World Cup LIVEBLOG: Spain v Morocco

World Cup LIVEBLOG: Spain v Morocco
Don't miss a moment in Russia2018 as Spain and Morocco battle it out in Group B. Keep refreshing this page for updates.
20 min read
25 June, 2018
20:57:46 - Full time, after nearly 98 minutes. It's Spain 2 - Morocco 2.

The Atlas Lions played out of their pelts. Fair play to them all. The pure skill of the Spanish players was obvious, but Morocco's scrappy determination nearly saw the upset of the tournament. They may not have won, but they have covered themselves with glory.

That's it from us for the night - thanks for reading, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab

20:57:29 - Hmmmm

20:56:35 - Spain now top Group B. For a minute there, they may not even have qualified for the next round.

20:54:51 - Iran have equalised, but that doesn't mean much (at least not for Middle East teams) after the second Spanish goal

20:53:56 - A late break for Morocco but Bouhaddouz can't quite get to it

20:53:05 - Absolute scenes here - it all kicks off in the dying seconds

20:51:34 - GOAL - the goal stands! Spain 2 - Morocco 2

20:49:38 - 90th minute - a quick corner for Spain, and it's flicked into the net - GOAL - but the flag is up, and the goal is ruled out... Hang on, it's going to VAR...

20:48:35 - El Kajoui, Morocco's keeper, booked for timewasting

20:47:17 - Totally agree. Morocco totally deserve that goal.

20:44:58 - Rodrigo gets on the end of a free kick from Isco, but heads wide

20:43:39 - CHANGE for Spain - David Silva comes off to make way for Rodrigo. And a CHANGE for Morocco - Ziyache comes off and Bouhaddouz comes on

20:42:46 - If Iran score against Portugal in the other Group B match, and this game stays like this, Spain could be going home!

20:41:35 - GOOOAAAAL! Talk about a super-sub! Youssef En Nesri comes out of nowhere, leaps over Ramos, to head in to convert the corner - and it's Spain 1 - Morocco 2

20:39:46 - PENALTY APPEAL - The ball clearly hits Pique's hand - but clearly accidental. Corner for Morocco

20:38:56 - They did both have quiet games.

20:37:37 - Sergio Ramos shows his frustration at the way the game is going, sending a shot way, way, way up into the stands

20:37:10 - Morocco's Da Costa heads away a decent effort by Spain

20:35:23 - Isco fouls Amrabat. It's a free kick, but it's a long way out. Ziyache curls it in, but it's cleared, and ends up (eventually) with the Moroccan keeper

20:33:24 - CH-CH-CHANGES for Spain. Costa makes way for Aspas, Asensio comes on for Thiago. Will Iniesta make it all the way through the 90 minutes?

20:30:56 - CHANGE for Morocco. Goalscorer Boutaib comes off to great ovation; on comes En Nesri.

20:29:21 - Bloody vuvuzelas. Twenty minutes to go.

20:28:02 - Thiago skies it. Come on, Spain - I thought you were the tournament favourites?

20:26:03 - David Silva plays easily into the Moroccan keeper's hands

20:24:36 - Morocco will have made a lot of fans among any neutrals watching either this game, or their match against Portugal. Playing with real heart.


20:23:02 - CHANGE for Morocco as Belhanda makes way for Faisel Fajr

20:22:29 - CLOSE! Pique brushes the post

20:20:10 - CLOSE! Saiss makes a last-ditch goal-line clearance and avoids a certain Spanish goal

20:19:09 - Isco's delivery cleared, ends up all the way back at De Gea

20:18:07 - Amrabat is just everywhere at the moment - unfortunately, that includes flailing into Iniesta and giving away a free kick in a vulnerable area. Isco to take the free kick...

20:16:44 - Morocco's Dirar on a blistering run, a little one-two with Amrabat, but it just gets away from him as he closes on the goal

20:13:56 - Six Moroccans on the break - Amrabat *very* unlucky not to score with a long shot

20:12:17 - Careful, Amrabat - tangling with Ramos is the way to get sent off...

