World Cup 2018: Day 3 live updates as it happened - Croatia win

Wins for France and Denmark in Group C in Russia, while Iceland surprise Argentina in Group D

KALININGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 16:  Luka Modric of Croatia celebrates with Ante Rebic after scoring from a penalty for his sides second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Croatia and Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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1.05am - Sunday fun

That wraps up an entertaining Saturday. Eight goals, five penalties and four games. Pretty good as Saturdays go all in all.

Sunday should be a cracker too. Costa Rica, the surprise package of 2014 when they reached the quarter-finals, kick things off against Serbia in Group E at 4pm UAE time.

Then defending champions Germany start their title defence in Group F at 7pm.

Brazil, the five-time tournament winners, begin their bid for World Cup win No 6 at 10pm when they face Switzerland.

You can find all the action on here. See you tomorrow/later today!


12.55am - Job done for Dalic

Croatia have the three points and lead Group D. Pretty sure Zlatko Dalic would have settled for that at the start of the day.

The Croatians were not at their best, but they did not need to be as an own goal and a Luka Modric penalty defeated a disappointing Nigeria.

Next up for Croatia is Argentina on Thursday, with the South Americans under pressure after drawing 1-1 with Iceland.

For Nigeria they must at the very least avoid defeat against Iceland, on Friday, to keep their qualification hopes alive.


12.35am - Game over for Nigeria

Real Madrid's Luka Modric has made it 2-0 from the penalty spot for Croatia and that should be game, set and match for this Group D encounter.

Daft from  Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong who is penalised for holding on, and borderline hugging, Mario Mandzukic.

It is the fifth penalty of the day and arguably the best taken of the day as Modric sends the goalkeeper the wrong way with an emphatic shot into the corner of the net.


11.50pm - Croatia 1-0 up at half time

It has not been a classic by any means but Zlatko Dalic will take that. The former Al Ain man's side are a goal to the good at the break.

An own goal by Oghenekaro Etebo is the difference maker.

If Croatia can hold on they will top Group D after the first round of games.

But there are still 45 minutes to go and Nigeria will look to hit back and provide Africa with some cheer after Egypt and Morocco's losses on Friday.


11.35pm - Croatia take the lead

It is 1-0 to Croatia in their Group D clash with Nigeria. Mario Mandzukic's diving header is diverted across the line by Nigerian Oghenekaro Etebo.

There had not been much to report in terms of action before this, hopefully this is the catalyst for the game to open up.


11.15pm - Croatia v Nigeria underway

The final game of the day is go. So far it is goalless between Croatia and Nigeria in their Group D clash in Kaliningrad.

If there is a winner in this clash they will top the group as Argentina and Iceland drew earlier in the day.


10.45pm - Focus on Dalic and Croatia

Today's footballing marathon is almost over. We have seen France beat Australia, Argentina draw with Iceland and Denmark get the better of Croatia.

Lets see what Croatia v Nigeria has to offer in the day's second Group D fixture. Kick-off is at 11pm.

Local interest here is on former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic, who is leading the Croatian side. He was bullish on Friday on his side's chances of a good run. in Russia.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Croatia Training - Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia - June 15, 2018   Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic during training   REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. Ivan Alvarado / Reuters


10.20pm - Advantage Ronaldo over Messi

The two footballing superstars have now both played one game at the World Cup.

Lionel Messi had a tough day, missing a penalty in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Iceland.

This was in comparison to Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick for Portugal against Spain.

But, as Ian Hawkey writes here, it is too early to write off the Argentine No 10 having a big impact in Russia.


9.55pm - Denmark win

Peru will look back on this game with a lot of regret. They had chances, missed a penalty, and paid for not taking any of those opportunities as it is Denmark who prevail and take the three points to go joint top of Group C with France.

Youssef Poulsen's strike in the 59th minute enough to give the Danes the points.

They are next up against Australia on Thursday knowing that another victory would all but seal a spot in the last 16.


9.25pm - Denmark lead

Yussuf Poulsen has given Denmark the lead. A relatively simple goal, he is put through and slots calmly home.

