“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.
A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:
Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.
Now let’s rank some goals from Monday’s match play:
A dozen goals punched Monday’s card with some incredible drama in Group B closing the day. Will a penalty kick actually crack the top half of the ranking? As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:
June 25, 2018
No. 12 – Salman Al Faraj – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt
This VAR-assisted ditty came during first-half stoppage time when Salman Al Faraj was taken down in the 18. The Saudi Arabian midfielder took advantage of the penalty kick ruling with an equalizer that gave Saudi Arabia its first goal of the tournament.
No. 11 – Khalid Boutaib – Morocco vs. Spain
A long run and an uncontested strike led to Morocco’s first goal in a very heated upset bid against Spain.n Better goals from this match are still to come.
No. 10 – Edinson Cavani – Uruguay vs. Russia
When Diego Godin’s initial header attempt off a corner kick was halted, Edinson Cavani was there to scoop up the rebound and net Uruguay’s third goal of the day, in the 90th minute against the host squad.
No. 9 – Denis Cheryshev (own goal) – Uruguay vs. Russia
Denis Cheryshev found the net again, but this one wasn’t exactly helpful to the Russian cause. The set-piece sequence that led to this goal wrapped up when Diego Laxalt sent a boomer of Cheryshev’s leg that redirected into the Russian net, giving Uruguay a 2-0 lead at that point.
No. 8 – Isco – Spain vs Morocco
While the world still waits for Spain to figure it out, Isco’s close-range finish off Andres Iniesta’s backdoor pass certainly made it look like Spain was about to overwhelm Morocco. Oh, how wrong we were.
No. 7 – Mohamed Salah – Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia
Just a little flick of the toe from Mohamed Salah after controlling this long through ball gave Egypt its first lead of the World Cup. Racing between two defenders and encountering a goalkeeper playing a little bit forward, Salah bumped this ball with just enough arc to get over what it needed to and into the net.
No. 6 – Salem Aldawsari – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt
This was a nice little segment of teamwork leading to a game-winning goal in a match that only meant that someone might leave Russia with a win. The flip afterward was also sharp.
No. 5 – Luis Suarez – Uruguay vs. Russia
It was at this very moment that Uruguay had clinched Group A. Luis Suarez, who has been relatively tame this tourney, struck this free kick as the wall on his right shifted. The only thing stopping this strike was the net.
No. 4 – Youssef En-Nesyri – Morocco vs. Spain
This header off a set piece triggered a two-game rampage of incredible chaos to close out happenings in Group B, where the only known end was that Morocco could only play spoiler. The 21-year-old’s 81st-minute goal gave Morocco a 2-1 lead and let the world imagine the unreal amounts of chaos that were to follow.
No. 3 – Ricardo Quaresma – Portugal vs. Iran
This was a banger. Glory be to the boot that scores Portugal’s first goal not tallied by Cristiano Ronaldo. With Group B still wide open, this looked like it was going to hold Portugal’s claim to the top spot with Iberian rival Spain locked in a struggle with Morocco, but …
No. 2 – Karim Ansarifard – Iran vs. Portugal
A hand ball in the 18 granted this penalty to Iran, taken by Karim Ansarifard. This top-corner screamer knotted the match and set up a finish where Iran alllllllllllmost got a second goal, the Group B crown and a spot in the Round of 16. Alas, a draw and elimination was awaiting Iran as Portugal held on to the second advancement from the group.
No. 1 – Iago Aspas – Spain vs. Morocco
So, VAR had to verify that Iago Aspas was not offside before granting this incredibly important equalizer. The back-heel deflection forged a draw for Spain and by virtue of having scored more goals than Portugal, which also finished with five points in Group B, gave Spain the top spot in the group.
Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.
Here’s What Happened: Monday, June 25th
The final round of group stage matches kicked off Monday and Group B brought all the drama you could ever want. Group A just the day started and Russia’s storybook tournament hit a snag in a 3-0 loss to Uruguay that relegated the hosts to second place in the group. Luis Suárez scored what turned out to be the game winning goal just 10 minutes in as his Uruguay side cruised to first place.
Over in Group B, Portugal were in position to win the group until their match with Iran entered stoppage time. A VAR awarded penalty brought Iran level and they came within inches of winning the game in the dying seconds. If Iran scored, Portugal would have been eliminated from competition and Iran would have won the group. Instead, Spain came out on top of Group B after a late goal gave them a draw with Morocco. Spain will now face Russia in the Round of 16 while Portugal jump across the bracket to take on Uruguay.