20:10:46 - David De Gea under pressure again from Morocco's attack

20:09:10 - And here's Amrabat having taken Ramos' boot off...

20:08:11 - Some pics from the wire photographers from the first half. First off, Boutaib celebrating scoring Morocco's first World Cup goal since 1998 [Getty]

20:06:58 - The second half is underway, and Pique must have borrowed Harry Potter's invisibility cloak to have got away with that handball - as well as the dangerous tackle in the first half

19:50:34 - While we're waiting for the second half, here's what Uri Levy, our football correspondent, said about Morocco ahead of the tournament...


The majority of Morocco's players are Europeans
with Moroccan roots [Getty]

 The Atlas Lions

Coach: Herve Renard

Star: Hakim Ziyech

Arriving to Russia as: Underdogs aiming to shock the world

Expectations: Round of 16.

The Moroccans have had a fantastic footballing year. Wydad Casablanca won the African Champions League, while more and more European-born Moroccans have signed for clubs in the domestic league. Meanwhile, the 2026 World Cup bid has made headlines worldwide - and the national team has grabbed a World Cup spot after 20 long years, after a campaign in which they didn't concede a single goal.

There's no doubt, that since Herve Renard signed on to lead the national team in 2016, the Atlas Lions have not stopped improving.

The first coach to win the CAF Africa Cup of Nations with two different countries (Zambia and Ivory Coast), Renard is respected throughout the footballing world, and Moroccos's victory against the Ivory Coast in Abidjan will be remembered as one of the best displays of an African side in World Cup qualifications, ever - simply a divine tactical display.

The Moroccans have an extremely talented squad, with the majority of players having come up through European leagues and qualifying for the national team through their heritage rather than birth. 

Mehdi Benattia of Juventus, Hakim Ziyech (the Dutch Eredivisie Player of the Year), Amine Harit of Schalke 04 Real Madrid's Achraf Hakimi are just some of the names which decorate the Atlas Lions' teamsheet.

Renard and his players will look to surprise the whole world and qualify from a near-impossible Group B, which also features Spain, Portugal and Iran. 

But there is a route to the knock-out stages.

If Iran lose all three group games - to Morocco, Spain and Portugal, finishing bottom of the group - Morocco just needs (somehow) to draw against both Portugal (currently ranked the fourth best team in the world by FIFA) and Spain (10th).

With such a squad and the tremendous support of thousands of the Dima Maghreb fans who have made their way to Russia, anything is possible. In the past few months thousands of signs have festooned Casablanca: "Russia, we are coming." They have arrived. 

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Girona, Spain), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger).

Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus, Italy), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton, England), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir, Turkey), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid, Spain), Hamza Mendyl (Lille, France).

Midfielders: M'barek Boussoufa (Al Jazira, UAE), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord, Holland), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen, France), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord, Holland), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray, Turkey), Faycal Fajr (Getafe, Spain), Amine Harit (Schalke 04, Germany).

Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor, Turkey), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli, Germany), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (on loan to Leganes, Spain, from Watford, England), Mehdi Carcela (Standard de Liege, Belgium), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax, Holland), Youssef En Nesyri (Malaga, Spain).

Fans show their support ahead of the friendly match against Serbia [Getty]

19:49:48 - Spain have been dominant, and their class is obvious - but Morocco are putting up a heck of a fight.

19:49:38 - Half-time, 1-1.

19:47:53 - Amrabat bounces off the back of Sergio Ramos and hits the deck, but he raises his feet as he goes down and takes Ramos to the ground with him. Lucky to avoid another card there.

19:45:24 - Spain's team is a roll-call of the giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Morocco have one guy who Watford didn't mind sending out on loan, and another who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Still, Morocco have been far and away the best Arab team at this tournament.

19:43:36 - Ziyache leans back too far as he makes a shot and sends the ball into the stands above the goal

19:43:01 - Seems to have calmed down a bit, maybe, for now

19:41:07 - Isco sends the free kick to the back post - cleared comfortably.