A real test of Peru's mettle here. They have played well, missed a penalty, and are now behind.

They have 25 minutes to find a response. Can they do it?



We think it's fair to say Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson is pretty chuffed with his heroics against Argentina earlier today.

“As a goalkeeper, to play for Iceland in the first game of the World Cup, to face the best player in the world, it’s a big moment and a dream come true to save it.”

Read more reactions from the 1-1 draw here.

Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson of Iceland embraces teammate Hordur Magnusson. Peter Powell / EPA
Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson of Iceland embraces teammate Hordur Magnusson. Peter Powell / EPA


A thrilling opening 45 minutes dominated by Peru, who will be kicking themselves they haven't gone into the break a goal to the good against Denmark.

The South Americans have attack on their minds and that was demonstrated with 10 shots in the opening half hour, but none were as more gilt-edged than the penalty won by Christian Cueva minutes before half time.

It was the second penalty awarded via VAR decision of the day but with an entirely different outcome. Where Antonie Griezmann blasted home for France in their 2-1 win over Australia, Cueva could only blast high, wide and very ugly over Kasper Schmeichel's bar.

8.45pm - PENALTY!

The second VAR penalty decision of the day.

Cueva twists and turns in the box and is caught by a retreating Poulsen. The referee initially waved play on but after reviewing on the monitor changed his mind.

Cueva was the man to take the penalty, but like Messi a few hours earlier in Moscow, was unsuccessful from the spot, blasting high over Schmeichel's bar.

Only one penalty was missed at Brazil 2014. We've already had two today!


Another tenuous UAE connection but Denmark's holding midfielder William Kvist is being replaced following a knock from an aerial challenge from former Al Jazira forward Jefferson Farfan.

He is replaced by Ajax's Lasse Schone, who as far as we can tell has no UAE football connections.


Peru's manager Ricardo Gareca is an interesting character.

The Argentine was once upon a time on the UAE FA's shortlist to replace Edguardo Bauza. He has a famous place in World Cup history. It was he, a striker who represented both Boca Juniors and River Plate and partnered Diego Maradona in his country's attack, who scored a fabled goal, against Peru that qualified Argentina for the 1986 World Cup finals in the last match of the group phase. His country went on to win that tournament.

Can he join that elite band who have won the World Cup both as a player and manager?

SARANSK, RUSSIA - JUNE 16:  Ricardo Gareca, Head coach of Peru looks on prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group C match between Peru and Denmark at Mordovia Arena on June 16, 2018 in Saransk, Russia.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Ricardo Gareca, manager of Peru. Elsa / Getty Images


As great as this game is - seriously, the noise from the Peru fans in Saransk makes it feel like the game is being played in Lima - Gary Meenaghan has previewed Brazil's opening match of the World Cup.

Neymar and Co take on Switzerland in their Group E opener on Sunday, and Brazil manager Tite has adopted an interesting tactic in the build up to the match.

Read the story here.

epa06807785 Brazi's Neymar attends a training session in Sochi, Russia, 14 June 2018. The Brazilian team prepares for the FIFA World Cup 2018 taking place in Russia from 14 June until 15 July 2018. Brazil will face Switzerland in the FIFA World Cup 2018 Group E preliminary round soccer match on 17 June 2018. 

(RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial Use Only, not used in association with any commercial entity - Images must not be used in any form of alert service or push service of any kind including via mobile alert services, downloads to mobile devices or MMS messaging - Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage - No alteration is made to, and no text or image is superimposed over, any published image which: (a) intentionally obscures or removes a sponsor identification image; or (b) adds or overlays the commercial identification of any third party which is not officially associated with the FIFA World Cup).  EPA/Bartlomiej Zborowski POLAND OUT  EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Neymar and his Brazil teammates have been treated to a more relaxed environment in Russia compared to four years ago. Bartlomiej Zborowski / EPA

8.08pm - A TALL TALE

Will Denmark look to play long balls and use their considerable height advantage over Peru?

The Danes are 9cm taller than their opponents on average.

Put it in the mixer, Eriksen!

