FC Barcelona vs. AC Milan

El campeón inició la defensa del título de Champions League.

Ilkay Gündogan von Manchester City hat sich zu den anhaltenden Gerüchten eines Transfers zum FC Barcelona geäußert. "Jeder kann sehen, dass ich hier sehr glücklich bin", sagte der Mittelfeldspieler gegenüber Arab News .
Premier League: Gündogan über Barca: "Hängt vom Klub ab"
Ilkay Gündogan von Manchester City hat sich zu den anhaltenden Gerüchten eines Transfers zum FC Barcelona geäußert. "Jeder kann sehen, dass ich hier sehr glücklich bin", sagte der Mittelfeldspieler gegenüber Arab News .
El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), intenta golpear el balón ante el jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), intenta golpear el balón ante el jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), intenta golpear el balón ante el jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa Ferrao (d) intenta superar al portero del Movistar Inter Jesús Herrero, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa Ferrao (d) intenta superar al portero del Movistar Inter Jesús Herrero, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa Ferrao (d) intenta superar al portero del Movistar Inter Jesús Herrero, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE
Ilkay Gundogan mengaku bahagia bersama Manchester City dan akan menghormati kontraknya yang tersisa dua tahun di Etihad Stadium.
Bahagia di Manchester City, Gundogan Tepis Rumor Gabung Barcelona
Ilkay Gundogan mengaku bahagia bersama Manchester City dan akan menghormati kontraknya yang tersisa dua tahun di Etihad Stadium.
El restaurante "Osteria Franciscana", del cocinero Massimo Bottura, en Módena (Italia) ha sido reconocido hoy como el mejor del mundo, mientras que el español "El Celler de Can Roca" ha sido segundo y el "Mirazur" francés tercero en los premios "The50 best" de los 50 mejores restaurantes del mundo.Los galardones han sido entregados esta noche durante una gala celebrada en el Palacio Euskalduna de Bilbao, y aunque han cambiado los lugares de los primeros, no han tenido muchas novedades. Lo más destacado, el triunfo de la cocina mediterránea, que ha copado el podio.La "Osteria Franciscana" fue segundo el año pasado y primero en la edición del 2016. Se ha premiado así a un chef muy reconocido y pasional, que ha reinventado platos de la cocina italiana como la lasaña.Bottura juega con las tradiciones y experimenta con ingredientes de la región de donde proviene, incluyendo tratar el queso "parmiggiano-reggiano" en diferentes temperaturas, texturas y sabores.Tras recibir el galardón, Massimo Bottura ha destacado la evolución positiva de su restaurante en los últimos años: "Estamos evolucionando; somos un equipo más fuerte en el que trabajamos todos juntos y ahora somos un mejor restaurante".Para Bottura, "Es increíble ser el número uno de toda la comunidad de chefs", y este éxito es "como un terremoto" para todo su equipo de trabajo. Lo siguiente, después de recibir este reconocimiento, es "seguir siendo normales", ha añadido.Según el mejor chef del mundo, en términos gastronómicos, "es muy importante hacer visible lo invisible".Bottura se ha mostrado "impresionado" por el hecho de que turistas chinos se paren frente a su restaurante de Modena y que incluso algunos comensales le paren por la calle para darle las gracias.Se ha mostrado satisfecho de que la comunidad de cocineros esté considerando de nuevo a Italia como un referente gastronómico, y ha dicho que siente que no se trata solo de su trabajo sino de la cocina de su país en general.El gerundense "El Celler", de los hermanos Roca, tercero el año pasado, ha quedado segundo este año. Los Roca, con el cocinero Joan, el sumiller Josep y el pastelero Jordi, son otros indiscutibles de la alta gastronomía mundial.Joan Roca ha mostrado su "gran satisfacción" por pasar al segundo puesto, y ha bromeado con el "pique" con Bottura, "con el que me llevo muy bien. Lo importante es mantenerse año tras año en las primeras posiciones".Tercero ha sido "Mirazur", ubicado en el pueblo de Menton, en el interior de la costa azul francesa, en el que su joven cocinero, el argentino Mauro Colagreco, basa sus platos en las hortalizas y flores de su propio huerto. Sube un puesto desde el cuarto del año pasado.Tras recibir el premio, Colagreco ha comentado que estaba "muy feliz. Tengo una alegría enorme por estar en el top-ten de la gastronomía mundial, mañana tendremos que abrir y será un día con mucha responsabilidad por representar a la elite"."Pasar del cuarto al tercero es un gran logro porque es una medalla olímpica. La cocina latinoamericana tiene un gran lugar en el mundo, como la peruana, que se merece los premios, aunque yo hago cocina mediterránea", ha comentado el argentino.Al cuarto lugar ha descendido el líder del año pasado, el neoyorquino "Eleven Madison park", del chef Daniel Humm.Quinto ha sido el extrovertido cocinero hindú Gaggan Anand, aunque trabaja en Tailandia, en el "Gaggan" de Bankgkok. Ayer dijo que su sabor preferido era "picante, picante y picante".Dos peruanos, de Lima, se han consolidado en la lista: el "Central" de Virgilio Martínez ha sido sexto y mejor de Latinoamérica. Fue quinto el año pasado.Su vecino limeño, el "Maido", se ha llevado el séptimo puesto para su cocina nikkei, peruano-japonesa, de su cocinero "Misha" Tsumura, que sube un puesto respecto al año anterior.El octavo puesto ha sido para el parisino "Arpege" de Alain Passar, otro experto en vegetales, y el noveno y décimo puesto para dos restaurantes españoles, vascos, el donostiarra "Mugaritz" de Andoni Luis Aduriz, noveno, y el asador vizcaíno "Etxebarri", de Víctor Arginzoniz, décimo.Dos mexicanos, "Quintonil" de Jorge Vallejo, y "Pujol", de Enrique Olvera, han subido hasta los puestos 11 y 13, desde el 22 y 20 del año pasado, respectivamente.La mayor novedad de la lista -ha sido la mejor entrada, llegando al puesto 18-, ha sido para "Disfrutar", de los chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro y Eduard Xatruch, que abrió sus puertas en diciembre de 2014 en Barcelona. Es uno de los "herederos" de El Bulli, por donde pasaron los tres, con una cocina divertida que no se pasa en el precio.Entre los latinoamericanos han destacado también "Boragó", de Rodolfo Guzman, en Santiago de Chile, el 27, antes el 42; el brasileño "D.O.M.", de Álex Atala, que ocupó el puesto 30 -ha bajado desde el 16 del año pasado; y el peruano "Astrid y Gastón", de Gastón Acurio, el 39, que ha recibido el premio a la trayectoria;El galardón de mejor chef pastelero se fue para el joven francés Cedric Grolet y el restaurante que se mereció el premio de la sostenibilidad fue el "Azurmendi vizcaíno" de Eneko Atxa.El ránking de los 100 mejores restaurantes se elabora a partir de los votos de poco más de 1.000 personas "del sector" elegidas por la revista "Restaurant".
La "Osteria Franciscana", de Italia, elegido mejor restaurante del mundo
El restaurante "Osteria Franciscana", del cocinero Massimo Bottura, en Módena (Italia) ha sido reconocido hoy como el mejor del mundo, mientras que el español "El Celler de Can Roca" ha sido segundo y el "Mirazur" francés tercero en los premios "The50 best" de los 50 mejores restaurantes del mundo.Los galardones han sido entregados esta noche durante una gala celebrada en el Palacio Euskalduna de Bilbao, y aunque han cambiado los lugares de los primeros, no han tenido muchas novedades. Lo más destacado, el triunfo de la cocina mediterránea, que ha copado el podio.La "Osteria Franciscana" fue segundo el año pasado y primero en la edición del 2016. Se ha premiado así a un chef muy reconocido y pasional, que ha reinventado platos de la cocina italiana como la lasaña.Bottura juega con las tradiciones y experimenta con ingredientes de la región de donde proviene, incluyendo tratar el queso "parmiggiano-reggiano" en diferentes temperaturas, texturas y sabores.Tras recibir el galardón, Massimo Bottura ha destacado la evolución positiva de su restaurante en los últimos años: "Estamos evolucionando; somos un equipo más fuerte en el que trabajamos todos juntos y ahora somos un mejor restaurante".Para Bottura, "Es increíble ser el número uno de toda la comunidad de chefs", y este éxito es "como un terremoto" para todo su equipo de trabajo. Lo siguiente, después de recibir este reconocimiento, es "seguir siendo normales", ha añadido.Según el mejor chef del mundo, en términos gastronómicos, "es muy importante hacer visible lo invisible".Bottura se ha mostrado "impresionado" por el hecho de que turistas chinos se paren frente a su restaurante de Modena y que incluso algunos comensales le paren por la calle para darle las gracias.Se ha mostrado satisfecho de que la comunidad de cocineros esté considerando de nuevo a Italia como un referente gastronómico, y ha dicho que siente que no se trata solo de su trabajo sino de la cocina de su país en general.El gerundense "El Celler", de los hermanos Roca, tercero el año pasado, ha quedado segundo este año. Los Roca, con el cocinero Joan, el sumiller Josep y el pastelero Jordi, son otros indiscutibles de la alta gastronomía mundial.Joan Roca ha mostrado su "gran satisfacción" por pasar al segundo puesto, y ha bromeado con el "pique" con Bottura, "con el que me llevo muy bien. Lo importante es mantenerse año tras año en las primeras posiciones".Tercero ha sido "Mirazur", ubicado en el pueblo de Menton, en el interior de la costa azul francesa, en el que su joven cocinero, el argentino Mauro Colagreco, basa sus platos en las hortalizas y flores de su propio huerto. Sube un puesto desde el cuarto del año pasado.Tras recibir el premio, Colagreco ha comentado que estaba "muy feliz. Tengo una alegría enorme por estar en el top-ten de la gastronomía mundial, mañana tendremos que abrir y será un día con mucha responsabilidad por representar a la elite"."Pasar del cuarto al tercero es un gran logro porque es una medalla olímpica. La cocina latinoamericana tiene un gran lugar en el mundo, como la peruana, que se merece los premios, aunque yo hago cocina mediterránea", ha comentado el argentino.Al cuarto lugar ha descendido el líder del año pasado, el neoyorquino "Eleven Madison park", del chef Daniel Humm.Quinto ha sido el extrovertido cocinero hindú Gaggan Anand, aunque trabaja en Tailandia, en el "Gaggan" de Bankgkok. Ayer dijo que su sabor preferido era "picante, picante y picante".Dos peruanos, de Lima, se han consolidado en la lista: el "Central" de Virgilio Martínez ha sido sexto y mejor de Latinoamérica. Fue quinto el año pasado.Su vecino limeño, el "Maido", se ha llevado el séptimo puesto para su cocina nikkei, peruano-japonesa, de su cocinero "Misha" Tsumura, que sube un puesto respecto al año anterior.El octavo puesto ha sido para el parisino "Arpege" de Alain Passar, otro experto en vegetales, y el noveno y décimo puesto para dos restaurantes españoles, vascos, el donostiarra "Mugaritz" de Andoni Luis Aduriz, noveno, y el asador vizcaíno "Etxebarri", de Víctor Arginzoniz, décimo.Dos mexicanos, "Quintonil" de Jorge Vallejo, y "Pujol", de Enrique Olvera, han subido hasta los puestos 11 y 13, desde el 22 y 20 del año pasado, respectivamente.La mayor novedad de la lista -ha sido la mejor entrada, llegando al puesto 18-, ha sido para "Disfrutar", de los chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro y Eduard Xatruch, que abrió sus puertas en diciembre de 2014 en Barcelona. Es uno de los "herederos" de El Bulli, por donde pasaron los tres, con una cocina divertida que no se pasa en el precio.Entre los latinoamericanos han destacado también "Boragó", de Rodolfo Guzman, en Santiago de Chile, el 27, antes el 42; el brasileño "D.O.M.", de Álex Atala, que ocupó el puesto 30 -ha bajado desde el 16 del año pasado; y el peruano "Astrid y Gastón", de Gastón Acurio, el 39, que ha recibido el premio a la trayectoria;El galardón de mejor chef pastelero se fue para el joven francés Cedric Grolet y el restaurante que se mereció el premio de la sostenibilidad fue el "Azurmendi vizcaíno" de Eneko Atxa.El ránking de los 100 mejores restaurantes se elabora a partir de los votos de poco más de 1.000 personas "del sector" elegidas por la revista "Restaurant".
