World Cup: The best and the worst from the second round of group games in Russia

(Clockwise from top left) Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring against Spain, Neymar reacts during Brazil's match against Costa Rica, and England's midfielder Jesse Lingard scores a goal in their match against Panama.
(Clockwise from top left) Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring against Spain, Neymar reacts during Brazil's match against Costa Rica, and England's midfielder Jesse Lingard scores a goal in their match against Panama.PHOTOS: AFP/EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - The second round of group matches wrapped up last night, with six teams already assured of their place in the last 16 of the competition.

As the world waits for the conclusion of the group stage to see who will join Russia, Uruguay, France, Croatia, England and Belgium in the knockout rounds, The Straits Times looks at some of the best and worst moments from the recently concluded games.

Best goal: Jesse Lingard (England)


England's midfielder Jesse Lingard (right) scores a goal in the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match against Panama, on June 24, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

The first round of games featured some spectacular strikes, but there were even more in the second.

Toni Kroos' moment of genius deep in injury time against Sweden will go down as one of Germany's most important goals at a World Cup, while Denmark's Christian Eriksen and Nigeria's Ahmed Musa both scored rasping half-volleys against Australia and Iceland, respectively.

We also saw long-range howitzers from the boots of South Korea's Son Heung Min (against Mexico) and Switzerland's Granit Xhaka (against Serbia).

But our pick is Jesse Lingard's peach of a strike against Panama, that just clipped the underside of the crossbar and gave the goalkeeper no chance.

Luckiest goal: Diego Costa (Spain)


Diego Costa (top left) celebrates after putting Spain in the lead during the Fifa World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match against Iran on June 20, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

For all the breathtaking strikes we've seen in the second round of matches, there have been some fortuitous ones as well.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's goal against South Korea was one of them, the former Manchester United striker scuffing his shot only to see it bobble off the ground and over goalkeeper Jo Hyeon Woo's outstretched leg.

But the ultimate fluke fell to Spain striker Diego Costa, who was not even looking at the goal when Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian's clearance cannoned off the ex-Chelsea man's knee and into the back of the net.

Biggest disappointment: Argentina

The two-time World Cup winners were absolutely abject in their 3-0 defeat by Croatia.

Much has been made of Lionel Messi's body language and inability to inspire his side, but a video compilation of misplaced passes, miscontrols and failed dribbles widely shared on social media later, showed just how bad the Albiceleste as a team were.

Biggest howler: Willy Caballero (Argentina)

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima gifted Senegal a goal after he punched what should have been a routine save, into Sadio Mane. But his error pales in comparison with those committed by two Argentinians against Croatia.

Enzo Perez could have changed the complexion of the whole game had he not stroked the ball wide of an open goal.

But the more fatal error was from goalkeeper Caballero, who inexplicably sliced his clearance, setting up Croatia striker Ante Rebic for a sweet volley to open the scoring.

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Biggest brat: Neymar (Brazil)


Brazil's forward Neymar (centre-right) reacts during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match against Costa Rica, on June 22, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

He changed his hairstyle after the first game, tried to cheat, cursed at his captain, and then cried.

The world's most expensive player is behaving more like an entitled little brat desperately trying to make the World Cup all about him.

After scoring the second of Brazil's goals against Costa Rica - with a tap-in, mind you - Neymar sank to the turf and broke down in tears.

Earlier, he had swore at his captain, Thiago Silva, for returning the ball to the opposition. The PSG star had also tried to con the referee into awarding a penalty, which was later overturned after the match official consulted the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

Even Brazil's biggest newspaper, O Globo, has had enough. "It's not normal to cry in the second game of a World Cup," read its headline after the game.