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group C - Peru vs Denmark - Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia - June 16, 2018   Denmark's Christian Eriksen during the warm up before the match    REUTERS/Max Rossi
Denmark's Christian Eriksen during the warm-up before the game against Peru. Max Rossi / Reuters

8pm - AND WE'RE OFF!

A first-ever meeting between Peru and Denmark; none of the current Peruvian squad were even alive the last time their country competed at a World Cup in 1982 - 13,141 days ago.

Fancy another nugget of info on Peru? How about this from our correspondent Richard Jolly:


Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group C match between Peru and Denmark at Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Saturday:


Pedro Gallese - Luis Advincula, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez (capt), Miguel Trauco - Yoshimar Yotun, Renato Tapia - Edison Flores, Christian Cueva, Andre Carrillo - Jefferson Farfan.

Coach: Ricardo Gareca (ARG)


Kasper Schmeichel - Henrik Dalsgaard, Andreas Christensen, Simon Kjaer (capt), Jens Larsen - William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen - Nicolai Jorgensen, Yussuf Poulsen, Pione Sisto.

Coach: Age Hareide (NOR)

Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)


Read more on World Cup 2018:

The National: predictions, winners, losers, top-scorers and players to watch

Download: The National's World Cup 2018 wall chart

Lowdown: where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in Abu Dhabi and kick-off times

Lowdown: where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in Dubai and kick-off times



Egyptian fans unfortunate enough to miss out on a ticket to the Group A opener in Yetkaterinburg on Friday had to settle for the next best thing: watching the game at the Moscow Fan Fest.

Our reporter John McAuley bedded in with them for the day as supporters enjoyed watching their country in action at a global finals for the first time since 1990.

“It’s a great day, it’s Eid, it’s the first game in the World Cup … it’s Salah’s birthday. So it’s perfect,” said one fan.

Let's hope the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay didn't spoil the day too much.

Read the full story here.

epa06810070 Egyptian fans react as they watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay at the FIFA fan zone in Moscow, Russia, 16 June 2018.  EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE
Egypt fans in high spirits at the Fan Fest in Moscow. Zurab Kurtsikidze / EPA


John McAuley was our man in Moscow. Read his report from the Spartak Stadium as Argentina's search for a third World Cup crown started in disappointment at the hands of Iceland.

Read the report here.

Lionel Messi and Argentina had a frustrating start to World Cup 2018 as they drew 1-1 with Iceland in Group D. Matthias Hangst / Getty Images
Lionel Messi and Argentina had a frustrating start to World Cup 2018 as they drew 1-1 with Iceland in Group D. Matthias Hangst / Getty Images


The match stats:


It's started already. The final whistle sounded 90 seconds ago.


Iceland picked up their first-ever point at a World Cup on their tournament debut as they battled Lionel Messi's Argentina to a 1-1 draw in Moscow.

It wasn't a great start to life at the global finals as Iceland fell behind to a Sergio Aguero strike on 19 minutes. The Manchester City striker shifted the ball to his left with his back to goal and unleashed an unstoppable strike to put Argentina ahead.

Argentina's joy was short-lived though as Alfred Finnbogason wrote his name into the record books. The giant striker, who had plowed a lone furrow up front on his own as Iceland sat back to concede dominance of the ball to their opponents, pounced on a loose ball in the Argentine area to sweep home his and his country's first-ever World Cup goal on 23 minutes.

Messi was a constant threat and always the most likely to break the deadlock. The Barcelona man was presented with a gilt-edged opportunity midway through the second half when Argentina were awarded a penalty as Hörður Björgvin Magnússon bundled Maximiliano Meza over in the area.

But where Cristiano Ronaldo succeeded on Friday, Messi failed to do so on Saturday as he was denied by Hannes Þór Halldórsson in the Iceland goal of another unthinkable day in the country's football history.


Argentina's last throw of the dice: Gonzalo Higuain enters the action as an 84th-minute substitute. It's him and Sergio Aguero up front.

Can Iceland hold out with just over 5 minutes left?

6.40pm - 10 MINUTES LEFT

They couldn't could they? Can Iceland - a country of 337,780 - hold the mighty Argetnina, two-time world champions and owner of the one and only Lionel Messi - to a draw on their World Cup debut?

