Group C obviously was the most important to Aussie fans and after a couple of decent efforts against France and Denmark, the Socceroos seemed to forget how to score and were beaten soundly by Peru.
Group D was fascinating from the get-go and while Argentina flirted with an early exit, Messi & Co. ultimately managed one of the tournament’s great escape acts.
Group C & D Wrap
Advancing: France, Denmark, Croatia, Argentina
Sportsbet pre-tournament prediction: France, Australia, Argentina, Croatia
(1) Love them or hate them, Argentina was down and out, but managed to find a way back into the game and into the Round of 16.
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) June 26, 2018
(2) Croatia and its so-called ‘Golden Generation’ breezed through the group and will now face a very beatable Danish team.
(3) Maradona: yes he’s a lunatic but he’s a damned entertaining lunatic.
(1) Like most other groups, VAR raised its ugly head at times and was strangely silent at others.
— Chris Hughes (@chrisyozz) June 26, 2018
(2) Speaking of VAR, there appeared to be a handball against Argentina that wasn’t given and (if given and converted) could ultimately have given Nigeria a 2-1 lead.
(3) France and Denmark played the first 0-0 draw of the tournament – and trust me, it was a snooze fest.
(1) Daniel Arzani: The 19-year old is a sensation and while some called for him to start, this was probably the best way to introduce him to the big stage.
(2) Nigeria: Always fun to watch, and this team had something extra. Unfortunately, a desperate effort from Argentina kept them out of the knockout rounds.
(3) The games continuing to be available on SBS, thanks to the Optus debacle.
(1) The furore around Tim Cahill: the number of keyboard warriors (and even a few non-football journos) who felt it necessary to weigh in and even write about Bert Van Marwijk’s handling of Cahill was extraordinary. The bottom line is that an ageing Cahill, who had played very few minutes in the lead up to the World Cup, was never – ever – going to start a game.
Socceroos hopes resting on a 38 year-old war horse and a 19 year-old who’s played 20 professional games. We just can’t score. #AUSPER
— Michael Tomalaris (@miketomalaris) June 26, 2018
(2) Iceland: The darlings of Euro 2016 started strong by holding Argentina to a 1-1 draw, but then fizzed out, losing to Nigeria and Croatia.
(3) France won Group C easily but hardly inspired and didn’t look completely in synch.