World Cup Group A & B Wrap: VAR-y Interesting

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Going into the World Cup, Group A was considered a lay down misere for Uruguay and thatโ€™s pretty much the way it panned out, with the South Americans winning all three of their games.

The group was also seen as an easy one for the weak hosts Russia, but no one expected them to come out of the blocks so quickly; they were, however, brought down to earth by Uruguay in the final group match.

Group B was always going to be about Spain and Portugal, although few expected the drama that came today, with Morocco nearly upsetting Spain and Iran almost eliminating Ronaldo & Co.

Group A & B Wrap

Advancing: Uruguay, Russia, Spain, Portugal
Sportsbet pre-tournament prediction: Uruguay, Russia, Spain, Portugal

Good Things
(1) Uruguay taking care of business, winning all three matches and clinching top spot in the group.
(2) Iran nearly stealing a win over Portugal.

(3) The worldwide screentime afforded to Moroccoโ€™s coach Herve Renard doing plenty for his personal image.

Bad Things
(1) Egypt was considered a chance of finishing second, but they lost all three matches, including the finale to Saudi Arabia.
(2) Spain managed to grind out a first-place spot in Group B but you’d hardly call their style part of ‘the beautiful game.’
(3) VAR had far too much influence in Group B, with Iran and Morocco feeling the brunt of it.

Pleasant Surprises
(1) Russia scoring eight goals in its first two matches and putting on a superb display in front of Vladimir Putin in the first game.

(2) With little to play for, Morocco and Saudi Arabia finished strongly.
(3) The back and forth drama of today’s final group matches.

Disappointments
(1) Saudi Arabia in the opener. They qualified ahead of Australia but laid a big egg in the opening match, losing 5-0 to Russia.
(2) Portugal were overly-reliant on Ronaldo, let a lead slip against Iran and now have to play Uruguay instead of Russia.
(3) We didn’t get to see Mo Salah at his best. Even at less than 100%, he managed to score twice.

What do you think?