Let's hope that's not live blog updater's curse.


Pavon on for the largely ineffective Di Maria for Argentina. Iceland take off one of their most potent attacking weapons - the long-throwing Gunnarson - to be replaced by the long-flowing locks of Skulason.

6.24pm - PENALTY! 

A clumsy challenge from left-back Magnusson on Meza leaves the referee with little option but to point to the spot.

But where Cristiano Ronaldo succeeded on Friday, Lionel Messi failed to convert from 12 yards.

A fine save from Halldorsson. Could be a huge moment in the game for Iceland.

5.46pm - half time: Argentina 1-1 Iceland

Unlike France v Australia a great opening 45 minutes of football in Moscow. Argentina took the lead through a Sergio Aguero strike before Alfred Finnbogason wrote his name in Icelandic folklore with his country's first goal at a World Cup finals.

5.41pm - an interesting observation 

From women's tennis player Victoria Azarenka:

Are they? Maybe they just seem tall stood next to Mess.

5.26pm - GOAL! Argentina 1-1 Iceland (23 mins)

Iceland, the smallest nation by population to ever appear at a World Cup finals, have scored!

A superb response to falling behind saw them lay siege to the Argentina goal. Sigurdsson drills the ball across the face of goal, Argentina only partially clear it and the ball falls invitingly at the feet of Alfred Finnbogason who slots home to the delirium of the Iceland fans.

Cue the Viking clap!

5.17pm - GOAL! 1-0 Argentina (19 mins)

Sergio Aguero's first World Cup goal and what a goal it was. The Manchester City striker shifts the ball to his left with his back to goal and unleashes an unstoppable strike to put Argentina in the lead.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group D - Argentina vs Iceland - Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 16, 2018   Argentina's Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi in action with Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson      REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Sergio Aguero, left, gave Argentina the lead against Iceland. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

5.17pm - Messi stings Halldorsson's hands

His first sight at goal results in a rasping drive from the Argentina captain from the edge of the box. Halldorsson has a clear view though and is able to beat the ball away.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group D - Argentina vs Iceland - Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 16, 2018   Argentina's Lionel Messi looks on     REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Argentina's Lionel Messi takes a tumble during the first half against Iceland. looks on. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

5.15pm - So close!

Unbelievably, Iceland very nearly take the lead on nine minutes.

Will Caballero makes a hash of an attempted clearance in the Argentina goal. Iceland recycle the ball and it falls invitingly to Birki Bjarnasson but the Iceland midfielder puts his effort just wide.

What a chance.

4.19pm - Over to you, Leo

No rest for the wicked as we move on to the second match of the day as Lionel Messi's Argentina take on Iceland, who are making their debut at a World Cup finals.

Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group D match between Argentina and Iceland at Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Saturday (0100 GMT kick-off):

Here are the team sheets.


Wilfredo Caballero, Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Maximiliano Meza, Lionel Messi (capt), Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli (ARG)


Hannes Halldorsson, Hordur Magnusson, Kari Arnason, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Birkir Savarsson, Emil Hallfredsson, Aron Gunnarsson (capt), Johann Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alfred Finnbogason

Coach: Heimir Hallgrimsson (ISL)

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group C - France vs Australia - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 16, 2018   France's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal from a penalty   REUTERS/John Sibley
France's Antoine Griezmann converts from the penalty spot against Australia. John Sibley / Reuters

3.55pm - Game over! France 2-1 Australia

The referee blows his whistle for full time as France kick-start their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Australia in the opening game of Group C.

While the first half was dull as dishwater, the second 45 minutes was action-packed.

World Cup history was made as for the first time VAR was used to award a penalty. The referee initially waved play on after Josh Rodin looked to have thwarted Antoine Griezmann by fair means but after consultation with the eye in the sky a penalty was awarded in the French striker's favour.

He duly converted on 58 minutes. But less than four minutes later Australia were level after Samuel Umtiti inexplicably handled a cross into the area.

Australia captain Mile Jedinak slotted home to level the scores, before a moment of magic from Paul Pogba settled the game - again via the aid of technology as his delightful chip over Mat Ryan went over the line.