19:40:21 - Free kick to Spain after Thiago caught by Bousouffa's arm

19:39:13 - Isco floored by another reckless Moroccan challenge.

19:37:16 - Amrabat foils another Spanish attack, but sends it out for a corner on the left-hand side. Sergio Busquets heads the incoming ball way high.

19:35:55 - Collision between the ref and Boutaib sends the Moroccan to the floor. A quick hug later and everyone's up and running again.

19:34:20 - Morocco are throwing everything at this game. Calm down, lads.

19:32:02 - Morocco's Da Costa picks up a yellow card for a nasty challenge on Isco; captain Boussouffa picks up another one for dissent. Morocco have to calm down if they don't want to start losing players. Four currently on yellows 

19:29:48 - Amrabat picks up a yellow card for running into Sergio Ramos - it appears accidental, but the Watford man did run into Ramos' ankle with enough force to take the Spaniard's boot off.

19:29:31 - Cheeky.

19:27:29 - The quality of this Spanish midfield is something else. A treat to watch. Morocco's defence is scrappy but effective - for now.

19:25:40 - Even better opportunity for Morocco, as that man Boutaib again opens up the Spanish defence to test David De Gea.

19:25:10 - Great opportunity for Spain wasted as Iniesta takes it himself

19:24:09 - Isco takes the corner, Pique heads straight to the Moroccan keeper.

19:23:50 - Iniesta again putting the ball into the box, cleared for a corner

19:22:17 - Yellow card for El Ahmedi. Morocco showing their indiscipline here.

19:21:18 - When you get four or five Spanish players in the box, there's not going to be any stopping them

19:20:08 - GOAL! Isco slots home after a dominant play from Spain

19:18:32 - A wild shot from Iniesta - one of the all-time greats - spoons it wide

19:17:09 - Morocco are out of this World Cup already, but that goal means the world to Moroccans everywhere.

19:14:42 - GOAL! Boutaib nicks the ball from Ramos and Iniesta and goes on a blistering run - nutmegs David De Gea, "the best goalkeeper in the world". Spain 0 - Morocco 1

19:12:51 - Lots of people think Pique was lucky to avoid a booking with that "tackle" on Boutaib.

19:11:08 - If their match against Portugal was anything to go by, Morocco won't go down without a fight here. Spain taking them seriously - and deservedly so.

19:08:36 - Two-footed lunge by Pique takes Boutaib's left ankle out. Reckless. Could have been very bad - both for Boutaib, and, if Pique were sent off, for Spain.

19:08:01 - Nordin Amrabat, Watford star, flailing about like he was back at Vicarage Road.  

19:05:02 - First chance for Spain comes in the third minute, but is gathered comfortably by El Kajoui.

19:04:15 - Morocco's Da Costa fouls Spain's Costa. Free kick to Spain, and the opening minutes as expected are all Spain.

19:03:05 - And this is who we're looking at. Spain playing in red, Morocco playing in white.

19:01:22 - And we're back - and now in Kaliningrad - for Spain v Morocco. Spain are looking to qualify top of Group B, while Morocco are hoping to cause the first major upset of the tournament.


17:07:18 - Amazingly, an Arab team has actually won a game at this World Cup - and that's it for us, at least until the next matches in a couple of hours.

17:06:49 - At least someone made history this match...

17:03:42 - Mo Salah was somehow named Man of the Match by FIFA

17:03:04 - Absolute scenes.

17:02:15 - A few photos from the match

17:00:28 - FULL TIME - Saudi Arabia 2 - Egypt 1. That sound you just heard? That was 100 million Egyptian hearts breaking.

16:57:44 - GOOOAAL! Sustained pressure from Saudi Arabia finally pays off for Salem. Saudi Arabia's first World Cup win since 1994

16:56:37 - Well, that's one idea. Think Tunisia and Morocco might have something to say about it though...