GRAF3672. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Jugadores y cuerpo técnico del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3672. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Jugadores y cuerpo técnico del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3672. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Jugadores y cuerpo técnico del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3670. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador portugués del Movistar Inter, Ricardo Filipe Da Silva "Ricardinho", celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3670. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador portugués del Movistar Inter, Ricardo Filipe Da Silva "Ricardinho", celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3670. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador portugués del Movistar Inter, Ricardo Filipe Da Silva "Ricardinho", celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3670. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador portugués del Movistar Inter, Ricardo Filipe Da Silva "Ricardinho", celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3670. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador portugués del Movistar Inter, Ricardo Filipe Da Silva "Ricardinho", celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3670. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador portugués del Movistar Inter, Ricardo Filipe Da Silva "Ricardinho", celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3669. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El guardameta del Movistar Inter, Jesús Herrero, celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3669. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El guardameta del Movistar Inter, Jesús Herrero, celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3669. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El guardameta del Movistar Inter, Jesús Herrero, celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3668. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3668. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3668. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3667. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador brasileño de Movistar Inter, Elisandro Teixeira Gomes, celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3667. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador brasileño de Movistar Inter, Elisandro Teixeira Gomes, celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3667. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El jugador brasileño de Movistar Inter, Elisandro Teixeira Gomes, celebra su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3666. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3666. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3666. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3665. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los porteros del Movistar Inter, Jesús Herrero y Alejandro González, celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa, en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3665. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los porteros del Movistar Inter, Jesús Herrero y Alejandro González, celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa, en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3665. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los porteros del Movistar Inter, Jesús Herrero y Alejandro González, celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis al FC Barcelona Lassa, en el último encuentro disputado en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3663. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis en el último encuentro disputado frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3663. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis en el último encuentro disputado frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3663. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis en el último encuentro disputado frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3663. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis en el último encuentro disputado frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3663. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis en el último encuentro disputado frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3663. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del Movistar Inter celebran su victoria en la Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala tras derrotar en la tanda de penaltis en el último encuentro disputado frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3630. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro, celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3630. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro, celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3630. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro, celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3628. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3628. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3628. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3628. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3628. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3628. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter, Elisandro (d), celebra el primer gol del equipo madrileño durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que disputan frente al FC Barcelona Lassa en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3621. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), intenta golpear el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3621. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), intenta golpear el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3621. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), intenta golpear el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3613. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3613. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3613. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3613. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3613. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3613. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Sergio Lozano, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3612. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Diego, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3612. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Diego, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3612. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d), protege el balón ante el acoso del jugador del FC Barcelona Lassa, Diego, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
Segundo o "Mundo Deportivo", Pjanic e Manolas estão na mira do Barcelona
Jogadores do futebol italiano aparecem no radar do Barcelona
Segundo o "Mundo Deportivo", Pjanic e Manolas estão na mira do Barcelona
GRAF3590. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa, Ferrao (d), se dispone a golpear el balón ante la defensa del jugador de Movistar Inter, Adrián Alonso Pereira "Pola", durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3590. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa, Ferrao (d), se dispone a golpear el balón ante la defensa del jugador de Movistar Inter, Adrián Alonso Pereira "Pola", durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
GRAF3590. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa, Ferrao (d), se dispone a golpear el balón ante la defensa del jugador de Movistar Inter, Adrián Alonso Pereira "Pola", durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín.
Zagueiro do Barcelona participou do documentário de Griezmann (Foto: Divulgação / Barcelona)
Participação de Piqué em filme de Griezmann gera mal-estar no Barça
Zagueiro do Barcelona participou do documentário de Griezmann (Foto: Divulgação / Barcelona)
GRAF3588. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d) se escapa de Adolfo, del FC Barcelona Lassa, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3588. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d) se escapa de Adolfo, del FC Barcelona Lassa, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3588. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del Movistar Inter Elisandro (d) se escapa de Adolfo, del FC Barcelona Lassa, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3587. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del FC Barcelona Lassa celebran el gol de Dyego, primero del equipo ante el Movistar Inter, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3587. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del FC Barcelona Lassa celebran el gol de Dyego, primero del equipo ante el Movistar Inter, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3587. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del FC Barcelona Lassa celebran el gol de Dyego, primero del equipo ante el Movistar Inter, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3578. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa Ferrao (d) intenta superar al portero del Movistar Inter Jesús Herrero, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3578. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa Ferrao (d) intenta superar al portero del Movistar Inter Jesús Herrero, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3578. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- El brasileño del FC Barcelona Lassa Ferrao (d) intenta superar al portero del Movistar Inter Jesús Herrero, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3582. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del FC Barcelona Lassa celebran el gol de Dyego, primero del equipo ante el Movistar Inter, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3582. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del FC Barcelona Lassa celebran el gol de Dyego, primero del equipo ante el Movistar Inter, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
GRAF3582. TORREJÓN DE ARDOZ (MADRID), 19/06/2018.- Los jugadores del FC Barcelona Lassa celebran el gol de Dyego, primero del equipo ante el Movistar Inter, durante el quinto y definitivo partido de la final de la Liga de Fútbol Sala que se juega esta noche en el pabellón Jorge Garbajosa de Torrejón de Ardoz. EFE/JuanJo Martín
Atletico Madrid made their intentions clear when they announced that ace striker Antoine Griezmann has decided to pen a contract extension with them. Griezmann was being linked with a move to Barcelona for quite sometime but he decided to commit his future with Atletico. It is being touted as the biggest deal of this summer. Here we decode its significance.
Griezmann and Atletico: A match made in heaven
Atletico Madrid made their intentions clear when they announced that ace striker Antoine Griezmann has decided to pen a contract extension with them. Griezmann was being linked with a move to Barcelona for quite sometime but he decided to commit his future with Atletico. It is being touted as the biggest deal of this summer. Here we decode its significance.
Brazil have been given a scare ahead of Friday’s clash with Costa Rica after Neymar missed training for a second successive day. The news came as Philippe Coutinho warned his Brazil team-mates that there would be no margin for error against the Costa Ricans in St Petersburg following their disappointing 1-1 draw in their opening game against Switzerland on Sunday. Neymar, who had sat out training on Monday, was unable to take part in Tuesday's session after complaining of pain to his right ankle. The Paris St-Germain forward, who had managed only a few warm up exercises, was seen kicking a ball away in frustration as he hobbled off in the company of Brazil physiotherapist, Bruno Manek, at the team’s base in Sochi. Rodrigo Lasmar, Brazil’s doctor, said Neymar would receive more treatment on Wednesday morning but was due to return to full training in afternoon, with Brazil confident the player will be fit to play on Friday. Coutinho said Neymar’s fitness was not a worry and the pain he was feeling was “normal”. URGENTE! Em Sochi, Neymar sente e deixa o treino da Seleção mancando nesta terça-feira (19). Confira o momento! #Copa2018pic.twitter.com/ZNRboOu4Hf— Esporte Interativo (@Esp_Interativo) 19 June 2018 But the situation is still a concern for Brazil, not least as their coach, Tite, had warned before the Switzerland game that Neymar was “not 100 per cent fit” after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in February and would require careful handling in Russia. The Swiss result has also increased the pressure to deliver against Costa Rica. “We will treat the game like it’s the final game,” said Coutinho, the Barcelona and former Liverpool forward whose stunning strike had put Brazil in front against Switzerland. “We are aware we have no more room for error.” Brazil blamed Neymar’s problem on his treatment by Switzerland when he was fouled 10 times, more than any player at a World Cup since Alan Shearer at France ‘98. However, it was after Neymar slammed his right foot into Stephan Lichtsteiner on the follow through from a shot that hit the side-netting in the second half that he was left limping. Neymar was fouled 10 times in the draw with Switzerland Credit: Reuters Neymar, who is under acute pressure to help Brazil atone their 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the World Cup semi finals on home soil four years ago, finished the game but was seen hobbling out of the Rostov Arena after urging referees to “do their jobs” and provide more protection. “Neymar complained of ankle pains as a result of the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland,” Lasmar said. “He was referred to physical therapy, and he stayed there today and he will be there tomorrow morning, but he will train tomorrow afternoon.” Any issues with Neymar will increase the onus on Coutinho, who said Tite had addressed the need for the five time world champions to improve their finishing against Costa Rica as well as Serbia next Wednesday. “We already discussed this matter [with Tite]. Now the important thing is to be mentally strong and concentrate on what’s up next. Brazil’s strong point is the collective. Obviously in one game a specific player could steal the show but our real strength is the collective.”
Neymar limps out of Brazil training for a second successive day
Brazil have been given a scare ahead of Friday’s clash with Costa Rica after Neymar missed training for a second successive day. The news came as Philippe Coutinho warned his Brazil team-mates that there would be no margin for error against the Costa Ricans in St Petersburg following their disappointing 1-1 draw in their opening game against Switzerland on Sunday. Neymar, who had sat out training on Monday, was unable to take part in Tuesday's session after complaining of pain to his right ankle. The Paris St-Germain forward, who had managed only a few warm up exercises, was seen kicking a ball away in frustration as he hobbled off in the company of Brazil physiotherapist, Bruno Manek, at the team’s base in Sochi. Rodrigo Lasmar, Brazil’s doctor, said Neymar would receive more treatment on Wednesday morning but was due to return to full training in afternoon, with Brazil confident the player will be fit to play on Friday. Coutinho said Neymar’s fitness was not a worry and the pain he was feeling was “normal”. URGENTE! Em Sochi, Neymar sente e deixa o treino da Seleção mancando nesta terça-feira (19). Confira o momento! #Copa2018pic.twitter.com/ZNRboOu4Hf— Esporte Interativo (@Esp_Interativo) 19 June 2018 But the situation is still a concern for Brazil, not least as their coach, Tite, had warned before the Switzerland game that Neymar was “not 100 per cent fit” after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in February and would require careful handling in Russia. The Swiss result has also increased the pressure to deliver against Costa Rica. “We will treat the game like it’s the final game,” said Coutinho, the Barcelona and former Liverpool forward whose stunning strike had put Brazil in front against Switzerland. “We are aware we have no more room for error.” Brazil blamed Neymar’s problem on his treatment by Switzerland when he was fouled 10 times, more than any player at a World Cup since Alan Shearer at France ‘98. However, it was after Neymar slammed his right foot into Stephan Lichtsteiner on the follow through from a shot that hit the side-netting in the second half that he was left limping. Neymar was fouled 10 times in the draw with Switzerland Credit: Reuters Neymar, who is under acute pressure to help Brazil atone their 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the World Cup semi finals on home soil four years ago, finished the game but was seen hobbling out of the Rostov Arena after urging referees to “do their jobs” and provide more protection. “Neymar complained of ankle pains as a result of the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland,” Lasmar said. “He was referred to physical therapy, and he stayed there today and he will be there tomorrow morning, but he will train tomorrow afternoon.” Any issues with Neymar will increase the onus on Coutinho, who said Tite had addressed the need for the five time world champions to improve their finishing against Costa Rica as well as Serbia next Wednesday. “We already discussed this matter [with Tite]. Now the important thing is to be mentally strong and concentrate on what’s up next. Brazil’s strong point is the collective. Obviously in one game a specific player could steal the show but our real strength is the collective.”
Brazil have been given a scare ahead of Friday’s clash with Costa Rica after Neymar missed training for a second successive day. The news came as Philippe Coutinho warned his Brazil team-mates that there would be no margin for error against the Costa Ricans in St Petersburg following their disappointing 1-1 draw in their opening game against Switzerland on Sunday. Neymar, who had sat out training on Monday, was unable to take part in Tuesday's session after complaining of pain to his right ankle. The Paris St-Germain forward, who had managed only a few warm up exercises, was seen kicking a ball away in frustration as he hobbled off in the company of Brazil physiotherapist, Bruno Manek, at the team’s base in Sochi. Rodrigo Lasmar, Brazil’s doctor, said Neymar would receive more treatment on Wednesday morning but was due to return to full training in afternoon, with Brazil confident the player will be fit to play on Friday. Coutinho said Neymar’s fitness was not a worry and the pain he was feeling was “normal”. URGENTE! Em Sochi, Neymar sente e deixa o treino da Seleção mancando nesta terça-feira (19). Confira o momento! #Copa2018pic.twitter.com/ZNRboOu4Hf— Esporte Interativo (@Esp_Interativo) 19 June 2018 But the situation is still a concern for Brazil, not least as their coach, Tite, had warned before the Switzerland game that Neymar was “not 100 per cent fit” after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in February and would require careful handling in Russia. The Swiss result has also increased the pressure to deliver against Costa Rica. “We will treat the game like it’s the final game,” said Coutinho, the Barcelona and former Liverpool forward whose stunning strike had put Brazil in front against Switzerland. “We are aware we have no more room for error.” Brazil blamed Neymar’s problem on his treatment by Switzerland when he was fouled 10 times, more than any player at a World Cup since Alan Shearer at France ‘98. However, it was after Neymar slammed his right foot into Stephan Lichtsteiner on the follow through from a shot that hit the side-netting in the second half that he was left limping. Neymar was fouled 10 times in the draw with Switzerland Credit: Reuters Neymar, who is under acute pressure to help Brazil atone their 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the World Cup semi finals on home soil four years ago, finished the game but was seen hobbling out of the Rostov Arena after urging referees to “do their jobs” and provide more protection. “Neymar complained of ankle pains as a result of the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland,” Lasmar said. “He was referred to physical therapy, and he stayed there today and he will be there tomorrow morning, but he will train tomorrow afternoon.” Any issues with Neymar will increase the onus on Coutinho, who said Tite had addressed the need for the five time world champions to improve their finishing against Costa Rica as well as Serbia next Wednesday. “We already discussed this matter [with Tite]. Now the important thing is to be mentally strong and concentrate on what’s up next. Brazil’s strong point is the collective. Obviously in one game a specific player could steal the show but our real strength is the collective.”