France may have won the match, but technology was the real winner today.

3.37pm - Technology to the rescue again! 2-1 France (81 mins)

Paul Pogba plays a delightful one-two with Olivier Giroud and pulls off an audacious chip, with a slight aid of a deflection off an Australia defender, to chip Mat Ryan in the Socceroos goal.

The ball bounced off the underside of the bar and over the line.

Technology - what a wonderful time to be alive!

3.27pm - France make double substitution

Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann make way for Nebil Fekir and Olivier Giroud. on 69 minutes.

Giroud's head is heavily bandaged. Interestingly he has only ever scored one of his 31 France goals as a substitute.

Can he make it two here in Kazan?

3.19pm - PENALTY! (62 mins) France 1-1 Australia

And another! Samuel Umtiti inexplicably handles a cross into the area and the referee points to the spot.

Australia captain Mile Jedinak steps up and cooly slots home.

It's 1-1. This game has sprung to life from nowhere.

3.14pm - PENALTY! (58 mins) France 1-0 Australia

Paul Pogba plays a delightful ball through for Antoine Griezmann and Josh Risdon puts in a sliding tackle. The referee initially waved play on but a VAR review judged that the Australia defender had caught Griezmann's trailing leg.

The Atletico Madrid striker keeps his cool amid Australia protests to score his first World Cup goal.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group C - France vs Australia - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 16, 2018   France's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal from a penalty   REUTERS/John Sibley
France's Antoine Griezmann converts from the penalty spot against Australia. John Sibley / Reuters

3.07pm - Still goalless - here's a video instead

Five minutes into the second half and still no joy for either side.

If only the play was as entertaining as fans of the Socceroos and Les Bleus.

2.46pm - Goalless at half time between France and Australia

A disappointing opening 45 minutes in Kazan as the first half finishes goalless between France and Australia in Group C.

France captain Hugo Lloris was the busier of the two goalkeepers, pulling off a stunning save from a Trent Sainsbury effort low to his left to keep the Socceroos at bay.

France have not had a shot at goal since the 8th minute.

The next 45 minutes can only get better.



Do you agree with Gerard Pique that Cristiano Ronaldo is 'prone to diving'?



1.50pm - Pique says Ronaldo 'prone to diving'

Spain defender Gerard Pique accused Cristiano Ronaldo of diving to win a penalty and a crucial free kick in Friday's epic 3-3 draw with Portugal and praised his side for battling back after a chaotic week in which manager Julen Lopetegui was sacked.

What do you think?


1.35pm - Teams announced as Giroud on the bench

France manager Didier Deschamps left Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud on the bench for their against Australia as teenager Kylian Mbappe leads Les Bleus' front line in Kazan.

Mbappe has been in great form for Paris Saint-Germain last season and will kick off Saturday's Group C opener flanked by Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona.

Deploying his preferred 4-3-3, 1998 World Cup winners Deschamps' midfield will see Manchester United's Paul Pogba alongside Corentin Tolisso of Bayern Munich and Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante.

A four-man defence composed of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez will have the job of stopping Australia's Andrew Nabbout, of Japanese side Urawa Reds, from scoring on his World Cup debut.

Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic will be the link man for Nabbout, with Bundesliga-based Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin) and Robbie Kruse (VfL Bochum) providing support from the flanks.

Starting line-ups:

France (4-3-3): Hugo Lloris (capt); Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Corentin Tolisso, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba; Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe

Australia (4-2-3-1): Mathew Ryan; Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich; Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak (capt); Robbie Kruse, Tom Rogic, Mathew Leckie; Andrew Nabbout

Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)


12.45pm - WATCH: Insane skills

And if podcasts are not your thing, then ignore Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick for a few minutes and watch this video for one lesser-known man's mad skills with the ball. You're unlikely to regret it.


12.30pm - Listen in: Covering football in Russia

Waiting for the 2pm kick off with little else to do? Then listen to one of the latest episodes from our Extra Time podcast series, in which staff writer John McAuley speaks to deputy sports editor Steve Luckings and assistant sports editor Jon Turner on what he expects while covering World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Spoiler alert: it involves long, really long train journeys.