16:53:25 - 90 minutes played. Four minutes of added time to come. Can it really be that Arab teams even fail to win a World Cup game when they're playing other Arab teams?

16:50:40 - Another good effort from Saudi Arabia's Hussein

16:49:37 - Saudi fans are enjoying themselves, meanwhile...

16:46:26 - This has been disappointing for Egypt fans. Saudi Arabia are spirited, but they have something of the 'jumpers-for-goalposts' amateur office 5-a-side team about them - and yet Egypt, with two Premier League stars and a host of capable players, are struggling to get ahead.

16:45:48 - Salah on another break - and it takes three Saudi defenders to stop him

16:44:25 - CHANGE for Egypt - at last Kahraba comes onto the field. He replaces Trezeguet, who has had a few good efforts but has been unable to convert chances into goals

16:42:07 - Saudi Arabia's Otayf sent flying by a loose tackle from Fathi. It's a long free kick, taken by Alburayk, which smacks straight into the Egyptian defensive wall.

16:40:48 - Salah again sets up a play that wins a corner for The Pharoahs. Again Warda takes it, again it comes to nothing.

16:39:43 - Salah goes on his own, gets past two Saudi defenders, but stumbles in the box. Amr Warda tries a shot, and it's deflected out for a corner. Warda takes the corner, comfortably cleared.

16:37:19 - Free kick for Saudi Arabia, but Salman can't get the long shot to dip and sends it high above Egypt's veteran keeper.

16:36:08 - Egypt do have more players than Salah - not that anyone cares...

16:34:13 - Salah serves Fahad a lovely dummy on the edge of thebox, setting up Arsenal star Elneny with a great shooting opportunity, but Elneny leans back and sends the shot into the sky

16:32:15 - Two super saves from Egypt's Elhadary. Makes up for Egypt's poor defence.

16:27:48 - CHANGE for both teams: Egyptian striker Marwan Mohsen makes way for Ramadan Sobhy, while Saudi front-man Hatan Bahbri is replaced by Muhannad Asiri. Neither Mohsen nor Hatan have been having great games so far, so let's see if their replacements can inject some extra energy.

16:25:56 - Here's a couple of Egyptian fans hoping for a second goal.

16:24:38 - Ali Gabr saves Egypt's skin with a tackle in the box, ending a tasty-looking Saudi offensive

16:22:27 - OUCH - Otayf's crunching two-footed tackle, off the ground, floors Egypt's Trezeguet. Free kick, amazingly no cards. Saudi Arabia got away with that.

16:21:01 - Believe it or not, there are people in the Middle East *not* watching this game...

16:19:58 - CLOSE - Trezeguet sends a powerful header wide

16:18:54 - FREE KICK to Egypt near the corner; Salah sends the ball into the box, cleared for an Egypt throw-in

16:18:02 - Yup, this sounds about right to me.

16:17:23 - And why not? Talk about a career highlight...

16:14:42 - Saudi Arabia still with a good amount of possession here. Wouldn't be surprised if they could sneak in a cheeky goal...

16:13:50 - Has anyone got any islands to sell?

16:12:34 - CORNER taken by Salman, Motaz goes down in the area - but referee not interested in penalty claims

16:12:00 - Saudi Arabia putting up a spirited performance beyond the expectations of many

16:09:49 - Here we go with the second half. The first was pretty end-to-end stuff, though Egypt feeling pretty sad about not having at least a second goal. One Egyptian in particular...

15:52:32 - HALF TIME (after six minutes of added time) - Saudi Arabia 1 - Egypt 1

15:51:23 - GOAL - Salman sends it left, Elhadary dives right

15:50:46 - Penalty decision stands. Salman steps up to the spot. Can Elhadary keep out a second?

