Five goals in one freaking game! We couldn’t have asked for a better start to World Cup 2018 folks. There was some bad news for me having sold Aleksandr Golovin from my fantasy team an hour before kickoff, but hey, I’ll settle for more goals today and forget about that.
Today features the other two teams in group A up first followed by group B.
All eyes leading up to this game have been trained on Mohamed Salah. The shoulder injury (mugging) inflicted by Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final made him a doubt even a month later, but it looks like he’ll be ready. His entire country will be hoping he can help secure a first ever victory at a World Cup.
Uruguay have several world class players on the roster. Diego Godin, Edison Cavani, and Luis Suarez are names that even casual fans of the game are aware of. The firepower up top has to make them favourites to win the group. Only Brazil finished above La Celeste in Conmebol qualifying, I believe if they build momentum a semifinal place is not out the question.
Want to cheer up your country after losing a chance to host the 2026 tournament? Starting with a win would be a good idea, especially with two tough games to follow. Mehdi Benatia of Juventus leads a defense that doesn’t allow many goals, a Morocco defender for your fantasy team isn’t a bad idea.
Carlos Quieroz brings his Iran team to St Petersburg knowing he’s in a must-win position from the start. He will rely on Sardar Azmoun to provide the attacking impetus. Azmoun plays his club football in Russia which should help.
THE marquis match in the first week! What an introduction for Fernando Hierro — The phrase “baptism by fire” comes to mind. Thrust into coaching a tournament favourite with little time to add anything substantial, he will have to show the leadership quality he displayed as Real Madrid captain. I think Spain can still go far in the tournament, but they may have a one game hiccup here, so I have avoided Spanish players for my fantasy team.
Cristiano Ronaldo plans to play until age 40, but this is no doubt his last World Cup as one of the top three players on the planet. With help from a new generation of players like Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes, the current European champions can put paid to all predictions of their being the team likely to disappoint at the tournament.
My predictions for today
I see wins for Uruguay and Morocco, followed by a draw in today’s final match.
Fantasy stand-outs for the day
Defensively I will choose Rui Patricio, he will face many shots even if he does not get the clean sheet.
In midfield look for Hakim Ziyech to be at the heart of most attacks.
Up front, look no further than Cavani, he should be the captain for today (unless you already have Golovin in the bank — sigh).
I’m not expecting to maintain five goals per game today, but we should have some great action.
What results do you expect? Whom do you need to score big for your fantasy team? Where is your captain? To whom could you pass the captain’s arm-band if disappointed? And how many fantasy points is that?