Tuesday 18 December 2018

What to watch out for on day three of the World Cup

Argentina and France both being their campaigns.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi starts his quest to win the World Cup on Saturday. (Martin Rickett/PA)
Argentina’s Lionel Messi starts his quest to win the World Cup on Saturday. (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Nickm

Argentina and France get their World Cup campaigns under way on Saturday while Germany and Brazil close in on their opening games a day later.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at what to expect on day three in Russia.

France v Australia, Group C match, 11am

France, World champions in 1998, kick off their campaign having lost in the quarter-finals to Germany four years ago.

Antoine Griezmann ended speculation about his future with a rather cheesy video explaining he will stay at Atletico Madrid and France will now avoid that subplot. 

The Socceroos lost all of their group games at Brazil 2014 and will find it tough to reach the second round this year.

Argentina v Iceland, Group D match, 2pm

Lionel Messi begins his quest to win the World Cup with Argentina having initially retired two years ago after losing the Copa America final.

Argentina struggled during qualification and lost 6-1 to Spain in March so will need to up their game.

Iceland, making their World Cup debut, are many neutrals’ favourites after their Euro 2016 heroics but the minnows remain outsiders in a tricky group.

Peru v Denmark, Group C match, 5pm

Denmark will be hoping to be on their ‘home turf’ for longer than their last World Cup in South Africa in 2010 after they failed to make it out of the group.

Christian Eriksen will be their main threat on their return to football’s biggest stage after they missed the last tournament in Brazil.

Peru have not featured at a World Cup since 1982 and have not won at the tournament for 40 years.

Croatia v Nigeria, Group D match, 8pm

Croatia have failed to make it out of the group stage since reaching the semi-finals in France 20 years ago.

With Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic they have one of the most dynamic midfields in Russia and could be a surprise package.

Nigeria have never gone further than the second round and will hope to add substance to style after their World Cup kit sold out globally on the day of release.

The big boys start rolling

Brazil (6.45pm) and defending champions Germany (12.30pm) hold their opening press conferences ahead of their first games.

Brazil face Switzerland in Group E while Germany start their challenge for successive World Cups triumphs against Mexico in Group F on Sunday.

Tite’s Brazil are favourites although Germany showed their strength in depth when they left Manchester City’s Leroy Sane at home.

Also in the spotlight

Switzerland (3pm) hold their final press conference before their game against Brazil in Rostov-on-Don.

Group E rivals Costa Rica (3pm) and Serbia (1.15pm) will also speak to the press before their opening showdown in Samara.

Mexico’s boss Juan Carlos Osorio will speak at 7pm before their game with Germany at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Press Association

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