15:47:37 - PENALTY - Ali Gabr gives a little tug on Fahad's shirt, and the Saudi goes down in the box

15:47:03 - Mo Salah playing deep on the right wing, hassling the Saudi midfield

15:46:06 - Three minutes of added time at the end of the first half

15:44:34 - The veteran Egyptian keeper is back on his feet. The Saudis have been on the attack in the past few minutes, and the Pharoahs must be hoping Elhadary is not tested again before the half-time break

15:43:18 - Elhadary's down afer that penalty. Let's hope that's not the end of his World Cup - but what a moment to finish on if it is...

15:41:00 - SAVED! Elhadary, at 45, the oldest player to play in a World Cup, blocks the spot kick. 

15:39:38 - HANDBALL against Egypt's Ahmed Fathi, just inside the box. VAR confirms... It's a PENALTY

15:37:48 - Another attack from the Saudis, cleared for a corner, which is well defended by Mohsen 

15:36:55 - This game is one for the ages. As in, I hope it'll be ages before I have to liveblog these two teams again...

15:34:33 - Another shot from Trezeguet finds the same spot on the wrong side of the upright

15:33:28 - More attacking play from the Green Falcons comes to nothing but a counter-attacking opportunity for Egypt. Lovely bit of skill from Salah sets up Trezeguet for a shot, but he can't find the net

15:31:05 - Nice effort from Yasser for Saudi Arabia, but goes high above the goal.

15:30:28 - The first few minutes were all Saudi Arabia, but now the game has settled, you'd fancy Egypt to get another couple of goals here.

15:29:10 - Free kick for Egypt, taken by Abdalla Said, curls it in - punched out by Saudi keeper Almosailem

15:24:49 - How was that not a goal? Salah in bags of space, one-on-one with the keeper, and the star sends it out wide to the right. He may have been a whisker offside, but the linesman's flag stayed down.

15:24:14 - Another run from Salah, ball through to Trezeguet, who appears to be brought down in the box - but referee not convinced

15:22:24 - GOAL! A cheeky lob following a wonderful first touch from Salah and it's in - Saudi Arabia 0 - Egypt 1

15:21:08 - Harsh, but probably fair.

15:20:31 - Salah in bags of space now - but at least a few yards offside.

15:18:25 - Motaz does very well to keep up with Salah down the wing and deny Egypt's hopeful an opportunity to shoot

15:16:58 - You don't need to be watching to know when Salah gets the ball - the volume of the crowd tells you when the Liverpool superstar has it

15:15:25 - A turn of speed from Saudi Arabia's Salem leads to a blistering shot. Alas, it kept rising and sailed over the goal

15:13:45 - Saudi Arabia's Fahad is changing his shoes, 12 minutes into the game...

15:11:26 - Now's as good a time as any to check out what our football correspondent, Uri Levy, had to say about both teams ahead of the game...


The Saudis are a big name in Asian football and were
the first West Asian squad to qualify [Getty]

Nickname: The Green Falcons

Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi

Star: Mohamed Al-Sahlawy

Arriving to Russia as: One of the tournament's minnows

Expectations: Gaining a respectable result in at least one match.

Saudi football fans will never forget the 2017/2018 season, and for a variety of good reasons. 

In this historic year, the ultra-conservative country held its first football matches in front of female fans, a delegation of 10 Saudi internationals were signed to Spanish teams in an outrageous deal and the national team managed to qualify for the World Cup - despite getting through three coaches in one year.

The Saudis started their World Cup qualification campaign with the Dutch coach Brett Van Marwijk, who was sacked and replaced by Edgardo Bauza. Bauza himself was sacked after only three months, and was replaced by Juan Antonio Pizzi, the current coach.

The man behind everything is one of the leading figures in Middle Eastern football - Turki Al-Shekih, the Saudi Football Association President, and the brains behind the Spanish deal which saw 10 Saudi players head for one of the most competitive leagues in Europe in order to gain valuable match and training experience. 

He had probably hoped for a different result. While Fahd al-Muwallad and Salem al-Dawsri have had some game time at Levante and Villareal respectively, none of the other players involved in the deal have had the opportunity to test their skills at a European level. 

