in response to Carlos Sanchez's earlier red card.

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4.30pm: Colombia still very much in this

Colombia may have a one-man disadvantage but they are certainly still in this contest. Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado are both looking dangerous.

Japan may sense their best chances are on the counter-attack given their extra man and Colombia's attacking ambition.

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4.05pm: Colombia down to 10 men, Japan slot home penalty

Nightmare start for Colombia as Carlos Sanchez is given his marching orders for a deliberate handball inside the penalty area!

Japan's Shinji Kagawa duly steps up and slots home the penalty.

What drama at the Mordovia Arena!

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3.30pm: James Rodriguez not picked after all

So much for that tweet below.

Attacking midfielder James Rodriguez has been left out of Colombia's starting team to play Japan in their World Cup Group H opener in a big blow to the Latin American side.

The Colombia hero, who won the golden boot in Brazil four years ago, has been troubled by muscle fatigue and the onus will be on all-time leading scorer Radamel Falcao to lead the Cafeteros in his absence.

Four-time Asian champions Japan lost 4-1 to Colombia in Brazil and have been hamstrung by a poor build-up to the tournament, including the sacking of Bosnian manager Vahid Halilhodzic in April.

The Blue Samurai included the experienced duo of midfielder Shinji Kagawa and defender Yuto Nagatomo in their starting line-up.

Colombia: David Ospina - Oscar Murillo, Santiago Arias, Johan Mojica, Davidson Sanchez - Carlos Sanchez, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Quintero, Jefferson Lerma - Radamel Falcao (capt), Jose Izquierdo

Manager: Jose Pekerman (ARG)

Japan: Eiji Kawashima - Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida - Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui, Makoto Hasebe (capt) - Yuya Osako

Manager: Akira Nishino (JPN)

Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)

Colombia's James Rodriguez is said to be suffering from muscle fatigue. Eugene Hoshiko / AP Photo
Colombia's James Rodriguez is said to be suffering from muscle fatigue. Eugene Hoshiko / AP Photo

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3.05pm: How important will James Rodriguez be?

2.55pm: Japan 'lucky to be at World Cup'

Saburo Kawabuchi, president of Japan Top League and one of the most influential figures in Japanese football, caused a stir shortly before his country’s World Cup opener by saying the team's fans were just lucky to be at the World Cup.

Hours before Japan kick off their Russia campaign against Colombia on Tuesday, Kawabuchi said the national team were going nowhere under former manager Vahid Halilhodzic.

“When Halilhodzic was coach, we had no chance of winning,” he wrote on Twitter, comparing Japan to teams like Italy and the Netherlands who did not qualify for Russia.

“We are just lucky to be here now so enjoy the game.”

Halilhodzic was replaced by former Japan Football Association technical director Akira Nishino in April despite the Bosnian leading Japan to qualification for the World Cup.

“Now that Nishino is the coach, I can see a slight hope,” Kawabuchi said.

Kawabuchi played for and managed the Blue Samurai before being president of the JFA from 2002-08.

Japan’s other Group H opponents are Poland and Senegal.

Vahid Halilhodzic was dismissed in April despite Japan's qualification for the World Cup. Eugene Hoshiko / AP Photo
Vahid Halilhodzic was dismissed in April despite Japan's qualification for the World Cup. Eugene Hoshiko / AP Photo

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2pm: Ever tried playing Mordovian football? Watch this video for an idea

A Colombia supporter visits a village in Mordovia, a Russian province the capital of which is Saransk - one of the cities hosting the World Cup. While there, Hector Varela agrees to swap his sports shoes for handmade bast shoes to try his luck at Mordovian football.

The local football game is dubbed "lapotball" – lapot in Russian is the traditional shoes made of vine that Mordovians used to wear in ancient times. While the inner part of the plant is used to produce the shoes, the bark serves as a foundation to make the football, which is heavier than the usual ball. So fans with no experience need to practise and be patient to score.

Find out more by clicking on this link, or watch the video below.

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1.17pm: Talking points ahead of Egypt-Russia game

Ahead of tonight's Group A clash in St Petersburg, our main main in Russia, John McAuley, looks at how Hector Cuper's Egypt side can bounce back to get their World Cup dreams back on track.

Spoiler alert: Cuper's strategy involves Mohamed Salah, but it is does not revolve entirely around the Liverpool forward. Read on.

