“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 Tuesday’s match play:
If there was ever a clear No. 1 in terms of overall importance, it happened on Tuesday. Anyone paying attention to Tuesday’s matches can already guess the top tally. If you weren’t, get ready to be wowed. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:
June 26, 2018
No. 8 – Gylfi Sigurdsson – Iceland vs. Croatia
Iceland left the World Cup without a win, and only a point, but they’ll have this penalty kick to maintain warm memories before taking a whack at 2022 qualifying.
No. 7 – Victor Moses – Nigeria vs. Argentina
This one almost wrecked Argentina’s chances of advancing. Almost. The flip in celebration was actually more impressive than the goal, which came on a penalty kick. Been a lot of those in this tournament.
No. 6 – Andre Carrillo – Peru vs. Australia
With Paolo Guerrero’s cross setting up this screamer by Andre Carrillo, Peru notched their first World Cup goal since 1982, while also posting the country’s first World Cup win since 1978. This was a big one for Los Incas.
No. 5 – Paolo Guerrero – Peru vs. Australia
If one goal can be historic, a second goal can be cathartic for a nation not accustomed to victories on the world’s biggest soccer stage. This strike from Paolo Guerrero came when a Christian Cueva attempt was deflected to a waiting Guerrero. In an instant, Peru led 2-0.
No. 4 – Milan Badelj – Croatia vs. Iceland
Croatia was already in, and likely the Group D winner pending an epic Nigeria blowout victory that never came to fruition. But this Milan Badelj hammer in the 53rd minute shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes awareness is half the battle.
No. 3 – Lionel Messi – Argentina vs. Nigeria
At last! An actual goal in the 2018 World Cup from Lionel Messi. Credit a fantastic ball from Ever Banega to build up this goal from Messi, who stayed a step in front of Nigeria’s Kenneth Omeruo before putting Argentina up 1-0, giving life to a side that had shown very little in its two previous matches.
No. 2 – Ivan Perisic – Croatia vs. Iceland
It was a skilled strike and it sewed up a perfect nine points for Croatia in Group D. This did have some impact, though. Had Iceland been the side to break the 1-all tie, we’d be talking about Iceland in the knockouts and not Argentina.
No. 1 – Marcos Rojo – Argentina vs. Nigeria
This goal accomplished two things. It pushed Argentina through to the knockout stages. It drew a large cheer from staffing in The Bat Flip’s New Florence bureau. But Gabriel Mercado’s cross to Rojo in the 18 opened a celebration-inducing sequence that came with a goal, Lionel Messi getting a ride on Rojo’s back and seemingly anyone in an Argentina kit joining the dogpile. That’s not including the legendary (and cartoonish) Diego Maradona playing the part of scoreboard in celebration.
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: Tuesday, June 26th
It took until Match-day 3, but Lionel Messi finally arrived at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and just in the nick of time for Argentina. Messi opened the scoring in the first half but it came down to a late Marcos Rojo goal to push Argentina through to the Round of 16.
In other games, France and Denmark battled to the first goalless draw of the tournament, Peru won its first World Cup game in 40 years, and Croatia capped a strong group stage with a victory over Iceland. Everything you need to know or may have missed is right here in our daily World Cupdate.
Denmark 0-0 France
Our first goalless draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup comes courtesy of France and Denmark in Group C. Coming into the match, both sides knew a was a good result for everyone involved. France already booked their spot in the Round of 16 but won the group with the point. Denmark advances as the runner-up, earning five points across three matches.
Chances came and went for both teams but nothing materialized into a goal. France rested a few regulars in preparation for the knockout rounds which begin Saturday where they will take on Lionel Messi and Argentina. Denmark is back in action on Sunday against Croatia.
France made several changes to their lineup but still got a point against Denmark to top the group.
Australia had an outside chance of making the Round of 16 coming into Tuesday’s match against Peru but they left with a last place finish in Group C. Goals from André Carrillo and suspended then unsuspended captain Paolo Guerrero gave Peru its first World Cup win in 40 years in their first tournament appearance since 1982. Peru played exciting football through their first two matches but could not find a goal. Already eliminated, Peru played its best match of the tournament against Australia and was rewarded with a deserved three points.
André Carrillo | PER (18′)
Paolo Guerrero | PER (50′)
Peru recorded their first goal FIFA World Cup goal in 36 years in a win over Australia.
Through two matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Argentina’s tournament was a nightmare. Sitting on a single point in Group D from a draw with Iceland, it looked like the 2014 runner-ups were on their way home. Then Lionel Messi decided to join the party and save his country from humiliation.
Just 14 minutes into the match, Messi received a pass from Éver Banega and beat the Nigerian goalkeepers to put Argentina up 1-0 in the first half. That lead was erased in the 51st minute. on a penalty by Victor Moses and all of the sudden, Argentina was once again facing elimination. Enter Marcos Rojo, the newest Argentine football hero. In the closing minutes, Rojo hit a cross on the volley into the bottom corner to give Argentina the lead for good and a spot in the Round of 16.
