The 2018 World Cup hits full flight tonight and we are set for three exciting matches, highlighted by some of the world’s best players.
Host nation Russia ensured the World Cup began with a bang when they delivered Saudi Arabia a 5-0 defeat in Moscow last night and the quality will only improve on Day 2 as nations like Uruguay, Portugal and Spain open their accounts.
Mohammed Salah’s Egypt will open their account against a talented Uruguay outfit in tonight’s first World Cup match.
Egypt are Africa’s most successful football nation, but they have typically choked in World Cup qualifying and this will be their first appearance on football’s grandest stage since 1990.
Clearly, the success of this nation comes down to the effectiveness of Liverpool superstar Salah, who has been under an injury cloud leading into the tournament following the Champions League final. Manager Hector Cuper has confirmed that Salah will start and that will give Egypt’s attack some legs.
Uruguay boast a number of world class players, including household names Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Cavani was the top scorer in South American World Cup qualifying with ten, while Suarez has been prolific at the World Cup previously and has netted five.
These two sides have only met once previously and Uruguay walked away 2-0 victors on that occasion. A similar result appears likely tonight.
Tonight’s match between Morocco and Iran looks to be the most even affair at the World Cup so-far and there is a case to be made for both countries.
Iran were outstanding throughout Asian qualifying and will look to park the bus at the World Cup; a tactic which has worked beautifully for them throughout the last twelve months and one that is sure to frustrate a reasonably quiet Moroccan attack.
Morocco also look far better in defence than they do in attack and returned a number of clean sheets in World Cup qualifying; something that went a long way towards securing their first berth since 1998.
Both countries could both spend the majority of this match feeling out the other and a draw looks like a likely outcome, and lucrative from a betting perspective.
We are set for an absolute blockbuster when European neighbours Portugal and Spain lock horns, in what looks likely to be the match for top spot in Group B.
Portugal were able to claim their first major piece of silverware at the Euros two years ago and will take plenty of confidence into the World Cup. Obviously Portugal’s attack and their success all hinges on superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who remains prominent in betting to claim a number of individual honours in Russia including both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball.
Spain boast one of the best teams across the park at the entire 2018 World Cup, but they have been historically bad in campaign openers and lost to Switzerland first-up in 2010, while they were flogged by the Netherlands 5-1 four years ago.
Spain’s team is a nice mix of proven veterans and exciting new players and they should have the tools to beat Portugal.