The Portugal captain tops the rankings of a World Cup XI made up of players who have had the most engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with an astonishing 402 million likes, shares and reactions.
Brazil’s Neymar is the second rated with 235m and Argentina skipper Lionel Messi completes a three-man forward line with 139m.
This is the team, in a 3-4-3 formation, to beat all others here in Russia, according to their online success:
David De Gea (15m);
Sergio Ramos (101m), Gerard Pique (18m), Marcelo (54m);
Mo Salah (57m), Andres Iniesta (57m), Philippe Coutinho (49m), Paulo Dybala (63m);
Neymar (235m), Lionel Messi (139m), Cristiano Ronaldo (402m).
GERMAN TV CHIEF BACKS WOMEN COMMENTATORS
A German television chief has described social media attacks on a woman football commentator at the World Cup finals as “scraping the bottom of the barrel”.
Thomas Fuhrmann, the sports director of the public-service ZDF channel, defended Claudia Neumann’s commentary of Japan’s 2-1 win against Colombia last Tuesday. Posts on social media panned her vocabulary and her voice.
Neumann, who became the first German woman to commentate on a men’s senior tournament at Euro 2016 in France, dismissed the critics. “To be honest, I don’t bother too much about them,” she said.
“It doesn’t really surprise me, because the fact of a woman commentating on a men’s competition can drive certain people crazy. But that’s only a minority which, unfortunately, is given too much importance.”
GAFFERS FALLING FOUL
Are injuries to coaches becoming a thing at this World Cup? It is well documented that Gareth Southgate has little chance of repeating his leaping goal celebration after dislocating his shoulder following a fall while out running.
Now Brazil’s coach Tite will have to curb his enthusiasm the next time his side score, after pulling a muscle in his leg when Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock against Costa Rica. “I kind of pulled a muscle and tore some fibres, I think,” said the 57-year-old. “I’m limping now after the celebration. We were over excited.” What next? Joachim Loew’s ligaments, or Didier Deschamps’ dodgy knee?
BEEF BACK ON MEXICO MENU
Mexico’s mantra for this World Cup is “No Excuses,” and that includes no complaining about the menu.
The team brought two tons of food to Russia, along with everything necessary to make their players’ favourites, including traditional tacos, cheesy quesadillas and, of course, their hot salsas.
And now beef is back on the menu too. The team did not ingest any red meat from Mexico to avoid any chance of positive tests with clenbuterol, a banned substance that is widely used by Mexican ranchers as a growth-enhancer.
In 2011, five players from Mexico’s squad tested positive for clenbuterol, among them Guillermo Ochoa, the starting goalkeeper in this World Cup. The country’s federation ruled the positive tests were caused by contaminated meat. More recently, Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez tested positive for the same forcing the postponement of his rematch with Gennady Golovkin.
“We started consuming red meat since we arrived (for a pre-tournament friendly) in Denmark”, said team nutritionist Beatriz Boullosa.“Players are carnivorous by nature and they are happy to get the red meat back on their diet, and in nutrition terms it was also important because it has great bioavailability and we had it banned while in Mexico”.
EGYPT PROTEST OVER REF
Egypt will lodge a complaint to FIFA about what its federation chairman describes as the “injustice” of the match officials during the team’s World Cup loss to Russia.
Egyptian Football Association chairman Hany Abo Rida says the match officials “did not achieve justice” in the game.
Egypt’s 3-1 loss to Russia, combined with Saudi Arabia’s loss to Uruguay, ended its chances of progressing beyond the group stage at its first World Cup in 28 years. Egypt and Saudi Arabia meet Monday in Volgograd in their last Group A match.
Abo Rida, speaking from the Egyptian squad’s World Cup base in Grozny, Chechnya, did not specify which incident would form the basis of the complaint, but the Egyptians contended that defender Ahmed Fathi was pushed before the ball deflected off him for an own goal that gave the Russians a 1-0 lead.
The players also believed forward Mohsen Marwan should have been awarded a penalty when he was brought down inside the box.
HOW TO SEPARATE THEM
With some teams about to play their third matches, fans all over the world are asking the same question: what happens if two teams have the same record?
Here are the tie-break scenarios for rankings in the groups – including the ultimate fallback tradition of ‘drawing of lots’.
Position in a group is decided on:
2. Goal difference in all group matches
3. Goals scored in all group matches
4. Points in the games between the teams concerned.
5. Goal difference in the games between the teams concerned, then goals scored.
6. Fair play record (yellow cards = -1, indirect red card (as a result of a second yellow card) = -3, direct red card = -4, yellow card and direct red = -5, with only one of the deductions applied to a player in a single game)
7. Drawing of lots by FIFA