The plan for Nigeria was always to focus on the 2022 FIFA World Cup as their target for glory, but that doesn’t make this sting any less in the moment. For Argentina, they avoid a massive embarrassment on the world stage and survive to face Group C winner France on Saturday.
Iceland have been a great story in international soccer over the past two years but sometimes those stories don’t always end the way you hope. Earning a draw against Argentina in their first ever World Cup match is an amazing accomplishment for the small island nation and something they’ll hold on to forever.
Now is Croatia’s time in the sun and they have a look of a true contender in Russia. Their third win in three tries, 2-1 over Iceland, gives them all nine possible points from the group stage. Goals from Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic solidified their stranglehold atop Group D, where they have looked dominant. The bracket sets up in a somewhat favorable manner, beginning on Sunday against Group C runner-up Denmark.
Milan Badelj | CRO (53′)
Gylfi Sigurdsson | ISL (76′ PEN)
Ivan Perisic | CRO (90′)
Croatia put Iceland away to secure the top spot in Group D.
That concludes the second of day of action for Match-day 3 of the group stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Moving on are France, Denmark, Croatia, and Argentina. Next up is Group E and Group F to play their final matches on Wednesday.
Goals of the Day
A goal can change everything. It can erase 40 years of failure, provide redemption, or even send your country into a state ecstasy. Here are the top three goal’s from Tuesday’s slate of action.
André Carrillo (Peru)
Carrillo’s marker was the first Peru goal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the first time Peru has scored a World Cup goal since 1982. It also turned into the game winning goal to give Peru a consolation three points.
They had to wait 36 years, but Peru finally get their goal! 🇵🇪🙌
Everything about this goal is pure Messi. From the pass reception to the finish past the goalkeeper, he made the difficult seem like a walk in the park. To this point, Russia had been a nightmare for Messi and Argentina, but in this moment, all was right with the game of soccer. The goal also makes Messi the first player ever to score a World Cup goal in his teens, 20’s, and 30’s.
Perhaps the most unlikely player on the field to score, Rojo becomes an instant legend across Argentina with this goal that sends his country into the Round of 16 when they were moments away from crashing out of the tournament altogether.
Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.
Match-day 3 of group stage play is now halfway over and four Round of 16 matchups are now set with Group C and Group D wrapping up play. Much like Monday, most of action on Tuesday was saved for the latter pair of matches that came down to the final seconds.
France already booked their spot in the Round of 16 last week but claimed the Group C crown with a draw against Denmark. The draw also benefitted Denmark, giving them a spot in the Round of 16 as well. Peru salvaged their first World Cup appearance since 1982 with a victory over Australia.
Croatia claimed all nine possible points from the group stage with a win over Iceland in their final match and the top spot in Group D. Argentina staved off elimination with a late goal to knock-off Nigeria and advance as the group runner-up. A disappointing end for Nigeria who are already looking forward to 2022. Iceland’s inaugural World Cup comes to an end as well.
Round of 16 Outlook
Saturday, June 30: France (1C) v. Argentina (2D)
Sunday, July 1: Croatia (1D) v. Denmark (2C)
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, Denmark
Group D: Croatia, Argentina
Group G: England and Belgium (seeding still TBD)
Group A: Saudi Arabia, Egypt
Group B: Iran, Morocco
Group C: Peru, Australia
Group D: Nigeria, Iceland
Group E: Costa Rica
Group G: Panama, Tunisia
Group H: Poland
Here’s What’s Next: Wednesday, June 27th
Day 3 of this final group stage match-day features several different scenarios that could play out depending on the results of each match. Seven of the eight teams in action on Wednesday are still in contention for a spot in the Round of 16.
Group F has the potential to finish with three teams level on six points a piece meaning tiebreakers could come into play. Meanwhile in Group E, three sides remain in the hunt where an outright victory by any of the three puts them into the next round.
If Wednesday is anything like the last two days, expect plenty of drama and excitement right down to the final whistle.
Korea Republic v. Germany (Group F)
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
How to Watch: FS1
There is a ton to play for in Group F where a team with six points could potentially miss the knockout rounds depending on tiebreakers. Germany play its weakest opponent so far in South Korea where they may need to run up the score a bit to give them an edge should tiebreakers come into play.
Mexico v. Sweden (Group F)
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Ekaterinburg Arena (Ekaterinburg)
How to Watch: FOX
It’s pretty cut and dry for Mexico entering this final match of group play, a draw against Sweden books a spot in the Round of 16 and the top spot in Group F. A win is simply a bonus for El Tri in this match. If Sweden comes away with all three points, then it could be complete chaos depending on margin of victory and goals scored.
Serbia v. Brazil (Group E)
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
How to Watch: FOX
Both Serbia and Brazil remain alive for a spot in the Round of 16, and frankly, control their own destiny in this match. A win from either side will be enough to lift them into the knockout stages and possibly the overall group victory.
Switzerland will have its full squad for this matchup after Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri avoided suspensions from FIFA for controversial actions against Serbia. Costa Rica has already been eliminated but they have enough talent to play spoiler. A draw will be enough to qualify the Swiss for the Round of 16.
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 change following Tuesday’s action.
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.