Match 1: Egypt Vs. Uruguay- 13:00 K.O.
The first of 3 promising games today consists of Egypt and Uruguay battling it out in the second game of group A after the hosts put 5 past a sorry Saudi side in the opening game of the tournament. The game is set to feature 3 of the worlds top goalscorers in Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez as well as the Egyptian king Mohamed Salah. Although Salah is recovering from his champions league injury he is, according to his coach, fit enough to play (although he wont be starting) which will surely give his side a huge boost in a game that promises goals from both sides.
Uruguay head to Russia having lost just 1 of their previous 9 games, keeping 6 clean sheets and winning their last 3. Interestingly, Oscar Tabarez’s side opted to play just one warm up match before the tournament, beating Uzbekistan 3-0.
Alternatively, Egypt have failed to win in their last 6 games and their last was a 3-0 defeat to Belgium. The Egyptians may be low on confidence going into this one.
- Uruguay beat Egypt in their only previous encounter, defeating them 2-0 in Alexandria in August 2006.
- Egypt have never won a game at the World Cup finals (D2, L2).
- Goalkeeper and captain Essam El Hadary could become the oldest player in World Cup history (45 years and 151 days).
Match 2: Morocco Vs. Iran- 16:00 K.O.
The second game today is the first match up in group B featuring Morocco and Iran which many see as the warm up to the clash of the tournament so far; Spain Vs Portugal. Although the game does promise some entertainment with Morocco being the only team not to concede a single goal in the third round of CAF qualifiers for Russia 2018 (six games) meanwhile Iran have only kept 1 clean sheet in 12 world cup games!
Morocco in particular have been in fine form, winning four and drawing one of the five games they’ve played since reaching the tournament and have only conceded 3 goals in those 5 games.
Iran meanwhile have have played 10 games since qualifying for the tournament, winning 7 of the 10 games they played including a win against Panama a draw with hosts Russia and a defeat to Tunisia.
- Iran were unbeaten in their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, winning 12 games and drawing the other six (AFC second round and third round). They also kept 14 clean sheets in those 18 games.
- None of Morocco’s 12 goals at the World Cup have been scored from a set-piece, all of them coming from open play.
- Morocco and Iran have never met at the World Cup. In fact, they have faced each other only once previously, a game which ended in a draw.
- Uruguay haven’t won a world cup opening game since 1970.
Match 3: Portugal Vs. Spain- 19:00 K.O.
The two group B heavyweights go head to head in the 3rd game of the day and this surely will be the one to watch with the current European champions face off against a now manager-less but experienced and determined Spain squad. There will close attention paid to the Spain squad after the sacking of manager Julen Lopetegui two days before the start of the tournament, however, many argue that the squad is experienced and strong enough to succeed without a manager.
Portugal have had mixed results building up to this game. They were disappointing in May when they drew 2-2 with Tunisia, they then had a 0-0 draw against Belgium before seeing off Algeria comfortably with a 3-0 victory.
With all the drama off the pitch in recent days, Spain have had a comfortable preparation for the World Cup on the pitch. recent results include a 1-1 draw with Switzerland, followed by a 1-0 win against Tunisia.
- Only one of Portugal’s 43 goals at the World Cup has been scored from outside the penalty box.
- The squads have 43 Champions League winners’ medals between them (Spain 34, Portugal nine).
- Spain and Portugal have met on 35 occasions. Spain have 16 wins to Portugal’s six, with 13 draws.
- Six members of Spain’s squad won the 2010 World Cup – David Silva, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta, Pepe Reina, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique.
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