For those of you who haven’t been tuning into the matches so far, it’s been an all-action start to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia…
Halfway through the group stages and we’ve seen goals in every single match so far! The number of surprise results and impressive performances might well be enough to say this is the most competitive tournament in recent memory. It’s way too early to pick a winner, that’s for sure.
Although it’s almost certainly not going to be Argentina. Things really aren’t looking too great for Lionel Messi right now following his non-existent display in his side’s 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Croatia. That’s in stark contrast to the four goals already scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, including a stunning hat-trick against Spain on the second day. The pressure is now on Neymar to step up with a performance that distracts us all from that terrible haircut.
Hats off to Russia, Uruguay and France who are all through to the knockout stages, and commiserations to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco who are on their respective planes back home.
Los caballos negros
No doubt the most impressive team display so far was the counter-attacking prowess of Mexico against Germany, swiftly dispatching the reigning champions 1-0 in Moscow. Fun fact: Mexico have progressed to the last 16 at the previous six World Cups but have never made it through the quarter-finals.
That’s why the word among Mexican fans is ‘el quinto partido’, although many are now justified in dreaming that their team can go even further than that! Given that the likes of Germany, Brazil and Spain all showed weaknesses in their opening matches, the door could be open for a new dark horse to storm through.
We promised ourselves not to get too excited at this stage… but things are looking positive for Harry Kane and co. following a last gasp victory over Tunisia. Aside from the two goals scored by Captain Kane, a special mention goes out to Harry Maguire who looked rock-solid throughout, especially in the air.
You might want to push your Sunday lunch back an hour or two as the next match versus Panama kicks off this coming Sunday at 1pm on BBC One.
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