Uruguay 3-0 Russia
Uruguay and Russia were the first two teams to qualify for the Round of 16 and they squared off on Monday to determine the winner and runner-up of Group A. Ten minutes into the match, Luis Suárez opened the scoring from a free kick and Uruguay never looked back. One time Golden Boot leader Denis Cheryshev found the back of the net again but this time for the wrong team. His own goal gave Uruguay a 2-0 that looked insurmountable when Russia went down to 10 men.
Suárez’s striking partner Edinson Cavani capped the scoring his his first goal of the tournament in the 90th minute to put a final stamp on Uruguay’s spot atop Group A.
As group winner, Uruguay will now face Group B runner-up Portugal in the Round of 16 on Saturday. Russia will still move on and face Group B winner Spain on Sunday.
Luis Suárez | URU (10′)
Denis Cheryshev | URU (23′ OG)
Edinson Cavani | URU (90′)
Suarez opened the scoring early and Uruguay never looked back as La Celeste secured the top spot in Group A by beating Russia.
A disastrous 2018 World Cup became even uglier for Egypt in a 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their final match of the tournament. Mo Salah opened the scoring for Egypt and it appeared for a time that the Pharaohs may avoid being shut out in the standings. Unfortunately, that scoreline did not hold as Saudi Arabia equalized in first half stoppage time then found a late winner in second half stoppage time to claim all three points.
Saudi Arabia exits the 2018 World Cup with a small consolation victory while Egypt faces a muddied future with rumors floating around that Mo Salah is contemplating retirement from international football.
Mo Salah | EGY (22′)
Salman Al-Faraj | KSA (45’+6′ PEN)
Salem Al-Dawsari | KSA (90’+5′)
Egypt scored first, but Saudi Arabia fought back to get the win late.
Ever since firing their manager less than 48 hours before their first match of the tournament, 2010 champions Spain have looked anything but convincing through two matches. Still needing a result against Morocco to advance to the knockout rounds, Spain stood on the brink of crashing out of the World Cup in the group stage for the second straight time. Morocco held two separate leads but Spain kept fighting back and were able to get a draw.
For most of the afternoon, Spain was on track to finish second in the group due to Portugal’s lead over Iran, but thanks to Iran’s late equalizer, Spain won Group B when all was said and done.
Spain live to see another day and now prepare to take on hosts Russia in the Round of 16 on Sunday in Moscow.
Khalid Boutaïb | MOR (14′)
Isco | ESP (19′)
Youssef En-Nesyri | MOR (81′)
Iago Aspas | ESP (90’+1′)
Spain struggled, but got a late goal to draw with Morocco in their group B finale.
For 90 minutes, it appeared as if Portugal was going to not only cruise into the Round of 16, but do it as the winner of a surprisingly difficult Group B. Then second half stoppage time began and chaos broke loose between Portugal and Iran.
Ricardo Quaresma gave Portugal a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute of the first half and that lead remained in tact for almost the rest of the way until VAR awarded Iran with a penalty in second half stoppage time. Karim Ansarifard converted the penalty and all of the sudden, Iran was a goal away of advancing and knocking Portugal out of the competition. Iran came agonizingly close to a last second winner but the shot sailed wide and Portugal hung on for a draw and a spot in the Round of 16.
The late Iran goal did have a major impact on Group B as it dropped Portugal to second place in the group, setting up a date with Group A winner Uruguay on Saturday.
Ricardo Quaresma | POR (45′)
Karim Ansarifard | IRN (90’+3′ PEN)
Ronaldo’s failed penalty almost cost Portugal a spot in the round of 16.
That wraps all action from Group A and Group B at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Uruguay, Russia, Spain, and Portugal all advance to the Round of 16. Next up, Group C and Group D contest their final group matches later today.
Goals of the Day
Match-day 3 of group stage competition is now underway in Russia, and with it, a few crowd pleasing strikes. Here are our three best from Monday’s action.
Luis Suárez (Uruguay)
No one knew it at the time, but this free kick goal from Luis Suárez turned out to be the Group A winning goal as his Uruguay side defeated Russia 3-0. Suárez avoids the wall with a low shot along the ground that beats the outstretched Russian goalkeeper.