Listen in.


12.13pm - Brazilian couple driving around world stops in Russia

There are many different ways to have an adventure. Driving around the world to celebrate your three-year honeymoon is one way to do it.

Vanessa Zandona and Lihnio Bergamin have been driving a vintage 1946 Jeep around the world for two years and have arrived in Rostov-on-Don just in time to support Brazil in their opening match of the World Cup against Switzerland.

You read about their travel and what it means to be Brazilian, especially during a world cup by clicking here. Or watch the video below.


11.15am - World Cup debut 'dream come true' for 330,000-strong Iceland

When Johann Berg Gudmundsson was growing up, he never thought he would play in a World Cup. It is not a case of false modesty.

Growing up Icelandic conditioned his expectations. No country Iceland’s size had ever qualified.

Gudmundsson’s formative World Cup memories instead revolved around David Beckham’s red card against Argentina in 1998 and Ronaldinho’s remarkable winner to embarrass David Seaman in 2002.

He supported England at major tournaments. Two years ago, he helped eliminate them from one. He was part of the Iceland side who reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

Now a man whose international debut came in a draw with Azerbaijan is set to face Argentina in Iceland’s maiden World Cup game on Saturday.

You can read this wonderful piece by Richard Jolly here.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Iceland Training - Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 15, 2018   Iceland's Johann Berg Gudmundsson during training   REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Iceland's Johann Berg Gudmundsson cannot wait to hear his team supporters’ trademark thunderclap. Maxim Shemetov / Reuters


10.30am - Dalic, formerly with Al Ain, now with Croatia at the World Cup

Former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic heralded the balance of his Croatia squad as he gets set to make his World Cup bow against Nigeria on Saturday.

The Croat, who led the Garden City club for three years until February last year, takes his national team into their Group D opener against Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad.

Dalic is seeking to guide Croatia in Russia to the knockout stages for the first time since the 1998 World Cup, when their vaunted side made their debut as an independent country. They went on to finish third in France.

This time, Croatia have been given a testing group, with Argentina and Iceland to come after Nigeria.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Croatia Training - Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia - June 15, 2018   Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic during training   REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic is confident has high expectations of his team. Matthew Childs / Reuters


9.30am - Day 3 is here

'Morning all! Just two days into the World Cup we have already seen 13 goals being scored.

What a way for Cristiano Ronaldo to wrap up action on Friday when he scored a hat-trick for Portugal against their Iberian rivals Spain. Here's a match report from the 3-3 draw.

Portugal v Spain - in pictures

It was not the happiest of days for two North African sides as Egypt were beaten by Uruguay, while Iran managed to get the better of Morocco. Both games ended in narrow 1-0 wins.

Richard Jolly was at the Egypt-Uruguay game from where he sent disappointing news that Mohamed Salah was not going to start. The Liverpool forward eventually did not play the game because of a shoulder injury. You can read Jolly's match report here.

One of our other men in Russia, Gary Meenaghan, reported on Morocco's disappointment after losing to Iran. You can read Meenaghan's report here.


France's forward Antoine Griezmann takes part in a training session at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 15, 2018, a day ahead of their Russia World Cup 2018 Group C football match against Australia.   / AFP / FRANCK FIFE
France's forward Antoine Griezmann takes part in a training session at the Kazan Arena ahead of their match against Australia. Franck Fife / AFP

Today's action

Today action starts at 2pm with the first Group C game as hot favourites France take on Asian giants Australia in Kazan. France are the European Championship runners up, while their opponents from down under are the reigning Asian champions.

The other big game starts at 5pm when Lionel Messi's Argentina face minnows Iceland in Moscow. Messi's 'Albiceleste' have not won football's biggest tournament since 1986, and Messi must know he is running out of time.

Other games include Peru v Denmark (Group C) at 8pm in Saransk, and Croatia v Nigeria at 11pm in Kaliningrad.

We have a preview you can read. Stay here for all the action and news throughout the day.



You need a wall chart to keep track of the games? We've got one.

Download it here.


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