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World Cup 2018 Matchday 3 recap: Messi struggles, European teams thrive

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The four-pack of games offered some exciting moments and surprising results.

Argentina v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images

Day three at the 2018 FIFA World Cup was a jam packed day of soccer with four different matches offering a variety of storylines. From Lionel Messi’s Argentina making their tournament debuts to Peru returning to the world’s biggest stage for the first time in nearly four decades, it was an entertaining day. Here’s a short run-down of all four matches:

France 2-1 Australia

In the day’s first match, France topped a feisty Australia in a tight affair, 2-1. The story of the match was undoubtedly technology in soccer as Les Bleus had both of their goals aided by the two different technologies available to the officials. After a dreadful scoreless first half, France were awarded a controversial penalty via a review by the Video Assistant Referee system.

The Aussies equalized via a penalty of their own, but France would not be denied. Paul Pogba notched the winner with less than half of an hour remaining. Some beautiful build-up play by the Manchester United midfielder resulted in a deflected shot that hit off the crossbar and landed near the goal-line. After a few seconds of appeals, goal-line technology informed the referee that the ball did cross the line. It wasn’t a convincing performance for the French, but it’s three points to open the tournament nonetheless.

Peru 0-1 Denmark

Peru’s first World Cup in 36 years got off to a heartbreaking start against Denmark as the South Americans fell, 1-0. The Peruvians were scintillating to watch from the first minute to the last. They created tons of chances with their exciting attacking play, but were stifled by Kasper Schmeichel. They even missed a penalty that could’ve seen them take the lead in the first half. A counter-attack goal by Yussuf Poulsen would be the difference in the match, giving the Danish all three points despite Peru’s brilliant showing.

Group C Standings

Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
FRA 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
DEN 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
AUS 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
PER 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0

Argentina 1-1 Iceland

Lionel Messi’s possibly last chance at World Cup glory did not get off to the best of starts. Sergio Aguero put Argentina up early in the match, but Iceland stormed right back to equalize. The big talking point for this match surrounds Messi. Argentina were awarded a penalty halfway through the second half. Messi stepped up to the spot with the pressure of his nation on his shoulders and was stopped by Iceland’s Hannes Halldorsson. Argentina get off to a disappointing start, while a point will have Iceland dreaming big in a group that can be escaped.

Croatia vs. Nigeria

Croatia topped Nigeria, 2-0, in what was a rather dull match. An own goal and a Luka Modric penalty was enough for Croatia to take the three points to kick off their Group D adventure on top of the standings.

Group D Standings

Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
Teams W D L GF GA GD PTS
CRO 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
ISL 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
ARG 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
NGA 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0