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World Cup 2018: Three early surprises in the Group Stage

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
2.79K   //    17 Jun 2018, 13:13 IST

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Ronaldo took home the ball after his hattrick

Cristiano Ronaldo stole the headlines for scoring the first hattrick of the competition against Spain. During the match between Portugal and Spain, the two sides fought to a 3-3 draw, scoring six goals in total, which is the highest number of goals as of 17 June 2018. It was one of the most highly anticipated matches in the Group Stage as it could decide who would top the group at the end of the day.

With the limelight all on the big guns, some of the underdogs have impressed the world, showing an extremely talented and resilient side of them. One would have expected France to cruise to victory against a much weaker Australian side. However, Pogba and his team struggled and had to fight hard before they could secure the victory. At the same time, fans were expecting Messi and his team to work wonders against Iceland, who are participating in their first World Cup. Unfortunately, the Argentines could only get a point and allowed the Icelanders to get onto the scoresheet.

There had been lots of surprises and more could be coming in the rest of the competition. Looking at just the first four groups who had completed the first round of the group stage tie, there are three nations which have caught our attention. Here is a look at who the three countries are.


#3 Russia

Russia v Saudi Arabia: Group A - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Golovin scored a stunning free-kick to cap off an impressive performance from his side

Russia was the underdogs in the competition as the host nation played against Saudi Arabia in the first match of World Cup 2018. Both were the two lowest ranked side and nothing much was expected. Despite that, Russia surprised many to put up a convincing 5-0 victory over their opponents.

Egypt and Uruguay were expected to advance into the next round. The latter emerged victorious after a late goal from Jose Gimenez. As things stand, Russia top Group A with a superior goal difference. The host country scored three goals after the break, including two during injury time. The best and most remarkable goal probably came from Aleksandr Golovin. The youngster scored directly from his free-kick, leaving everyone stunned as the stadium erupted in cheers.

No one had anticipated the opening match to consist of five goals which were all scored from the home side. Now, the Russians are due to face Egypt first before meeting Uruguay in the final tie of Group A. The certain victory surely gave the head coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, and his team the confidence to aim far and go far.


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