FIFA World Cup 2018 Group A
As hosts Russia were the seeded team in Group A. They were the lowest ranked team in the tournament (debutants Panama were 15 places above them) but this may be misleading as they had no competitive matches in the last two years. Uruguay made their third successive appearance while the Saudi team were in the finals for the first time since 2006. Egypt were runners up in the Africa Cup of Nations and last played in the World Cup finals in 1990.
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H | Knock Out Stages
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Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Two goals in added time turned a comfortable victory for the hosts into a triumph. Only seven players from the Euros remained in the squad and they certainly appeared more imaginative than their predecessors, albeit against pretty average opposition.
Egypt 0 Uruguay 1
Central Stadium, Yekatarinburg
Although they looked the better side, Uruguay could not turn their dominance into goals until the final minute, when Giminez headed powerfully home from a free-kick to allow the South Americans to squeak past Egypt.
Russia 3 Egypt 1
Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg
Russia all but ensured qualification for the next phase with a competant win. Their first was the result of a very unfortunate own goal by Fathy, the ball ricocheting off his knee as he tried to prevent it reaching an attacker on his shoulder. Cheryshev and Dzyuba added two more in three minutes while Mo Salah scored Egypt's consolation goal from the penalty spot (73'). Russia wore their dark red second choice socks.
Uruguay 1 Saudi Arabia 0
Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
Despite a vast improvement on their previous performance, Saudi Arabia proved no match for a functional Uruguay team. A goalkeeping error allowed Suarez to score mid way through the first half. The result ensured that both Russia and Uruguay would go forward and their meeting in Samar would decide who would top the table.
(André Conceição e Silva)
Uruguay 3 Russia 0
Cosmos Arena, Samara
After creditable results against modest sides, Russia's weaknesses were exposed by Uruguay who finished top of the group with three wins. Russia's Smolnikov was sent off (36') and they were easily beaten by the South Americans although they still qualified for the knock out stage.
(André Conceição e Silva)
Saudi Arabia 2 Egypt 1
Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
Only pride was at stake in this match in which Egypt's goalkeeper, El Hadary became the oldest players ever to have appeared in the World Cup finals at 45 years 161 days. Egypt scored first and were well on top until Saudi Arabia were awarded a penalty in the 41st minute which El Hadary saved. In the sixth minute of added time the Saudi team were awarded another penalty following a VAR review from which they equalised. An honourable draw seemed on the cards in the second half but in the fifth minute of injury time Al Dawsari scored the winner.