This has to be the Mo Salah show, surely? Both teams are already out so the biggest television audience will be Liverpool fans across the world hoping to enjoy big of Mo magic to keep them going until the Premier League season starts. It might even be his last match for Egypt, if an unsubstantiated report from CNN is true. It says Salah is considering international retirement, after he was pictured walking beside Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov at the team’s base.
There could be goals in this one judging by Russia’s approach to the tournament so far, beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 and Egypt 3-0 with Denis Cheryshev impressive. Whatever the result in Samara, Russia are already through to the last 16. If they finish top of the group, they play the second team in Group B, which features
Portugal and Spain.
Keep an eye on the Iran bench for coach Carlos Queiroz and his tactics; if anyone knows how to play Ronaldo’s Portugal, it must be him, having had two spells managing his native country. Ronaldo will be going for international goal number 86 this evening.
Keep an eye out for what happens off the ball in Kaliningrad. Diego Costa, who used to be the whipping boy for Spain critics, is suddenly a hero after nine goals in his last nine games. But against a Morocco team which is already out of the World Cup, could he be goaded into trouble?
Spain need him because they are struggling to score goals from other areas and this is a big match for Fernando Hierro’s side.
Tomorrow at the World Cup
Forget what’s at stake (Peru are already out but Australia could still qualify with a win) and just tune in for the party; because it’s going to be a jamboree in Sochi. The Aussies have already turned up in big numbers at the coastal resort and Peru have been the most lively fans at the tournament so far. A substitute appearance for Australia’s veteran midfielder Tim Cahill would be emotional at the age of 38, too.
There’s a choice here. Either sit back and wait for Antoine Griezmann finally make his mark on the tournament — or have your own VAR analysis night. The Danes are still fuming after VAR handed Australia a penalty for hand ball in their last fixture — and claim it should have helped them win a penalty in the opener against Peru.
If you drink one shot for each time a player draws an imaginary tv in the air you could be in for a fun night.
The inside knowledge on this one comes from Dubai. A falcon who chooses which team will win by flying to a flag from one side or another has become an internet hit. And he predicts Croatia will take the points. Who are we to argue?
There’s no point in pretending anything else — it’s all about Messi. Having celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday, the Barcelona star is facing World Cup heartache if his underwhelming side don’t win against Nigeria’s up and coming youngsters. Ahmed Musa’s pace will make it very interesting indeed. Messi’s entire legacy could be on the line according to some. Mainly those in Portugal and Madrid, though...