Neymar limps out of Brazil training for a second successive day
Brazil have been given a scare ahead of Friday’s clash with Costa Rica after Neymar missed training for a second successive day. The news came as Philippe Coutinho warned his Brazil team-mates that there would be no margin for error against the Costa Ricans in St Petersburg following their disappointing 1-1 draw in their opening game against Switzerland on Sunday. Neymar, who had sat out training on Monday, was unable to take part in Tuesday's session after complaining of pain to his right ankle. The Paris St-Germain forward, who had managed only a few warm up exercises, was seen kicking a ball away in frustration as he hobbled off in the company of Brazil physiotherapist, Bruno Manek, at the team’s base in Sochi. Rodrigo Lasmar, Brazil’s doctor, said Neymar would receive more treatment on Wednesday morning but was due to return to full training in afternoon, with Brazil confident the player will be fit to play on Friday. Coutinho said Neymar’s fitness was not a worry and the pain he was feeling was “normal”. URGENTE! Em Sochi, Neymar sente e deixa o treino da Seleção mancando nesta terça-feira (19). Confira o momento! #Copa2018pic.twitter.com/ZNRboOu4Hf— Esporte Interativo (@Esp_Interativo) 19 June 2018 But the situation is still a concern for Brazil, not least as their coach, Tite, had warned before the Switzerland game that Neymar was “not 100 per cent fit” after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in February and would require careful handling in Russia. The Swiss result has also increased the pressure to deliver against Costa Rica. “We will treat the game like it’s the final game,” said Coutinho, the Barcelona and former Liverpool forward whose stunning strike had put Brazil in front against Switzerland. “We are aware we have no more room for error.” Brazil blamed Neymar’s problem on his treatment by Switzerland when he was fouled 10 times, more than any player at a World Cup since Alan Shearer at France ‘98. However, it was after Neymar slammed his right foot into Stephan Lichtsteiner on the follow through from a shot that hit the side-netting in the second half that he was left limping. Neymar was fouled 10 times in the draw with Switzerland Credit: Reuters Neymar, who is under acute pressure to help Brazil atone their 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the World Cup semi finals on home soil four years ago, finished the game but was seen hobbling out of the Rostov Arena after urging referees to “do their jobs” and provide more protection. “Neymar complained of ankle pains as a result of the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland,” Lasmar said. “He was referred to physical therapy, and he stayed there today and he will be there tomorrow morning, but he will train tomorrow afternoon.” Any issues with Neymar will increase the onus on Coutinho, who said Tite had addressed the need for the five time world champions to improve their finishing against Costa Rica as well as Serbia next Wednesday. “We already discussed this matter [with Tite]. Now the important thing is to be mentally strong and concentrate on what’s up next. Brazil’s strong point is the collective. Obviously in one game a specific player could steal the show but our real strength is the collective.”
El Ayuntamiento de Barcelona ha aprobado obligar a los promotores de vivienda
Ada Colau obliga a destinar 30% de promociones de vivienda a pisos sociales
El Ayuntamiento de Barcelona ha aprobado obligar a los promotores de vivienda
El Ayuntamiento de Barcelona ha aprobado obligar a los promotores de vivienda
Ada Colau obliga a destinar 30% de promociones de vivienda a pisos sociales
El Ayuntamiento de Barcelona ha aprobado obligar a los promotores de vivienda
​Após a derrota da Colômbia para o Japão por 2x1, na estreia de ambas as seleções na Copa do Mundo, a torcida palmeirense questionou a ausência do ex-alviverde Mina entre os titulares Colombianos. Já que o jovem zagueiro é considerado um dos mais promissores na posição e recentemente foi negociado com o Barcelona. Sem essa dupla mermão, tem mais é que se foder bonito. Sem Borja não faz gol. Sem mina toma gol. Aprendam inúteis. pic.twitter.com/ELHLdUGkHf — NeyMila 7 ⓟ VOA MENINO JESUS ...
Técnico explica porquê não escalou Mina: "Tinha sequência no Palmeiras"
​Após a derrota da Colômbia para o Japão por 2x1, na estreia de ambas as seleções na Copa do Mundo, a torcida palmeirense questionou a ausência do ex-alviverde Mina entre os titulares Colombianos. Já que o jovem zagueiro é considerado um dos mais promissores na posição e recentemente foi negociado com o Barcelona. Sem essa dupla mermão, tem mais é que se foder bonito. Sem Borja não faz gol. Sem mina toma gol. Aprendam inúteis. pic.twitter.com/ELHLdUGkHf — NeyMila 7 ⓟ VOA MENINO JESUS ...
De Jong mencuri perharian Barcelona musim lalu.
Wonderkid Belanda Tunggu Pinangan Barcelona
De Jong mencuri perharian Barcelona musim lalu.
-FOTODELDIA- B33 .BADALONA (BARCELONA),19/06/18.- El jugador de los Utah Jazz de la NBA, Ricky Rubio (i) que apadrinará el segundo Torneo de Baloncesto Unificado, que se celebrará en el Palau Olímpic de Badalona entre el 29 de junio y el 1 de julio posa durante el acto en el que ha sido nombrado embajador de Special Olympics. EFE/Alejandro García
-FOTODELDIA- B33 .BADALONA (BARCELONA),19/06/18.- El jugador de los Utah Jazz de la NBA, Ricky Rubio (i) que apadrinará el segundo Torneo de Baloncesto Unificado, que se celebrará en el Palau Olímpic de Badalona entre el 29 de junio y el 1 de julio posa durante el acto en el que ha sido nombrado embajador de Special Olympics. EFE/Alejandro García
-FOTODELDIA- B33 .BADALONA (BARCELONA),19/06/18.- El jugador de los Utah Jazz de la NBA, Ricky Rubio (i) que apadrinará el segundo Torneo de Baloncesto Unificado, que se celebrará en el Palau Olímpic de Badalona entre el 29 de junio y el 1 de julio posa durante el acto en el que ha sido nombrado embajador de Special Olympics. EFE/Alejandro García
Segundo o 'Ouest-France Sport44', Douglas deve ser emprestado ao Nantes (Foto:PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)
Sem espaço no Barcelona, Douglas deve ser emprestado ao Nantes
Segundo o 'Ouest-France Sport44', Douglas deve ser emprestado ao Nantes (Foto:PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)
The club will probe the involvement of the defender and Samuel Umtiti in the forward's decision to stay at Atletico Madrid
Barcelona angered by Pique's involvement in Griezmann saga
The club will probe the involvement of the defender and Samuel Umtiti in the forward's decision to stay at Atletico Madrid
It’s a curious paradox: escaping the city during a European city break. But resting blistered feet in the leafy coolness of a local park after a hectic morning of museum-hopping is a quintessential part of the experience. Funny how we make pilgrimages to the West’s cultural icons such as the Trevi Fountain and the Louvre – but then remember with equal fondness a gelato nursed under a chestnut tree afterwards. This doesn’t make us park-lovers philistines. They are potent seats of culture in their own right, after all. The Tuileries in Paris was the back yard of both Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. Madrid’s rose-perfumed Retiro once belonged to Spanish monarchy. Parks are also noble preservers of national quirks and traditions. Where else but in the green spaces of Europe can one stumble across family puppet shows that bob with wooden marionettes or hushed games of afternoon boules? Then there’s the brilliant people watching: the academics snoozing behind their newspapers on benches; the tortured artists hunched against iron gates that hang with watercolours for sale; and skateboarders snaking through slow-footed pedestrians. Here Telegraph Travel’s destination experts share their favourite city parks for summer, from Berlin to Barcelona. 1. Augarten, Vienna The park: It certainly covers a lot of ground. Where else would baroque manicured box trees open a view to a massive concrete air defence tower from the Second World War? Where else could you admire fine porcelain just after coming out of a fragrant lime grove? Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, just 15 minutes’ walk from the centre, is a natural habitat for historians, nature lovers, music aficionados, and cineastes. The Augarten is home to a concrete air defence tower Credit: iStock The highlights: Tour the historic porcelain manufactory on the grounds, followed by coffee at the adjacent café; listen to the Vienna Boys Choir performing at their concert hall, but do book in advance; in the summer, join the locals at the open-air cinema. Children will also love the park’s five playgrounds. The alternative: Türkenschanzpark on the outskirts of the city, where the Ottoman army entrenched themselves some 330 years ago, is a neighbourhood jewel. Most enticing are the hilly surroundings, magical ponds, viewing tower ‘Paulinenwarte’, a monument of an allied Ukrainian Cossack, and the park’s quaint café. Where to stay: Nearby Grätzlhotel Karmelitermark is in keeping with Augarten’s history-steeped neighbourhood feel. The contemporary hotel is housed in the erstwhile shop of a button-maker (00 43 1 2083904; telegraph.co.uk/tt-grazlhotel) Escape the crowds: 17 of the world's greatest city parks 2. Retiro, Madrid The park: Originally the gardens of a royal palace, the Retiro is now Madrid’s main playground and is particularly popular with locals on Sunday mornings. Take a rowing boat out on the lake, which is dominated by a statue of Alfonso XII. The monument has just opened to the public, so you can go up to the top for panoramic views (free but reservation required; reservaspatrimonio.es). Don’t miss the Rosaleda rose garden, with more than 4,000 bushes in flower until early July, or the Versailles-inspired parterre. The highlights: Look out for the Àngel Caído fountain, which depicts Lucifer’s descent to Hell and is one of the few statues celebrating the devil in the world. Rest your feet at Florida Retiro, a revamped pavilion that now houses a tapas bar, deli market, roof terrace and restaurant. Retiro's resplendent pavilion Credit: Getty The alternative: El Capricho was created in the late 18th century as the country estate of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna – back then Goya and other luminaries were regular visitors. Wandering around the romantic gardens (now next to a residential area close to the airport), you come upon follies, a lake and a maze, as well as a bunker from the Civil War. Where to stay: The fashionable Only You Atocha, five minutes’ walk from the Retiro, has a running club and provides maps of routes around the park (00 34 914 09 78 76; telegraph.co.uk/tt-atocha) 3. Vondelpark, Amsterdam The Park: Nicknamed ‘Amsterdam’s Green Lung’, the Vondelpark is indeed lung-shaped, and constantly on the move – from the children’s playgrounds and tennis club, to joggers’ highways and a 1930s café that resembles a grounded flying saucer. Laid out in the mid-19th century in the highly fashionable English style, the 120-acre park also has green nooks aplenty, an elegant rose garden, a lake with a no-humans wild patch, and even a meadow with a neglected sculpture by Picasso. This is where Amsterdam flocks and flops out on hot summer days. Amsterdam's Green Lung Credit: Getty The highlights: An open-air theatre stages concerts and other shows day and night through the summer; the Blauwe Theehuis has a terrace where you can sit back over lunch, drinks or cocktails, and the Groot Melkhuis café has a children’s playground attached. The alternative: Laid out for the huge Floriade flower expo in 1972, the Amstelpark is a motley haven of exotic flora, wildflowers, some 140 species of rhododendron, a Japanese garden, a bird-filled forest and more. A little out of the centre, beside the river Amstel and a 17th-century windmill, it’s a more peaceful retreat than the Vondelpark. Where to stay: Just five minutes from the Vondelpark, The Neighbour’s Magnolia is a simple, cheerfully run family hotel, with a dog you can ‘borrow’ to take for walks (00 31 20 676 9321; telegraph.co.uk/tt-magnolia) 4. Monsanto Forest Park, Lisbon The park: For a gargantuan gulp of arboreal air and the chance to shake off the city streets, head to this tranquil green stretch on a re-forested hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood. The park stretches over six square miles of verdant, vegetative lushness. Pack sarnies and some of the sparkly stuff: panoramic picnic spots looking out over the Portuguese capital and the Rio Tejo abound. To get there, stroll along the ‘Green Corridor’ (Corredor Verde) from Praca dos Restauradores. Monsanto Forest Park is on a hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood Credit: Getty The highlights: For sporty types, Monsanto offers an adventurous maze of hiking trails and bike tracks. There is plenty for culture vultures too, with a regular programme of outdoor concerts and theatre productions. Children have their pick of three recreation areas: Alto da Serafina, Alvito and Moinhos de Santana. The alternative: Located in the west of the city, the beautifully maintained Jardim da Estrela – overlooked by the Basilica da Estrela, one of the capital’s most ornate churches – has been a favourite hideaway for city residents since the 1870s. Boasting a wrought-iron bandstand, a duck pond and a popular children’s play area, it has something for everyone. The hotel: The super-stylish, riverside Altis Belém Hotel and Spa offers sunset views and a rooftop swim, plus all the pampering you could ask for. Renowned as the home of Lisbon’s famous custard tarts (pastéis de nata), it continues to earn culinary fame for its Michelin-starred Restaurant Feitoria (00 351 21 040 0200; telegraph.co.uk/altisbelem) Surprising alternatives to Europe’s most overcrowded cities 5. Tiergarten, Berlin The park: Although the largest, most central and arguably most obvious park to choose, Berlin’s Tiergarten has it all, from historical monuments and cultural institutions to art installations and picturesque beer gardens. Once