The deal has turned somewhat problematic, as the national team's most promising stars are arriving at the World Cup having only played a few minutes of professional football in the past four months.

The Saudis are a big name in Asian football and were the first West Asian squad to qualify, though they arrive at this World Cup as one of the tournament's minnows. The betting agencies are ranking the Green Falcons the joint weakest team in the tournament, alongside Panama. 

Saudi Arabia have got no real expectations from the tournament - their fifth - except putting on a respectable display, and not embarassing themselves too much in the Arab derby against Egypt, on Monday 25 June.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al Mayouf (Al Hilal).

Defenders: Mansoor Al Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al Breik (Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al Bulaihi (Al Hilal).

Midfielders: Abdullah Al Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr), Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad).

Forwards: Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli).

The Saudi team will be staying at the five-star Belmond Grand Hotel during the World Cup in Russia [Getty]




Watch out for the red strip of the Pharoahs, who kick off 
their tournament against Uruguay on Friday 15 June [Getty]
 The Pharaohs

Coach: Hector Cúper

Star: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Arriving to Russia as: A promising squad, with all hopes resting on the shoulder of one player

Expectations: Round of 16. 

Egypt has returned to the World Cup after an absence of 28 years, and the nation has gone crazy for the Pharoahs since the qualification match against Congo Brazzaville. But all year, with every twist and turn of Mohamed Salah's contribution to Liverpool's fantastic season, the expectations have been raised higher and higher. 

Egypt is attending its third World Cup finals, and they are bringing one of the planet's best footballers.

That said, in the final match of the European season - the Champions League final - Egypt's dream suffered a huge blow as a collision with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos dislocated Saleh's shoulder.

It was thought the injury would sideline him for four weeks, and badly hit the Pharaohs' training period.

But even though, aside from Salah, Cúper has brought only two natural strikers to Egypt - Marwan Mohsen and Mahmoud Kahraba, it would be wrong to underestimate the Egyptian squad's talent. 

Ramadan Sobhy, Mahmoud Trezeguet, Amr Warda and Ahmed Hegazy are coming to the finals after a positive season, and with Abdallah Said and Essam El-Hadary's experience, Egypt definitely has a decent team sheet any day of the week.

While Egypt represent the best chance for Arab fans at the World Cup, it has become clear from every friendly warm-up match that they are just not the same team without Salah. 

A 1-1 draw with Kuwait, a lucky 0-0 with Colombia and a 3-0 hammering loss to Belgium. In fact, since that famous match against Congo, Egypt haven't won a single match in six games. 

In March, they were dominating Portugal 1-0 and looked good, but after Salah was withdrawn, the red-shirted Pharoahs conceded two goals and lost the game.

According to multiple reports, Salah's recovery is going well - and every Egyptian is praying for the player's full restoration to match fitness. 

The hopes of Egypt qualifying as one of the top two teams in Group A - which also holds Uruguay, the Russian hosts and the Saudis - all laying on one shoulder of the kid from Nagrig. Ya rab.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly).

Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf (all Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al Fateh, Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, England), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC, USA).

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, (Zamalek), Shikabala (Zamalek), Abdallah Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athens, Greece).

Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, England).

Egypt's national football team players take part in a training session on June 5, in Brussels on the eve of the Belgium hammering [Getty]


15:09:00 - CORNER for Saudi Arabia. Fahad with the ball in, flicked out by the head of Egypt's Hegazy

15:07:29 - A break here for Egypt, using the whole width of the pitch, but comes to naught.

15:06:09 - With the two teams likely battling it out for third and fourth in Group A, we're all expecting a bit of  a whipping match.

15:03:38 - Saudi Arabia's Hussein makes an effort towards goal, but no real risk of scoring

15:02:07 - And we're off - first few minutes of possession are held by Saudi Arabia

15:00:08 - Surely, one team here has to be the first Arab team to win a match at the Russia 2018 World Cup...

14:59:36 - Rousing rendition of both anthems. We're seconds away from "The Desert Derby".

14:53:53 - Less than ten minutes until kick off...