This is not the World Cup Mo Salah intended to have in any form but at least he still leaves Russia with two goals, including this beauty against Saudi Arabia. We can only hope this is not the last time we see Salah in a World Cup.
The goal that quite simply put Portugal into the Round of 16 came courtesy of 34 year old Ricardo Quaresma with the outside of his right foot. Making his first start of the 2018 World Cup, Quaresma delivered for his team on the stroke of halftime.
OH MY, Quaresma! 😱😱
The 34-year-old rewards his manager with a beautiful outside-of-the-foot shot that finds the upper corner. pic.twitter.com/wmhTCm7X8y
Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.
A dramatic beginning to the final round of group stage matches provides us with our first matchups of the Round of 16 after Group A and Group B completed their portion of the competition. Here’s how it all shakes out after Monday’s games.
Uruguay’s victory over Russia gives them all nine possible points from the group stage and the top spot in the group. Saudi Arabia’s late winner over Egypt sees them leave the World Cup with three points as a consolation prize.
A drama filled final match-day for Group B was decided in the final moments with both games ending in draws, setting the final group standings shown above. Spain wins the group courtesy the second tie-breaker over Portugal for most goals scored. Iran came agonizingly close to advancing but could not find a late winner against Portugal. Three strong games from Morocco only netted them a single point but still something to build on.
Round of 16 Outlook
Here is how the Round of 16 will shape up for teams from Group A and Group B.
Saturday, June 30: Uruguay (1A) v. Portugal (2B)
Sunday, July 1: Spain (2A) v. Russia (1B)
Who is Moving on, Who is Going Home
As groups move through their third round of matches, the knockout bracket will being to fill out. Here are the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 and the teams that will be heading home.
Group A: Uruguay, Russia
Group B: Spain, Portugal
Group C: France
Group D: Croatia
Group G: England and Belgium (seeding still TBD)
Group A: Saudi Arabia, Egypt
Group B: Iran, Morocco
Group C: Peru
Group E: Costa Rica
Group G: Panama, Tunisia
Group H: Poland
Here’s What’s Next: Tuesday, June 26th
Looking at Tuesday’s World Cup schedule, there are many great storylines that could be born if results fall the right way. Messi could lead Argentina back from the brink, Nigeria could fly into the Round of 16, Iceland can write another fairytale. That’s just in Group D. Denmark could shock the world with an upset of France or Australia could make a surprise trip to the knockouts if things fall their way.
You won’t want to miss a second of Tuesday’s action. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s matches.
Australia v. Peru (Group C)
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
How to Watch: FS1
If they hope to extend their stay in Russia, Australia knows it absolutely needs all three points from this game. Things will have to break their way in the other game as well but they need to take care of business on their end first. For Peru, leaving Russia with three points from this match would be reason for celebration after playing in their first World Cup since 1982.
Denmark v. France (Group C)
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
How to Watch: FOX
The only guarantee going into this match is France will be advancing on regardless of the result. A win or draw for France sends it through as the group winner to face the runner-up from Group D. If Denmark can at least get a draw they will go through but all three points will give them the top spot in Group C.
Nigeria v. Argentina (Group D)
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Saint Petersburg Stadium (St. Petersburg)
How to Watch: FOX
Argentina have been in complete disarray since their loss to Croatia last week but there is still hope for a spot in the Round of 16. A win from Messi and Co. gives them four points and give them the inside track for the second place spot in the group. Nigeria are coming off a convincing win over Iceland and know they only need a draw to book their own spot in the next round.
Iceland v. Croatia (Group D)
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Rostov Arena (Rostov-On-Don)
How to Watch: FS1
Two commanding performances from Croatia have placed it in the Group D driver’s seat heading into this final match day. Already in the Round of 16, Croatia will only need a draw to secure the top spot and take on the Group C runner-up. Iceland are a great story and could its inaugural World Cup into a fairytale if they can pull off the upset and steal all three points.
You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at FoxSports.com with a cable sign in.
If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.
All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time
Golden Boot Standings
The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
No real change here following Monday’s matches. Mo Salah jumps into the Top 10 for the time being with his goal against Saudi Arabia. Cristiano Ronaldo had an opportunity to tie Harry Kane but missed a penalty in the second half.
Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.