a wild forest and hunting reserve for the Kaiser, it was transformed into a landscaped park by famed architect Peter Joseph Lennéin the 1800s. Stroll the park’s network of winding pathways to discover the many highlights dotted throughout. The highlights: The oyster-shaped Haus der Kulturen der Welt offers a consistently high quality array of exhibitions, conferences and events. Cafe Am Neuen See has frothy beers, a proper restaurant and a pretty lake with rowboats for hire; climb the Siegessäule (Victory Column) for stellar views. Climb Berlin's Victory Column in the Tiergarten Credit: Getty The alternative: Nestled against the Spree in the former Eastern district of Treptow, Treptow Park is popular with table tennis-playing hipsters as it is with barbecuing families. Sunbathe on the grassy banks of the river, admire the outsized Soviet Memorial or rent a kayak from the nearby Insel der Jügend. The hotel: Das Stue is a five-star design hotel located right on the edge of the park. Some suites overlook the Tiergarten’s zoo (to which the bar enjoys a private entrance). There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa and pool (00 49 30 3117220; telegraph.co.uk/tt-dasstue) 6. Letná Park, Prague The park: Rising above the city to the north of the picturesque Vltava river and extending to the east of the Mala Strana neighbourhood and Prague Castle, pretty Letná Park is a wonderful place for active exploration or sunny relaxation. As well as grassy meadows ideal for picnics and sunbathing, there are asphalt paths for jogging and in-line skating, and a dedicated skateboard park, plus gardens and some impressive royal architecture. The highlights: Grab a frothy Pilsner at the popular Letná beer garden while admiring the architecture of the adjacent neo-renaissance Letná Chateau; get lunch there or at the cast-iron Hanavský Pavilion, which offers spectacular views over the city and the river. On sunny Friday evenings, you can catch some outdoor salsa dancing near the park’s landmark giant Metronome. Find the Letna Park in front of the Letna Chateau Credit: iStock The alternative: Situated next to the eye-catching Basilica of St Peter & Paul just outside Prague’s centre, the small but charming Vysehrad Park has a fairy-tale quality enhanced by an atmospheric national cemetery (Alphonse Mucha and Antonín Dvořák, among others, are buried there), and breathtaking views down onto the winding Vltava. The hotel: Prague’s esteemed Golden Well hotel, hidden away below Prague Castle and walking distance to Letna park, has an aristocratic air and one of the best restaurant views in town (00 420 257 011 213; telegraph.co.uk/tt-goldenwell) 7. Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona The park: Created in the 18th century to replace the hated citadel (ciutadella) of Philip V, this is now one of Barcelona’s best loved spaces; an elegant but lively park with acres of grassland, and a picturesque boating lake at its heart. It’s home to the city’s zoo; the Catalan Parliament building (the former arsenal of the citadel); a handsome Modernista gatehouse; playgrounds, picnic areas and an impressive array of classical and modern statuary. The highlights: The moving Desconsol (Disconsolate) statue that sits in a lily pond at the centre of the Plaça d’Armes is surrounded by manicured rose gardens – the perfect place for a picnic. Don’t miss the waterfall in the north-eastern corner; one of the earliest commissions for the young Antoni Gaudí. Fountain fans head to the Parc de la Ciutadella Credit: iStock The alternative: The neo-classical gardens of the Parc del Laberint d’Horta are just far enough from the centre to dissuade most tourists, but reward those that make it. Built on various levels and dotted with follies, canals and romantic corners, it has as its main attraction a tall and just-difficult-enough 18th-century maze. Where to stay: A stone’s throw from the park’s entrance, the Chic & Basic Born hotel has small but artfully designed rooms in dazzling white for good design on a budget (00 34 932 95 46 52; telegraph.co.uk/tt-chicandbasic) 8. Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris The park: The Luxembourg Gardens, created in the early 17th century to accompany Marie de’ Medic’s Renaissance palace (now the French Senate) is known for its central sunken parterre and picturesque plane-tree-lined avenues, but it’s not all ornamental. In summer you’ll find busy tennis courts; very serious pétanque games played by regulars; basketball and even bee hives. On the south side, stop in the secluded English-style gardens, replete with greenery and birdsong and dotted with neoclassical sculpture. The highlights: Napoleon Bonaparte dedicated this park to children and famous features include the Guignol puppet show, pony rides and whimsical miniature sailing boats on the central octagonal basin; take in the view from the raised banks above the parterres, where you’ll spot Saint-Suplice church, the Panthéon and Eiffel Tower. Napoleon dedicated the Jardin du Luxembourg to children Credit: iStock The alternative: The Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret is (like many good things in Paris) hidden in plain sight, tucked away behind rue des Rosiers, in the historic heart of the Marais. Amid the bustle of the now-hip area, these secluded gardens provide a pocket of quiet verdure, flanked by old aristocratic mansions. Where to stay: Soak up St-Germain atmosphere at dinky L’Hôtel, famous for being the pension where Oscar Wilde died, and now a swish boutique address with décor from Jacques Garcia (00 33 1 44 41 99 00; telegraph.co.uk/tt-lhotel) 9. Villa Borghese, Rome The park: With immense foresight, Rome’s council snapped up this peri-urban estate of the debt-saddled Borghese dynasty and opened it as a public park in 1903. At nearly 200 acres, this is the city’s third-largest park, retaining all the hallmarks of a nobleman’s property. It’s slightly scuffed but wholly charming: statues, a boating lake, aviaries, fake temples and shady promenades. The view from the Pincio balcony towards the dome of St Peter’s is second to none, and a paddle round the little lake is quaintly pleasurable. The highlights: Located inside the park, the Galleria Borghese contains one of the world’s finest art collections. Within the park walls, the Bioparco – Rome’s zoo – keeps little ones entertained. Rome's Villa Borghese at dawn Credit: Getty The alternative: Altogether more intimate, Villa Celimontana is the green heart of the Celio district. There’s a children’s play area frequented by locals. On summer evenings, the park is a cool venue for jazz concerts. Where to stay: Oozing art nouveau grace, the Hotel Locarno sits just below the Pincio balcony, with Villa Borghese’s umbrella pines always in sight as you do the 10-minute climb to the park (00 39 06 361 0841; telegraph.co.uk/tt-locarno) 10. Parco di Villa Groggia, Venice The park: In this city, with its intriguing glimpses of private gardens concealed behind high walls, municipal green space is often a dusty afterthought. Parco di Villa Groggia, in Venice’s far northern reaches, is an utterly charming exception. Hemmed in between palazzi in the Cannaregio district, this lush space with its huge hackberry trees and pillar-box-red benches is a haven of birdsong and chirping children who play around quaint ‘ruins’ erected in the 18th century – a Venetian take on the English garden style. The highlights: Tiny Teatrino Groggia – a neoclassical gem inside the park – stages the occasional play or concert, though the programme is difficult to find. Next door to the park, the Piscina di Sant’Alvise is an indoor Olympic-sized pool – for swimming rather than splashing. 22 beautiful European cities you'd never thought to visit The alternative: Grassy stretches beneath towering umbrella pines by the Sant’Elena vaporetto stop are a fine place to escape the crowds. A handful of bars around the edge of the park are perfect for lunch or aperitivi. Where to stay: Ai Mori d’Oriente enjoys the special mix of residential quiet plus buzzy nightlife scene that characterises the northern Cannaregio district where Parco di Villa Groggia is located (00 39 041 711001; telegraph.co.uk/tt-moridoriente) Contributions from Annie Bennett, Oliver Balch, Rodney Bolt, Barbara Cacao, Sally Davies, Anne Hanley, Sherelle Jacobs, Hannah Meltzer and Paul Sullivan
Where to find Europe's most beautiful green spaces within its great cities
It’s a curious paradox: escaping the city during a European city break. But resting blistered feet in the leafy coolness of a local park after a hectic morning of museum-hopping is a quintessential part of the experience. Funny how we make pilgrimages to the West’s cultural icons such as the Trevi Fountain and the Louvre – but then remember with equal fondness a gelato nursed under a chestnut tree afterwards. This doesn’t make us park-lovers philistines. They are potent seats of culture in their own right, after all. The Tuileries in Paris was the back yard of both Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. Madrid’s rose-perfumed Retiro once belonged to Spanish monarchy. Parks are also noble preservers of national quirks and traditions. Where else but in the green spaces of Europe can one stumble across family puppet shows that bob with wooden marionettes or hushed games of afternoon boules? Then there’s the brilliant people watching: the academics snoozing behind their newspapers on benches; the tortured artists hunched against iron gates that hang with watercolours for sale; and skateboarders snaking through slow-footed pedestrians. Here Telegraph Travel’s destination experts share their favourite city parks for summer, from Berlin to Barcelona. 1. Augarten, Vienna The park: It certainly covers a lot of ground. Where else would baroque manicured box trees open a view to a massive concrete air defence tower from the Second World War? Where else could you admire fine porcelain just after coming out of a fragrant lime grove? Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, just 15 minutes’ walk from the centre, is a natural habitat for historians, nature lovers, music aficionados, and cineastes. The Augarten is home to a concrete air defence tower Credit: iStock The highlights: Tour the historic porcelain manufactory on the grounds, followed by coffee at the adjacent café; listen to the Vienna Boys Choir performing at their concert hall, but do book in advance; in the summer, join the locals at the open-air cinema. Children will also love the park’s five playgrounds. The alternative: Türkenschanzpark on the outskirts of the city, where the Ottoman army entrenched themselves some 330 years ago, is a neighbourhood jewel. Most enticing are the hilly surroundings, magical ponds, viewing tower ‘Paulinenwarte’, a monument of an allied Ukrainian Cossack, and the park’s quaint café. Where to stay: Nearby Grätzlhotel Karmelitermark is in keeping with Augarten’s history-steeped neighbourhood feel. The contemporary hotel is housed in the erstwhile shop of a button-maker (00 43 1 2083904; telegraph.co.uk/tt-grazlhotel) Escape the crowds: 17 of the world's greatest city parks 2. Retiro, Madrid The park: Originally the gardens of a royal palace, the Retiro is now Madrid’s main playground and is particularly popular with locals on Sunday mornings. Take a rowing boat out on the lake, which is dominated by a statue of Alfonso XII. The monument has just opened to the public, so you can go up to the top for panoramic views (free but reservation required; reservaspatrimonio.es). Don’t miss the Rosaleda rose garden, with more than 4,000 bushes in flower until early July, or the Versailles-inspired parterre. The highlights: Look out for the Àngel Caído fountain, which depicts Lucifer’s descent to Hell and is one of the few statues celebrating the devil in the world. Rest your feet at Florida Retiro, a revamped pavilion that now houses a tapas bar, deli market, roof terrace and restaurant. Retiro's resplendent pavilion Credit: Getty The alternative: El Capricho was created in the late 18th century as the country estate of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna – back then Goya and other luminaries were regular visitors. Wandering around the romantic gardens (now next to a residential area close to the airport), you come upon follies, a lake and a maze, as well as a bunker from the Civil War. Where to stay: The fashionable Only You Atocha, five minutes’ walk from the Retiro, has a running club and provides maps of routes around the park (00 34 914 09 78 76; telegraph.co.uk/tt-atocha) 3. Vondelpark, Amsterdam The Park: Nicknamed ‘Amsterdam’s Green Lung’, the Vondelpark is indeed lung-shaped, and constantly on the move – from the children’s playgrounds and tennis club, to joggers’ highways and a 1930s café that resembles a grounded flying saucer. Laid out in the mid-19th century in the highly fashionable English style, the 120-acre park also has green nooks aplenty, an elegant rose garden, a lake with a no-humans wild patch, and even a meadow with a neglected sculpture by Picasso. This is where Amsterdam flocks and flops out on hot summer days. Amsterdam's Green Lung Credit: Getty The highlights: An open-air theatre stages concerts and other shows day and night through the summer; the Blauwe Theehuis has a terrace where you can sit back over lunch, drinks or cocktails, and the Groot Melkhuis café has a children’s playground attached. The alternative: Laid out for the huge Floriade flower expo in 1972, the Amstelpark is a motley haven of exotic flora, wildflowers, some 140 species of rhododendron, a Japanese garden, a bird-filled forest and more. A little out of the centre, beside the river Amstel and a 17th-century windmill, it’s a more peaceful retreat than the Vondelpark. Where to stay: Just five minutes from the Vondelpark, The Neighbour’s Magnolia is a simple, cheerfully run family hotel, with a dog you can ‘borrow’ to take for walks (00 31 20 676 9321; telegraph.co.uk/tt-magnolia) 4. Monsanto Forest Park, Lisbon The park: For a gargantuan gulp of arboreal air and the chance to shake off the city streets, head to this tranquil