A rampant Russia has continued their dream run as the host nation.

What Happened

We’ve found out which Group A teams will progress to the World Cup Round of 16 as the two sides who were victorious in Match Day 1 got the three points once again.

Free-scoring Russia have eight goals already in the tournament following a 3-1 win over Egypt. Their form has come as a real surprise and are clearly lapping up the opportunity to play in front of their home supporters. They’re in the box seat to top their group with a superior goal difference over next best Uruguay.

The Uruguayans got a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia to level themselves up with Russia on six points. Luis Suarez was the difference with the solitary goal of the game and while Uruguay would like more from their attacking prowess, their defence has kept a second clean sheet in a row.

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Stand Out Performers

Denis Cheryshev is putting his hand up for player of the tournament in a Russia side that can’t stop scoring at the moment. He got his third goal of the campaign which at one point put him alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in the golden boot race.

It’s amazing to think that Cheryshev was originally on the bench in the first game, but he has cemented his place in the starting XI due to a void created by the injury to Alan Dzagoev.

Cheryshev is the breakout player of this year’s World Cup so far and showed his goal-scoring ability is no fluke as he met Mario Fernandes’ low cross and put away a first time shot.

Talking Points

The two nations in this group that haven’t had much World Cup experience will learn plenty from their experience.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s hopes of qualifying have come to end and against Uruguay they both came close to nicking a point, particularly Egypt who were very unlucky with the late goal conceded.

The difference was the finishing, between the two sides only the injury returnee Mohamed Salah found the back of the net and that was via a penalty. When they play for pride in Match Day 3 it’ll be interesting to see if they can address their goal scoring woes.

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What it Means

The only interest that remains from Group A is who will finish in what position on the table. Depending on the results in Match Day 3, positions can still change with first versus second and third versus fourth the final group stage fixtures.

Needs Work

Can Uruguay find some consistency from Suarez and Edinson Cavani? Between the pair they only have one goal between them from two games which for their lofty standards is not an ideal return. Suarez’s goal was a fortunate one too as he benefited from a mishap in Saudi’s defence from a corner.

The reaction time from Suarez to get a boot on the ball was a sign that he can be deadly in front of goal and when on song he can bury most, if not all the chances that fall his way.

When Cavani and Suarez are at their best they can seriously trouble their opposition but can they do it against an in-form Russian outfit?

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What Next

Russia and Uruguay in first and second respectively will battle it out to see who will take top spot in the group. Uruguay must win to pinch first place, but a draw or victory for Russia will keep the host’s top position intact which would be a fantastic result for them.

It’s a similar situation for Egypt and Saudi Arabia in third and fourth respectively who would be eager to end their tournament on a high. Egypt have the better goal difference over the Saudis so a draw or win will keep them in third spot. For Saudi Arabia to leap over Egypt, they can’t get anything less than a win.

Goal of the Day

Artem Dzyuba was rewarded with a start after his instant impact off the bench and got on the scoresheet again against Egypt. A long-ball was pumped forward and Dzyuba controlled it as well as you’d like from a striker.

He chested the high ball down and poked it past Ali Gabr before he calmly picked out the bottom right corner. The route one long ball did the trick for Russia on this occasion as Dzyuba netted their third of the match.

Miss of the Day

It wasn’t a howler of a miss, but Saudi Arabia had a moment that could’ve levelled things up 1-1 with a rare defence lapse by Diego Godin.

The Uruguayan centre-back couldn’t head away the cross by Yasser Al-Shahrani who whipped it in well for someone to attack. Out the back stormed in Hattan Bahebri whose technique let him down with his half-volley headed way over the bar. That could’ve created some momentum which the Saudis really needed.

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Liam Watson is covering Melbourne Victory this season while completing Media and Communications at La Trobe University.