Egypt manager Hector Cuper has a few issues to ponder about ahead of their game against Russia. Dmitri Lovetsky / AP Photo
Egypt manager Hector Cuper has a few issues to ponder about ahead of their game against Russia. Dmitri Lovetsky / AP Photo

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12.50pm: This parrot does not fancy Japan's chances

Japan's hopes of winning their opening World Cup fixture on Tuesday have been written off before a ball has been kicked - by a chirpy parrot believed to possess psychic powers.

The grey-feathered tipster called Olivia, who lives at Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, predicted that Colombia would beat Group H rivals Japan when they face off in Russia, local media reported on Monday.

Full story here.

Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa, right, attends a team training session at Mordovia Arena in Saransk. Rungroj Yongrit / EPA
Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa, right, attends a team training session at Mordovia Arena in Saransk. Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

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11.45am: A Ronaldo fan rides all the way to Russia

The road to Russia can be tough, but nothing was going to stop Portuguese cyclist Helder Batista from supporting his national team at the World Cup in Russia.

Like the players' figurative long road to the tournament, Batista has covered a lot of ground, spending 45 days peddling 5,100 kilometres across Europe to arrive in Moscow on Monday.

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

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11.20am: Beyond the football in Russia - in pictures

It would be a photographer's dream to travel through the vast landscape that is Russia. After all, it is a country rich with history and culture. Even as the World Cup is in full swing, we take a look at what is happening away from the pitch.

Swipe through the slideshow below to view the pictures.

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10.40am: Croatian player sent home - for indiscipline or injury?

AC Milan striker Nikola Kalinic has returned home from Croatia’s World Cup squad due to a back injury, manager Zlatko Dalic confirmed late on Monday.

Kalinic was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Nigeria with Croatian media reporting he had refused to come on after being left out of the starting line-up. However, in a short statement before training at Croatia’s base in Roshchino, north-west of Saint Petersburg, Dalic claimed injury was the reason for Kalinic’s return to Croatia.

“During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinic was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half. However, he then stated that he wasn’t ready to come on due to a back issue,” Dalic said. “The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday.

"I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision,” the former Al Ain manager added.

Kalinic, who has scored 15 goals in 42 international appearances for Croatia, was overlooked in favour of Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric and Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic against Nigeria.

Croatia's Nikola Kalinic has twice refused to come off the bench to play. Anatoly Maltsev / EPA
Croatia's Nikola Kalinic has twice refused to come off the bench to play. Anatoly Maltsev / EPA

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10.15am: Check out our England player report card

So how did the England players perform in Monday night's game against Tunisia? We know Harry Kane was splendid as player and captain, and he scored the winner. But what about the others in midfield, wings and defence? Here is our online editor Ian Oxborrow's report card.

Swipe through the slideshow below to see how the England players rated.

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9.35am: Day 6 is here

'Morning all!

Day 5 of the World Cup proved to be a fascinating one. One that saw, as our London editor Seth Jacobson put it, broken hoodoos, gnats and VAR controversy. The VAR issue came about during Sweden's win over South Korea. You can read all about it in our English football correspondent Richard Jolly's report here.

There was no dream World Cup debut for Panama as Belgium and Romelu Lukaku proved too good against the Central American minnows, as our European football correspondent Ian Hawkey reports here.

And then there was the England's last-gasp win over Tunisia, which you can read all about here.

Japan manager Akira Nishino, right, looks on as players stretch during a training session ahead of their match against Colombia. Carl Court / Getty Images
Japan manager Akira Nishino, right, looks on as players stretch during a training session ahead of their match against Colombia. Carl Court / Getty Images

Today's action

Today action starts at 4pm with the Group H game between Colombia and Japan at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk.

The other two Group H teams - Poland and Senegal - kick off their campaigns today also. The game will be played at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow.

The late game is the big game of the day, from our perspective, with Egypt taking on hosts Russia as the second round of group games kick off. Egypt, bolstered by a fit Mohamed Salah, are expected to pose a bigger challenge to Russia at Saint Petersburg Stadium, St Petersburg, than Saudi Arabia did in Moscow last Thursday.

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DOWNLOAD

While you stay tuned to what's coming up, why don't you download our wall chart to keep track of the games? You can get it here.

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Oh, and do you need a one-stop shop for everything from predictions, group guides, picture galleries and where to watch all 64 games in the UAE?

You're in luck then.

Visit our World Cup landing page to read expert opinion and features throughout the June 14-July 15 tournament.

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