green stretch on a re-forested hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood. The park stretches over six square miles of verdant, vegetative lushness. Pack sarnies and some of the sparkly stuff: panoramic picnic spots looking out over the Portuguese capital and the Rio Tejo abound. To get there, stroll along the ‘Green Corridor’ (Corredor Verde) from Praca dos Restauradores. Monsanto Forest Park is on a hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood Credit: Getty The highlights: For sporty types, Monsanto offers an adventurous maze of hiking trails and bike tracks. There is plenty for culture vultures too, with a regular programme of outdoor concerts and theatre productions. Children have their pick of three recreation areas: Alto da Serafina, Alvito and Moinhos de Santana. The alternative: Located in the west of the city, the beautifully maintained Jardim da Estrela – overlooked by the Basilica da Estrela, one of the capital’s most ornate churches – has been a favourite hideaway for city residents since the 1870s. Boasting a wrought-iron bandstand, a duck pond and a popular children’s play area, it has something for everyone. The hotel: The super-stylish, riverside Altis Belém Hotel and Spa offers sunset views and a rooftop swim, plus all the pampering you could ask for. Renowned as the home of Lisbon’s famous custard tarts (pastéis de nata), it continues to earn culinary fame for its Michelin-starred Restaurant Feitoria (00 351 21 040 0200; telegraph.co.uk/altisbelem) Surprising alternatives to Europe’s most overcrowded cities 5. Tiergarten, Berlin The park: Although the largest, most central and arguably most obvious park to choose, Berlin’s Tiergarten has it all, from historical monuments and cultural institutions to art installations and picturesque beer gardens. Once a wild forest and hunting reserve for the Kaiser, it was transformed into a landscaped park by famed architect Peter Joseph Lennéin the 1800s. Stroll the park’s network of winding pathways to discover the many highlights dotted throughout. The highlights: The oyster-shaped Haus der Kulturen der Welt offers a consistently high quality array of exhibitions, conferences and events. Cafe Am Neuen See has frothy beers, a proper restaurant and a pretty lake with rowboats for hire; climb the Siegessäule (Victory Column) for stellar views. Climb Berlin's Victory Column in the Tiergarten Credit: Getty The alternative: Nestled against the Spree in the former Eastern district of Treptow, Treptow Park is popular with table tennis-playing hipsters as it is with barbecuing families. Sunbathe on the grassy banks of the river, admire the outsized Soviet Memorial or rent a kayak from the nearby Insel der Jügend. The hotel: Das Stue is a five-star design hotel located right on the edge of the park. Some suites overlook the Tiergarten’s zoo (to which the bar enjoys a private entrance). There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa and pool (00 49 30 3117220; telegraph.co.uk/tt-dasstue) 6. Letná Park, Prague The park: Rising above the city to the north of the picturesque Vltava river and extending to the east of the Mala Strana neighbourhood and Prague Castle, pretty Letná Park is a wonderful place for active exploration or sunny relaxation. As well as grassy meadows ideal for picnics and sunbathing, there are asphalt paths for jogging and in-line skating, and a dedicated skateboard park, plus gardens and some impressive royal architecture. The highlights: Grab a frothy Pilsner at the popular Letná beer garden while admiring the architecture of the adjacent neo-renaissance Letná Chateau; get lunch there or at the cast-iron Hanavský Pavilion, which offers spectacular views over the city and the river. On sunny Friday evenings, you can catch some outdoor salsa dancing near the park’s landmark giant Metronome. Find the Letna Park in front of the Letna Chateau Credit: iStock The alternative: Situated next to the eye-catching Basilica of St Peter & Paul just outside Prague’s centre, the small but charming Vysehrad Park has a fairy-tale quality enhanced by an atmospheric national cemetery (Alphonse Mucha and Antonín Dvořák, among others, are buried there), and breathtaking views down onto the winding Vltava. The hotel: Prague’s esteemed Golden Well hotel, hidden away below Prague Castle and walking distance to Letna park, has an aristocratic air and one of the best restaurant views in town (00 420 257 011 213; telegraph.co.uk/tt-goldenwell) 7. Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona The park: Created in the 18th century to replace the hated citadel (ciutadella) of Philip V, this is now one of Barcelona’s best loved spaces; an elegant but lively park with acres of grassland, and a picturesque boating lake at its heart. It’s home to the city’s zoo; the Catalan Parliament building (the former arsenal of the citadel); a handsome Modernista gatehouse; playgrounds, picnic areas and an impressive array of classical and modern statuary. The highlights: The moving Desconsol (Disconsolate) statue that sits in a lily pond at the centre of the Plaça d’Armes is surrounded by manicured rose gardens – the perfect place for a picnic. Don’t miss the waterfall in the north-eastern corner; one of the earliest commissions for the young Antoni Gaudí. Fountain fans head to the Parc de la Ciutadella Credit: iStock The alternative: The neo-classical gardens of the Parc del Laberint d’Horta are just far enough from the centre to dissuade most tourists, but reward those that make it. Built on various levels and dotted with follies, canals and romantic corners, it has as its main attraction a tall and just-difficult-enough 18th-century maze. Where to stay: A stone’s throw from the park’s entrance, the Chic & Basic Born hotel has small but artfully designed rooms in dazzling white for good design on a budget (00 34 932 95 46 52; telegraph.co.uk/tt-chicandbasic) 8. Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris The park: The Luxembourg Gardens, created in the early 17th century to accompany Marie de’ Medic’s Renaissance palace (now the French Senate) is known for its central sunken parterre and picturesque plane-tree-lined avenues, but it’s not all ornamental. In summer you’ll find busy tennis courts; very serious pétanque games played by regulars; basketball and even bee hives. On the south side, stop in the secluded English-style gardens, replete with greenery and birdsong and dotted with neoclassical sculpture. The highlights: Napoleon Bonaparte dedicated this park to children and famous features include the Guignol puppet show, pony rides and whimsical miniature sailing boats on the central octagonal basin; take in the view from the raised banks above the parterres, where you’ll spot Saint-Suplice church, the Panthéon and Eiffel Tower. Napoleon dedicated the Jardin du Luxembourg to children Credit: iStock The alternative: The Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret is (like many good things in Paris) hidden in plain sight, tucked away behind rue des Rosiers, in the historic heart of the Marais. Amid the bustle of the now-hip area, these secluded gardens provide a pocket of quiet verdure, flanked by old aristocratic mansions. Where to stay: Soak up St-Germain atmosphere at dinky L’Hôtel, famous for being the pension where Oscar Wilde died, and now a swish boutique address with décor from Jacques Garcia (00 33 1 44 41 99 00; telegraph.co.uk/tt-lhotel) 9. Villa Borghese, Rome The park: With immense foresight, Rome’s council snapped up this peri-urban estate of the debt-saddled Borghese dynasty and opened it as a public park in 1903. At nearly 200 acres, this is the city’s third-largest park, retaining all the hallmarks of a nobleman’s property. It’s slightly scuffed but wholly charming: statues, a boating lake, aviaries, fake temples and shady promenades. The view from the Pincio balcony towards the dome of St Peter’s is second to none, and a paddle round the little lake is quaintly pleasurable. The highlights: Located inside the park, the Galleria Borghese contains one of the world’s finest art collections. Within the park walls, the Bioparco – Rome’s zoo – keeps little ones entertained. Rome's Villa Borghese at dawn Credit: Getty The alternative: Altogether more intimate, Villa Celimontana is the green heart of the Celio district. There’s a children’s play area frequented by locals. On summer evenings, the park is a cool venue for jazz concerts. Where to stay: Oozing art nouveau grace, the Hotel Locarno sits just below the Pincio balcony, with Villa Borghese’s umbrella pines always in sight as you do the 10-minute climb to the park (00 39 06 361 0841; telegraph.co.uk/tt-locarno) 10. Parco di Villa Groggia, Venice The park: In this city, with its intriguing glimpses of private gardens concealed behind high walls, municipal green space is often a dusty afterthought. Parco di Villa Groggia, in Venice’s far northern reaches, is an utterly charming exception. Hemmed in between palazzi in the Cannaregio district, this lush space with its huge hackberry trees and pillar-box-red benches is a haven of birdsong and chirping children who play around quaint ‘ruins’ erected in the 18th century – a Venetian take on the English garden style. The highlights: Tiny Teatrino Groggia – a neoclassical gem inside the park – stages the occasional play or concert, though the programme is difficult to find. Next door to the park, the Piscina di Sant’Alvise is an indoor Olympic-sized pool – for swimming rather than splashing. 22 beautiful European cities you'd never thought to visit The alternative: Grassy stretches beneath towering umbrella pines by the Sant’Elena vaporetto stop are a fine place to escape the crowds. A handful of bars around the edge of the park are perfect for lunch or aperitivi. Where to stay: Ai Mori d’Oriente enjoys the special mix of residential quiet plus buzzy nightlife scene that characterises the northern Cannaregio district where Parco di Villa Groggia is located (00 39 041 711001; telegraph.co.uk/tt-moridoriente) Contributions from Annie Bennett, Oliver Balch, Rodney Bolt, Barbara Cacao, Sally Davies, Anne Hanley, Sherelle Jacobs, Hannah Meltzer and Paul Sullivan
It’s a curious paradox: escaping the city during a European city break. But resting blistered feet in the leafy coolness of a local park after a hectic morning of museum-hopping is a quintessential part of the experience. Funny how we make pilgrimages to the West’s cultural icons such as the Trevi Fountain and the Louvre – but then remember with equal fondness a gelato nursed under a chestnut tree afterwards. This doesn’t make us park-lovers philistines. They are potent seats of culture in their own right, after all. The Tuileries in Paris was the back yard of both Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. Madrid’s rose-perfumed Retiro once belonged to Spanish monarchy. Parks are also noble preservers of national quirks and traditions. Where else but in the green spaces of Europe can one stumble across family puppet shows that bob with wooden marionettes or hushed games of afternoon boules? Then there’s the brilliant people watching: the academics snoozing behind their newspapers on benches; the tortured artists hunched against iron gates that hang with watercolours for sale; and skateboarders snaking through slow-footed pedestrians. Here Telegraph Travel’s destination experts share their favourite city parks for summer, from Berlin to Barcelona. 1. Augarten, Vienna The park: It certainly covers a lot of ground. Where else would baroque manicured box trees open a view to a massive concrete air defence tower from the Second World War? Where else could you admire fine porcelain just after coming out of a fragrant lime grove? Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, just 15 minutes’ walk from the centre, is a natural habitat for historians, nature lovers, music aficionados, and cineastes. The Augarten is home to a concrete air defence tower Credit: iStock The highlights: Tour the historic porcelain manufactory on the grounds, followed by coffee at the adjacent café; listen to the Vienna Boys Choir performing at their concert hall, but do book in advance; in the summer, join the locals at the open-air cinema. Children will also love the park’s five playgrounds. The alternative: Türkenschanzpark on the outskirts of the city, where the Ottoman army entrenched themselves some 330 years ago, is a neighbourhood jewel. Most enticing are the hilly surroundings, magical ponds, viewing tower ‘Paulinenwarte’, a monument of an allied Ukrainian Cossack, and the park’s quaint café. Where to stay: Nearby Grätzlhotel Karmelitermark is in keeping with Augarten’s history-steeped neighbourhood feel. The contemporary hotel is housed in the erstwhile shop of a button-maker (00 43 1 2083904; telegraph.co.uk/tt-grazlhotel) Escape the crowds: 17 of the world's greatest city parks 2. Retiro, Madrid The park: Originally the gardens of a royal palace, the Retiro is now Madrid’s main playground and is particularly popular with locals on Sunday mornings. Take a rowing boat out on the lake, which is dominated by a statue of Alfonso XII. The monument has just opened to the public, so you can go up to the top for panoramic views (free but reservation required; reservaspatrimonio.es). Don’t miss the Rosaleda rose garden, with more than 4,000 bushes in flower until early July, or the Versailles-inspired parterre. The highlights: Look out for the Àngel Caído fountain, which depicts Lucifer’s descent to Hell and is one of the few statues celebrating the devil in the world. Rest your feet at Florida Retiro, a revamped pavilion that now houses a tapas bar, deli market, roof terrace and restaurant. Retiro's resplendent pavilion Credit: Getty The alternative: El Capricho was created in the late 18th century as the country estate of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna – back then Goya and other luminaries were regular visitors. Wandering around the romantic gardens (now next to a residential area close to the airport), you come upon follies, a lake and a maze, as well as a bunker from the Civil War. Where to stay: The fashionable Only You Atocha, five minutes’ walk from the Retiro, has a running club and provides maps of routes around the park (00 34 914 09 78 76; telegraph.co.uk/tt-atocha) 3. Vondelpark, Amsterdam The Park: Nicknamed ‘Amsterdam’s Green Lung’, the Vondelpark is indeed lung-shaped, and constantly on the move – from the children’s playgrounds and tennis club, to joggers’ highways and a 1930s café that resembles a grounded flying saucer. Laid out in the mid-19th century in the highly fashionable English style, the 120-acre park also has green nooks aplenty, an elegant rose garden, a lake with a no-humans wild patch, and even a meadow with a neglected sculpture by Picasso. This is where Amsterdam flocks and flops out on hot summer days. Amsterdam's Green Lung Credit: Getty The highlights: An open-air theatre stages concerts and other shows day and night through the summer; the Blauwe Theehuis has a terrace where you can sit back over lunch, drinks or cocktails, and the Groot Melkhuis café has a children’s playground attached. The alternative: Laid out for the huge Floriade flower expo in 1972, the Amstelpark is a motley haven of exotic flora, wildflowers, some 140 species of rhododendron, a Japanese garden, a bird-filled forest and more. A little out of the centre, beside the river Amstel and a 17th-century windmill, it’s a more peaceful retreat than the Vondelpark. Where to stay: Just five minutes from the Vondelpark, The Neighbour’s Magnolia is a simple, cheerfully run family hotel, with a dog you can ‘borrow’ to take for walks (00 31 20 676 9321; telegraph.co.uk/tt-magnolia) 4. Monsanto Forest Park, Lisbon The park: For a gargantuan gulp of arboreal air and the chance to shake off the city streets, head to this tranquil green stretch on a re-forested hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood. The park stretches over six square miles of verdant, vegetative lushness. Pack sarnies and some of the sparkly stuff: panoramic picnic spots looking out over the Portuguese capital and the Rio Tejo abound. To get there, stroll along the ‘Green Corridor’ (Corredor Verde) from Praca dos Restauradores. Monsanto Forest Park is on a hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood Credit: Getty The highlights: For sporty types, Monsanto offers an adventurous maze of hiking trails and bike tracks. There is plenty for culture vultures too, with a regular programme of outdoor concerts and theatre productions. Children have their pick of three recreation areas: Alto da Serafina, Alvito and Moinhos de Santana. The alternative: Located in the west of the city, the beautifully maintained Jardim da Estrela – overlooked by the Basilica da Estrela, one of the capital’s most ornate churches – has been a favourite hideaway for city residents since the 1870s. Boasting a wrought-iron bandstand, a duck pond and a popular children’s play area, it has something for everyone. The hotel: The super-stylish, riverside Altis Belém Hotel and Spa offers sunset views and a rooftop swim, plus all the pampering you could ask for. Renowned as the home of Lisbon’s famous custard tarts (pastéis de nata), it continues to earn culinary fame for its Michelin-starred Restaurant Feitoria (00 351 21 040 0200; telegraph.co.uk/altisbelem) Surprising alternatives to Europe’s most overcrowded cities 5. Tiergarten, Berlin The park: Although the largest, most central and arguably most obvious park to choose, Berlin’s Tiergarten has it all, from historical monuments and cultural institutions to art installations and picturesque beer gardens. Once a wild forest and hunting reserve for the Kaiser, it was transformed into a landscaped park by famed architect Peter Joseph Lennéin the 1800s. Stroll the park’s network of winding pathways to discover the many highlights dotted throughout. The highlights: The oyster-shaped Haus der Kulturen der Welt offers a consistently high quality array of exhibitions, conferences and events. Cafe Am Neuen See has frothy beers, a proper restaurant and a pretty lake with rowboats for hire; climb the Siegessäule (Victory Column) for stellar views. Climb Berlin's Victory Column in the Tiergarten Credit: Getty The alternative: Nestled against the Spree in the former Eastern district of Treptow, Treptow Park is popular with table tennis-playing hipsters as it is with barbecuing families. Sunbathe on the grassy banks of the river, admire the outsized Soviet Memorial or rent a kayak from the nearby Insel der Jügend. The hotel: Das Stue is a five-star design hotel located right on the edge of the park. Some suites overlook the Tiergarten’s zoo (to which the bar enjoys a private entrance). There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa and pool (00 49 30 3117220; telegraph.co.uk/tt-dasstue) 6. Letná Park, Prague The park: Rising above the city to the north of the picturesque Vltava river and extending to the east of the Mala Strana neighbourhood and Prague Castle, pretty Letná Park is a wonderful place for active exploration or sunny relaxation. As well as grassy meadows ideal for picnics and sunbathing, there are asphalt paths for jogging and in-line skating, and a dedicated skateboard park, plus gardens and some impressive royal architecture. The highlights: Grab a frothy Pilsner at the popular Letná beer garden while admiring the architecture of the adjacent neo-renaissance Letná Chateau; get lunch there or at the cast-iron Hanavský Pavilion, which offers spectacular views over the city and the river. On sunny Friday evenings, you can catch some outdoor salsa dancing near the park’s landmark giant Metronome. Find the Letna Park in front of the Letna Chateau Credit: iStock The alternative: Situated next to the eye-catching Basilica of St Peter & Paul just outside Prague’s centre, the small but charming Vysehrad Park has a fairy-tale quality enhanced by an atmospheric national cemetery (Alphonse Mucha and Antonín Dvořák, among others, are buried there), and breathtaking views down onto the winding Vltava. The hotel: Prague’s esteemed Golden Well hotel, hidden away below Prague Castle and walking distance to Letna park, has an aristocratic air and one of the best restaurant views in town (00 420 257 011 213; telegraph.co.uk/tt-goldenwell) 7. Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona The park: Created in the 18th century to replace the hated citadel (ciutadella) of Philip V, this is now one of Barcelona’s best loved spaces; an elegant but lively park with acres of grassland, and a picturesque boating lake at its heart. It’s home to the city’s zoo; the Catalan Parliament building (the former arsenal of the citadel); a handsome Modernista gatehouse; playgrounds, picnic areas and an impressive array of classical and modern statuary. The highlights: The moving Desconsol (Disconsolate) statue that sits in a lily pond at the centre of the Plaça d’Armes is surrounded by manicured rose gardens – the perfect place for a picnic. Don’t miss the waterfall in the north-eastern corner; one of the earliest commissions for the young Antoni Gaudí. Fountain fans head to the Parc de la Ciutadella Credit: iStock The alternative: The neo-classical gardens of the Parc del Laberint d’Horta are just far enough from the centre to dissuade most tourists, but reward those that make it. Built on various levels and dotted with follies, canals and romantic corners, it has as its main attraction a tall and just-difficult-enough 18th-century maze. Where to stay: A stone’s throw from the park’s entrance, the Chic & Basic Born hotel has small but artfully designed rooms in dazzling white for good design on a budget (00 34 932 95 46 52; telegraph.co.uk/tt-chicandbasic) 8. Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris The park: The Luxembourg Gardens, created in the early 17th century to accompany Marie de’ Medic’s Renaissance palace (now the French Senate) is known for its central sunken parterre and picturesque plane-tree-lined avenues, but it’s not all ornamental. In summer you’ll find busy tennis courts; very serious pétanque games played by regulars; basketball and even bee hives. On the south side, stop in the secluded English-style gardens, replete with greenery and birdsong and dotted with neoclassical sculpture. The highlights: Napoleon Bonaparte dedicated this park to children and famous features include the Guignol puppet show, pony rides and whimsical miniature sailing boats on the central octagonal basin; take in the view from the raised banks above the parterres, where you’ll spot Saint-Suplice church, the Panthéon and Eiffel Tower. Napoleon dedicated the Jardin du Luxembourg to children Credit: iStock The alternative: The Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret is (like many good things in Paris) hidden in plain sight, tucked away behind rue des Rosiers, in the historic heart of the Marais. Amid the bustle of the now-hip area, these secluded gardens provide a pocket of quiet verdure, flanked by old aristocratic mansions. Where to stay: Soak up St-Germain atmosphere at dinky L’Hôtel, famous for being the pension where Oscar Wilde died, and now a swish boutique address with décor from Jacques Garcia (00 33 1 44 41 99 00; telegraph.co.uk/tt-lhotel) 9. Villa Borghese, Rome The park: With immense foresight, Rome’s council snapped up this peri-urban estate of the debt-saddled Borghese dynasty and opened it as a public park in 1903. At nearly 200 acres, this is the city’s third-largest park, retaining all the hallmarks of a nobleman’s property. It’s slightly scuffed but wholly charming: statues, a boating lake, aviaries, fake temples and shady promenades. The view from the Pincio balcony towards the dome of St Peter’s is second to none, and a paddle round the little lake is quaintly pleasurable. The highlights: Located inside the park, the Galleria Borghese contains one of the world’s finest art collections. Within the park walls, the Bioparco – Rome’s zoo – keeps little ones entertained. Rome's Villa Borghese at dawn Credit: Getty The alternative: Altogether more intimate, Villa Celimontana is the green heart of the Celio district. There’s a children’s play area frequented by locals. On summer evenings, the park is a cool venue for jazz concerts. Where to stay: Oozing art nouveau grace, the Hotel Locarno sits just below the Pincio balcony, with Villa Borghese’s umbrella pines always in sight as you do the 10-minute climb to the park (00 39 06 361 0841; telegraph.co.uk/tt-locarno) 10. Parco di Villa Groggia, Venice The park: In this city, with its intriguing glimpses of private gardens concealed behind high walls, municipal green space is often a dusty afterthought. Parco di Villa Groggia, in Venice’s far northern reaches, is an utterly charming exception. Hemmed in between palazzi in the Cannaregio district, this lush space with its huge hackberry trees and pillar-box-red benches is a haven of birdsong and chirping children who play around quaint ‘ruins’ erected in the 18th century – a Venetian take on the English garden style. The highlights: Tiny Teatrino Groggia – a neoclassical gem inside the park – stages the occasional play or concert, though the programme is difficult to find. Next door to the park, the Piscina di Sant’Alvise is an indoor Olympic-sized pool – for swimming rather than splashing. 22 beautiful European cities you'd never thought to visit The alternative: Grassy stretches beneath towering umbrella pines by the Sant’Elena vaporetto stop are a fine place to escape the crowds. A handful of bars around the edge of the park are perfect for lunch or aperitivi. Where to stay: Ai Mori d’Oriente enjoys the special mix of residential quiet plus buzzy nightlife scene that characterises the northern Cannaregio district where Parco di Villa Groggia is located (00 39 041 711001; telegraph.co.uk/tt-moridoriente) Contributions from Annie Bennett, Oliver Balch, Rodney Bolt, Barbara Cacao, Sally Davies, Anne Hanley, Sherelle Jacobs, Hannah Meltzer and Paul Sullivan
Where to find Europe's most beautiful green spaces within its great cities
It’s a curious paradox: escaping the city during a European city break. But resting blistered feet in the leafy coolness of a local park after a hectic morning of museum-hopping is a quintessential part of the experience. Funny how we make pilgrimages to the West’s cultural icons such as the Trevi Fountain and the Louvre – but then remember with equal fondness a gelato nursed under a chestnut tree afterwards. This doesn’t make us park-lovers philistines. They are potent seats of culture in their own right, after all. The Tuileries in Paris was the back yard of both Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. Madrid’s rose-perfumed Retiro once belonged to Spanish monarchy. Parks are also noble preservers of national quirks and traditions. Where else but in the green spaces of Europe can one stumble across family puppet shows that bob with wooden marionettes or hushed games of afternoon boules? Then there’s the brilliant people watching: the academics snoozing behind their newspapers on benches; the tortured artists hunched against iron gates that hang with watercolours for sale; and skateboarders snaking through slow-footed pedestrians. Here Telegraph Travel’s destination experts share their favourite city parks for summer, from Berlin to Barcelona. 1. Augarten, Vienna The park: It certainly covers a lot of ground. Where else would baroque manicured box trees open a view to a massive concrete air defence tower from the Second World War? Where else could you admire fine porcelain just after coming out of a fragrant lime grove? Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, just 15 minutes’ walk from the centre, is a natural habitat for historians, nature lovers, music aficionados, and cineastes. The Augarten is home to a concrete air defence tower Credit: iStock The highlights: Tour the historic porcelain manufactory on the grounds, followed by coffee at the adjacent café; listen to the Vienna Boys Choir performing at their concert hall, but do book in advance; in the summer, join the locals at the open-air cinema. Children will also love the park’s five playgrounds. The alternative: Türkenschanzpark on the outskirts of the city, where the Ottoman army entrenched themselves some 330 years ago, is a neighbourhood jewel. Most enticing are the hilly surroundings, magical ponds, viewing tower ‘Paulinenwarte’, a monument of an allied Ukrainian Cossack, and the park’s quaint café. Where to stay: Nearby Grätzlhotel Karmelitermark is in keeping with Augarten’s history-steeped neighbourhood feel. The contemporary hotel is housed in the erstwhile shop of a button-maker (00 43 1 2083904; telegraph.co.uk/tt-grazlhotel) Escape the crowds: 17 of the world's greatest city parks 2. Retiro, Madrid The park: Originally the gardens of a royal palace, the Retiro is now Madrid’s main playground and is particularly popular with locals on Sunday mornings. Take a rowing boat out on the lake, which is dominated by a statue of Alfonso XII. The monument has just opened to the public, so you can go up to the top for panoramic views (free but reservation required; reservaspatrimonio.es). Don’t miss the Rosaleda rose garden, with more than 4,000 bushes in flower until early July, or the Versailles-inspired parterre. The highlights: Look out for the Àngel Caído fountain, which depicts Lucifer’s descent to Hell and is one of the few statues celebrating the devil in the world. Rest your feet at Florida Retiro, a revamped pavilion that now houses a tapas bar, deli market, roof terrace and restaurant. Retiro's resplendent pavilion Credit: Getty The alternative: El Capricho was created in the late 18th century as the country estate of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna – back then Goya and other luminaries were regular visitors. Wandering around the romantic gardens (now next to a residential area close to the airport), you come upon follies, a lake and a maze, as well as a bunker from the Civil War. Where to stay: The fashionable Only You Atocha, five minutes’ walk from the Retiro, has a running club and provides maps of routes around the park (00 34 914 09 78 76; telegraph.co.uk/tt-atocha) 3. Vondelpark, Amsterdam The Park: Nicknamed ‘Amsterdam’s Green Lung’, the Vondelpark is indeed lung-shaped, and constantly on the move – from the children’s playgrounds and tennis club, to joggers’ highways and a 1930s café that resembles a grounded flying saucer. Laid out in the mid-19th century in the highly fashionable English style, the 120-acre park also has green nooks aplenty, an elegant rose garden, a lake with a no-humans wild patch, and even a meadow with a neglected sculpture by Picasso. This is where Amsterdam flocks and flops out on hot summer days. Amsterdam's Green Lung Credit: Getty The highlights: An open-air theatre stages concerts and other shows day and night through the summer; the Blauwe Theehuis has a terrace where you can sit back over lunch, drinks or cocktails, and the Groot Melkhuis café has a children’s playground attached. The alternative: Laid out for the huge Floriade flower expo in 1972, the Amstelpark is a motley haven of exotic flora, wildflowers, some 140 species of rhododendron, a Japanese garden, a bird-filled forest and more. A little out of the centre, beside the river Amstel and a 17th-century windmill, it’s a more peaceful retreat than the Vondelpark. Where to stay: Just five minutes from the Vondelpark, The Neighbour’s Magnolia is a simple, cheerfully run family hotel, with a dog you can ‘borrow’ to take for walks (00 31 20 676 9321; telegraph.co.uk/tt-magnolia) 4. Monsanto Forest Park, Lisbon The park: For a gargantuan gulp of arboreal air and the chance to shake off the city streets, head to this tranquil green stretch on a re-forested hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood. The park stretches over six square miles of verdant, vegetative lushness. Pack sarnies and some of the sparkly stuff: panoramic picnic spots looking out over the Portuguese capital and the Rio Tejo abound. To get there, stroll along the ‘Green Corridor’ (Corredor Verde) from Praca dos Restauradores. Monsanto Forest Park is on a hillside in the Boavista neighbourhood Credit: Getty The highlights: For sporty types, Monsanto offers an adventurous maze of hiking trails and bike tracks. There is plenty for culture vultures too, with a regular programme of outdoor concerts and theatre productions. Children have their pick of three recreation areas: Alto da Serafina, Alvito and Moinhos de Santana. The alternative: Located in the west of the city, the beautifully maintained Jardim da Estrela – overlooked by the Basilica da Estrela, one of the capital’s most ornate churches – has been a favourite hideaway for city residents since the 1870s. Boasting a wrought-iron bandstand, a duck pond and a popular children’s play area, it has something for everyone. The hotel: The super-stylish, riverside Altis Belém Hotel and Spa offers sunset views and a rooftop swim, plus all the pampering you could ask for. Renowned as the home of Lisbon’s famous custard tarts (pastéis de nata), it continues to earn culinary fame for its Michelin-starred Restaurant Feitoria (00 351 21 040 0200; telegraph.co.uk/altisbelem) Surprising alternatives to Europe’s most overcrowded cities 5. Tiergarten, Berlin The park: Although the largest, most central and arguably most obvious park to choose, Berlin’s Tiergarten has it all, from historical monuments and cultural institutions to art installations and picturesque beer gardens. Once a wild forest and hunting reserve for the Kaiser, it was transformed into a landscaped park by famed architect Peter Joseph Lennéin the 1800s. Stroll the park’s network of winding pathways to discover the many highlights dotted throughout. The highlights: The oyster-shaped Haus der Kulturen der Welt offers a consistently high quality array of exhibitions, conferences and events. Cafe Am Neuen See has frothy beers, a proper restaurant and a pretty lake with rowboats for hire; climb the Siegessäule (Victory Column) for stellar views. Climb Berlin's Victory Column in the Tiergarten Credit: Getty The alternative: Nestled against the Spree in the former Eastern district of Treptow, Treptow Park is popular with table tennis-playing hipsters as it is with barbecuing families. Sunbathe on the grassy banks of the river, admire the outsized Soviet Memorial or rent a kayak from the nearby Insel der Jügend. The hotel: Das Stue is a five-star design hotel located right on the edge of the park. Some suites overlook the Tiergarten’s zoo (to which the bar enjoys a private entrance). There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa and pool (00 49 30 3117220; telegraph.co.uk/tt-dasstue) 6. Letná Park, Prague The park: Rising above the city to the north of the picturesque Vltava river and extending to the east of the Mala Strana neighbourhood and Prague Castle, pretty Letná Park is a wonderful place for active exploration or sunny relaxation. As well as grassy meadows ideal for picnics and sunbathing, there are asphalt paths for jogging and in-line skating, and a dedicated skateboard park, plus gardens and some impressive royal architecture. The highlights: Grab a frothy Pilsner at the popular Letná beer garden while admiring the architecture of the adjacent neo-renaissance Letná Chateau; get lunch there or at the cast-iron Hanavský Pavilion, which offers spectacular views over the city and the river. On sunny Friday evenings, you can catch some outdoor salsa dancing near the park’s landmark giant Metronome. Find the Letna Park in front of the Letna Chateau Credit: iStock The alternative: Situated next to the eye-catching Basilica of St Peter & Paul just outside Prague’s centre, the small but charming Vysehrad Park has a fairy-tale quality enhanced by an atmospheric national cemetery (Alphonse Mucha and Antonín Dvořák, among others, are buried there), and breathtaking views down onto the winding Vltava. The hotel: Prague’s esteemed Golden Well hotel, hidden away below Prague Castle and walking distance to Letna park, has an aristocratic air and one of the best restaurant views in town (00 420 257 011 213; telegraph.co.uk/tt-goldenwell) 7. Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona The park: Created in the 18th century to replace the hated citadel (ciutadella) of Philip V, this is now one of Barcelona’s best loved spaces; an elegant but lively park with acres of grassland, and a picturesque boating lake at its heart. It’s home to the city’s zoo; the Catalan Parliament building (the former arsenal of the citadel); a handsome Modernista gatehouse; playgrounds, picnic areas and an impressive array of classical and modern statuary. The highlights: The moving Desconsol (Disconsolate) statue that sits in a lily pond at the centre of the Plaça d’Armes is surrounded by manicured rose gardens – the perfect place for a picnic. Don’t miss the waterfall in the north-eastern corner; one of the earliest commissions for the young Antoni Gaudí. Fountain fans head to the Parc de la Ciutadella Credit: iStock The alternative: The neo-classical gardens of the Parc del Laberint d’Horta are just far enough from the centre to dissuade most tourists, but reward those that make it. Built on various levels and dotted with follies, canals and romantic corners, it has as its main attraction a tall and just-difficult-enough 18th-century maze. Where to stay: A stone’s throw from the park’s entrance, the Chic & Basic Born hotel has small but artfully designed rooms in dazzling white for good design on a budget (00 34 932 95 46 52; telegraph.co.uk/tt-chicandbasic) 8. Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris The park: The Luxembourg Gardens, created in the early 17th century to accompany Marie de’ Medic’s Renaissance palace (now the French Senate) is known for its central sunken parterre and picturesque plane-tree-lined avenues, but it’s not all ornamental. In summer you’ll find busy tennis courts; very serious pétanque games played by regulars; basketball and even bee hives. On the south side, stop in the secluded English-style gardens, replete with greenery and birdsong and dotted with neoclassical sculpture. The highlights: Napoleon Bonaparte dedicated this park to children and famous features include the Guignol puppet show, pony rides and whimsical miniature sailing boats on the central octagonal basin; take in the view from the raised banks above the parterres, where you’ll spot Saint-Suplice church, the Panthéon and Eiffel Tower. Napoleon dedicated the Jardin du Luxembourg to children Credit: iStock The alternative: The Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret is (like many good things in Paris) hidden in plain sight, tucked away behind rue des Rosiers, in the historic heart of the Marais. Amid the bustle of the now-hip area, these secluded gardens provide a pocket of quiet verdure, flanked by old aristocratic mansions. Where to stay: Soak up St-Germain atmosphere at dinky L’Hôtel, famous for being the pension where Oscar Wilde died, and now a swish boutique address with décor from Jacques Garcia (00 33 1 44 41 99 00; telegraph.co.uk/tt-lhotel) 9. Villa Borghese, Rome The park: With immense foresight, Rome’s council snapped up this peri-urban estate of the debt-saddled Borghese dynasty and opened it as a public park in 1903. At nearly 200 acres, this is the city’s third-largest park, retaining all the hallmarks of a nobleman’s property. It’s slightly scuffed but wholly charming: statues, a boating lake, aviaries, fake temples and shady promenades. The view from the Pincio balcony towards the dome of St Peter’s is second to none, and a paddle round the little lake is quaintly pleasurable. The highlights: Located inside the park, the Galleria Borghese contains one of the world’s finest art collections. Within the park walls, the Bioparco – Rome’s zoo – keeps little ones entertained. Rome's Villa Borghese at dawn Credit: Getty The alternative: Altogether more intimate, Villa Celimontana is the green heart of the Celio district. There’s a children’s play area frequented by locals. On summer evenings, the park is a cool venue for jazz concerts. Where to stay: Oozing art nouveau grace, the Hotel Locarno sits just below the Pincio balcony, with Villa Borghese’s umbrella pines always in sight as you do the 10-minute climb to the park (00 39 06 361 0841; telegraph.co.uk/tt-locarno) 10. Parco di Villa Groggia, Venice The park: In this city, with its intriguing glimpses of private gardens concealed behind high walls, municipal green space is often a dusty afterthought. Parco di Villa Groggia, in Venice’s far northern reaches, is an utterly charming exception. Hemmed in between palazzi in the Cannaregio district, this lush space with its huge hackberry trees and pillar-box-red benches is a haven of birdsong and chirping children who play around quaint ‘ruins’ erected in the 18th century – a Venetian take on the English garden style. The highlights: Tiny Teatrino Groggia – a neoclassical gem inside the park – stages the occasional play or concert, though the programme is difficult to find. Next door to the park, the Piscina di Sant’Alvise is an indoor Olympic-sized pool – for swimming rather than splashing. 22 beautiful European cities you'd never thought to visit The alternative: Grassy stretches beneath towering umbrella pines by the Sant’Elena vaporetto stop are a fine place to escape the crowds. A handful of bars around the edge of the park are perfect for lunch or aperitivi. Where to stay: Ai Mori d’Oriente enjoys the special mix of residential quiet plus buzzy nightlife scene that characterises the northern Cannaregio district where Parco di Villa Groggia is located (00 39 041 711001; telegraph.co.uk/tt-moridoriente) Contributions from Annie Bennett, Oliver Balch, Rodney Bolt, Barbara Cacao, Sally Davies, Anne Hanley, Sherelle Jacobs, Hannah Meltzer and Paul Sullivan
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo
Ranking every World Cup 2018 team, after one game each
