I told you these four days would be crazy.
To get the boring part out of the way, Uruguay put Russia in their place. It was even for about ten minutes. Then Luis Suárez scored, and the match was essentially over. In the 23rd minute, Uruguay went up 2-0 on an own-goal by Russia's Denis Cheryshev. In the 28th minute, Igor Smolnikov received a yellow card ... eight minutes later, he got a second yellow and was dismissed. All that was left was a goal by Edinson Cavani in the 90th minute. Uruguay 3, Russia 0. The primary importance of this is that Russia finished second in Group A. This meant whoever finished first in Group B would have an easier opponent in the first knockout round than the Group B second-place team, who would face Uruguay.
The less said about the meaningless Saudi Arabia-Egypt match, the better, but it was our last opportunity to see this man at this World Cup:
Then, the proverbial all hell broke loose.
When the Group B matches began, it was ESP 4 POR 4 IRN 3. Spain was ahead of Portugal on the "Fair Play" tiebreaker. When the opening whistle was blown, each team added one point to the "live table", as they were all playing draws. So ESP 5 POR 5 IRN 4.
14th minute: Khalid Boutaïb of Morocco scores! POR 5 ESP 4 IRN 4.
19th minute: Isco scores for Spain, restores order. ESP 5 POR 5 IRN 4.
45th minute: Ricardo Quaresma scores for Portugal. At the half, POR 7 ESP 5 IRN 3.
52nd minute: Ronaldo misses a penalty
81th minute: Youssef En-Nesyri puts Morocco back on top. POR 7 ESP 4 IRN 3.
89th minute: Iran calls for a handball in the box, referee didn't see it. But it goes to VAR.
91th minute: Iago Aspas seems to score for Spain, which will settle things. Except the assistant referee has the offside flag up.
91:39: VAR overrules, penalty to Iran.
91:57: VAR overrules the assistant, Spanish goal stands, match tied, 2-2.
93rd minute: Karim Ansarifard converts the penalty. Iran 1 Portugal 1. Which, after a few more minutes of extra time in both matches, meant the table ended up just where it started: ESP 5 POR 5 IRN 4.
You could say much ado about nothing. But as someone who was pulling for Spain, I guarantee you, when Morocco went ahead in the 81st minute, I was freaking out. My brain knew, to some extent, that Spain was still likely to go through to the next round. My heart didn't accept that fact. And I had two different screens showing both matches.
Final result? Spain will play Russia, Portugal will play Uruguay.
I should also show this, since it was likely the Goal of the Day: