World Cup 2018: 5 intriguing games from the group stage
After months of anticipation the WC 2018 is finally upon us, and while host nation Russia’s 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia was relatively entertaining in the end, let’s be honest, the more appetising games in the group stage are yet to come.
For the most part, we’ll have to wait until the later rounds for clashes between true heavyweights as the likes of Germany, France and Brazil have all been drawn in different groups, but that doesn’t mean the group stage hasn’t thrown up some absolutely mouth-watering games. Here are 5 of the best clashes to come in the opening stage of the World Cup.
#1: Spain vs. Portugal – Group B – 15th June
This match already sounded great prior to this week’s wild controversy around Spain deciding to sack manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament. Before that, Spain were largely considered hot favourites to beat their neighbours, but with their camp now in disarray, Cristiano Ronaldo and company have to like their chances.
Recent matches between the two have firmly been in Spain’s favour though, as they sent Portugal packing in both World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, although the games between the two were always close. In this tournament, Spain are coming in as one of the favourites while Portugal – the reigning European champions – are largely seen as dark horses.
With talent such as Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, Gelson Martins and William Carvalho at their disposal Portugal look stronger than they have done in recent tournaments, but Spain have more proven talent in the form of Sergio Busquets, Isco and David Silva. Expect fireworks from this one as both sides love to attack.