What a World Cup it's been! Penalties, VAR, own goals, counter-attacks and just lots of lovely goals all over the place - it's been great fun. But who has impressed so far? Who looks good to make it all the way to the final? Are there any surprises? Having watched every single game so far, here's a run-down of all 32 teams. 32. Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabia team full of hope before their hapless 5-0 thrashing against the hosts Credit: Getty Images After a promising opening five minutes full of Barcelona-esque tip-tap football and fluid movement, Saudi Arabia put in one of the worst international performances I've ever seen. The centre-backs couldn't string a pass together, the wide players showed some fantastic first-touches and then gave the ball away immediately, offered no threat going forward and let an extremely ordinary Russia score five past them. If they'd been playing Mexico the referee would probably have stopped the game 60 minutes in to prevent it becoming a humanitarian crisis. 31. Panama Roman Torres turns away from Belgium's goal celebrations Credit: AFP Tried really hard, were fortunate with some refereeing decisions but ultimately offered little resistance to Belgium, who made Panama look better than they are by hitting aimless long balls and being sloppy in midfield. Had a few promising moments but won't get out of the group. 30. South Korea Son Heung-min (right) after South Korea's defeat to Sweden Credit: AP Undone by a (correct) VAR decision, South Korea can't really complain about their opening game defeat. They hardly got going, Son Heung-min was barely in the game and the defensive 4-4-2 shape meant they were barely able to construct passing moves that might concern the equally dull Sweden they were up against. 29. Nigeria Victor Moses argues with the referee over the penalty awarded to Croatia Credit: Getty Images Ahorrible performance from a group of players who didn't seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager's fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren't allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this. 28. Costa Rica Costa Rica's Keylor Navas's performance was the strongest in his team, but still couldn't stop this Serbian free kick Credit: Getty Images Didn't have the quality to lay a glove on Serbia but worked hard, were organised and showed some real glimpses of skill. Bet their entire betting account that targeting Branislav Ivanovic would yield goals, it didn't happen, Serbia scored two. Unfortunate but that their goalkeeper was the standout once more tells a story. 27. Iran Iran were the undeserving winners of their first tie against Morocco Credit: Getty Images Boring to watch. Scrappy, broke up play with constant fouling and sat in a low block to frustrate Morocco... then stole the three points at the end without having a shot on goal (an own goal decided it). Possession: Morocco vs Iran Organised and difficult to break down but don't really have anything in attack that will concern opposition. 26. Egypt Mo Salah was unable to contribute to his side's opening loss against Uruguay Credit: AP Frustrated Uruguay throughout, remained compact and kept two strikers up to try and counter-attack if they could get hold of possession. Did well to contain Uruguay's attacking talent but clearly missed their talisman Mo Salah to take advantage of turnovers. He returned for the defeat to Russia but looked some way short of his best and Egypt, unfortunately, look likely to be heading home soon. 25. Morocco A last minute Iran winner left Morocco heartbroken at the end of their first match of the tournament Credit: AFP Devastated by that defeat to Iran, Morocco were bright going forward, carved out chances but were undone at the last by that own goal. They press high, keep possession well and are forward-thinking on the ball. Need that to pay dividends against Portugal. 24. Poland Credit: AFP Nothing if not disappointing. Were thoroughly undone by Senegal and offered little imagination, passing sideways, leaving it until the final five minutes to actually show some attacking passion. Robert Lewandowski could hardly get on the ball but it was a poor team performance rather than his. Much work to do. 23. Sweden A penalty decided Sweden's first tie against South Korea Credit: Getty Images A 4-4-2, attack down the channels, hit the ball in the box for the strikers... and they beat South Korea with a penalty. Nothing particularly exciting going on here but it's a solid team lacking any real stars. Seb Larsson's set piece delivery will be key going forward. 22. Peru Peru were strong in their opener but without reward as they lost to Denmark Credit: Getty Images A lovely team to watch. Fizzed around the pitch, sent runners into space constantly and were unfortunate to be caught on the counter-attack just the once to allow Denmark's winning goal. 21. Tunisia Tunisia were beaten by England on set pieces Credit: Getty Images Really good with the ball, adapted to England's threats quickly (tactically adept) and broke up play when necessary. Unlucky to concede at the end but were second best to every set piece. 20. Japan Japan caused an upset, beating Colombia's 10-man team Credit: Getty Images Catapulted into a huge advantage with an early red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez and took it. Some excellent forward play and Shinji Kagawa was particularly impressive along with Takashi Inui. Can definitely get more out of this group. 19. Colombia Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red of the tournament Credit: AP Going down to 10 men wasn't a great start and it's hard to accurately evaluate Colombia. James Rodriguez not being fully fit was always going to make a difference but any team made to play 87 minutes without one of their key players is going to struggle. As it was, Colombia did pretty well and were close to getting a draw. 18. Denmark Denmark did well to get past a creative Peru side Credit: AFP Nothing special but put in a disciplined display and got the job done. Had to run a lot to deal with an effervescent Peru and Christian Eriksen was by far their main threat. If he can be marked out the game there's not much creativity in the side. 17. Australia Australia were unlucky to not at least get a point from their tie against France Credit: Getty Images Deserved a point against France. Kept the ball, played out from the back and created chances to score from open play but particularly at set-pieces, which is where their real threat comes from. Entirely capable of getting results against Peru and Denmark. 16. Serbia Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) was strong upfront for Serbia Credit: Getty Images Strong defensively and, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, up front too. The striker got himself into several goalscoring positions thanks to balance and power but his finishing let the side down. Had he found the target, Serbia would have won by more than the one goal that beat Costa Rica. Can create chances from a variety of places and defended well, despite the ageing Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic being targeted at full-back. 15. Senegal Credit: REUTERS Organised, calm in possession and rapid on the counter-attack, Senegal were great against Poland and deserved their win. On paper they have everything to go far and on the pitch they look a dangerous outfit, creating heaps of chances, easily burning past defenders on the wing and shutting down Poland attacks early. 14. Uruguay Luis Suarez under-performed against Egypt Credit: Reuters Lacked width against Egypt and Luis Suarez was dreadful buuuuuuut got the job done and looked strong defensively. If Suarez can sort his form out and the manager can figure a way to better create chances, the excellent defence will provide the basis of a team who can go far in this tournament. 13. Iceland Iceland contained Lionel Messi well enough to take a point in their first tie of the tournament Credit: Reuters Really well drilled, entirely happy sitting in a low block and frustrating their opponents but knew when to move into attacking positions themselves, transitioning well on turnovers in possession. Made Lionel Messi look pretty ordinary. 12. Argentina Messi's Argentina looked far from where they need to be to be real contenders in Russia Credit: Getty Images Don't seem to know quite what sort of team they should be, or even what the best lineup is. The only certainty is that they are entirely reliant on Messi. Everything went through him or to him, to the point it was probably detrimental to the team. Nobody else seemed able to scare Iceland and they ran out of ideas quickly. Still though. Messi. You know. 11. Germany The world champions got a shock to the system as Mexico beat them 1-0 in their first match of the group stage Credit: AFP Took a suicidal tactical approach, looked disjointed and got the very worst out of Mesut Ozil. This performance was like Arsenal in their usual mid-season slip-up and there is absolutely no way that Joachim Low can allow another one like it if Germany want to stay in the World Cup, let alone win it. That said, some of the attacking play was excellent and in theory the tactical plan made sense. Mexico were just too good. 10. Croatia Luka Modric was unsurprisingly a big influence in the midfield for Croatia Credit: AP Hard to evaluate after being afforded something close to a training game against Nigeria but the defence works well as a unit, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completely ran the midfield and when able to attack in their 4-2-4 shape, created heaps of chances. 9. Russia Russia opened the tournament with a bang in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia Credit: Getty Images Perhaps the biggest surprise at all so far in this tournament, Sat coiled like a spring against Saudi Arabia but even a slinky would have caused damage. Quick counter-attacks and a a wave of momentum was enough to mark Russia's arrival at their own World Cup. Rode that wave into an impressive win against Egypt, powering away from their opponents after being gifted the lead through an own goal. Tougher tests await, but who knows how far their own support can carry them? World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more 8. France France got the result they wanted, but will need to do better against stronger teams in the draw Credit: Getty Images A talented bunch of players rather than a team at the moment and Didier Deschamps seems to approach things far too cautiously. Didn't get it right against Australia, who deserved more than the zero points they won. A change of approach going forward should/could make France much more entertaining - and better. 7. Belgium Belgium's 'Golden Generation' were lacklustre in their tournament opener Credit: Getty Images Disjointed, struggled to build play and far too static off the ball for much of the first half but looked a menace after switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 shape in the second half. They scored their third almost immediately after that change. The quality of player they have to select from means they'll cause anyone problems but the performance against Panama was stupidly reminiscent of old Golden Generation England teams. So much promise, so little delivery. 6. Switzerland Switzerland caused more problems for Brazil than most anticipated they would Credit: Getty Images Came into the tournament underrated but don't look like they'll leave that way. Handled Brazil's attacking threat with dogged, disciplined defending and some great organisation then focused their attacks down the left. Xherdan Shaqiri continues to frustrate but there's a good average skill level of player in the team. 5. England Gareth Southgate's (left) plans are still on track thanks to Harry Kane's 91st minute winner Credit: AP Refreshingly calm and composed, a system that suits the players and a team which entertained while grinding out a 2-1 win. Harry Kane is an exceptional talent and while there are clear flaws in Gareth Southgate's team, they were genuinely impressive and fun to watch. It doesn't even feel right to type that. Also, if you feel like this might be classic 'getting ahead of themselves' media patriotism, please bear in mind that this writer is Scottish. 4. Brazil Neymar's Brazil will be looking to improve on their draw in the next round of the group stage Credit: Barcroft Images A little more subdued than we might have expected but some of the passing moves were wonderful to watch. Dropped deep immediately after scoring rather than going for the kill and may have suffered for it 3. Mexico Celebrations in Mexico over their national team's victory against Germany set off earthquake sensors Credit: AFP Absolutely fantastic to watch. Mexico got their gameplan spot on and were electric from kick-off, opting for a brave tactic that pushed three forwards high up the pitch to prey on Germany's vulnerability to counter-attacks. The speed of attack, skill on the ball and the impressive way Mexico dealt with Germany's own attacks will leave the rest of Group E fearful. Will that harm their chances of counter-attacking? Very probably. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt their game to more cautious opponents. 2. Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick snatched Portugal a point against Spain Credit: Getty Images Team Ronaldo were expected to defend in numbers, frustrate and rely on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals. Then they went and put three past Spain. They showed a different side to their game, an ability to mix things up and in Ronaldo, that they have the best player in the entire tournament. 1. Spain Spain's less than ideal start to the tournament, with the sacking of their manager, was matched by their draw against Portugal - where Diego Costa netted two of their three goals Credit: Getty Images It felt like a defeat in the end but it's important to remember what really happened. A penalty, a goalkeeper error and an incredible free-kick were what forced Spain into a draw but for the most part, they produced some stunning football and will improve now the opening match jitters are done with. Diego Costa finally looks like he suits the team while Isco, David Silva and Iniesta controlled the midfield. Maybe the manager isn't that important after all. World Cup whatsapp promo

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