After Russia’s great start to the tournament, giving their fans real hope of at least group stage qualification, the World Cup really starts NOW – 3 matches a day, 3 different kick off times for the next 10 days…….

BUT hang on, on Saturday 16th June it, will for me anyway, be a very exciting day FOUR matches, with FOUR different kick off times (11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm – BST) will take place. I have to say, I, will be in my element anyways. The matches (for the next 2 days) are below with my predictions – on a proper feast of football.

Friday 15th June

Egypt v Uruguay – Will Mo Salah play? That is the big question. If he does he wont be right up to match fitness against a solid Uruguay, who will make sure they test his injury big time. 0-2 to the South Americans for me.

Morocco v Iran – The two massive outsiders in this group, so they both will see this as a game they are most likely to get 3 points from. I can see an entertaining game, however both sides may well be disappointed at the end. A 2-2 for me.

Portugal v Spain – The two heavyweights in what has the potential to be a cracker of a game as the Iberian rivals clash. Sadly I can see a bit of a slug fest as they cancel each other out, even with all the chaos in the Spanish camp as a result of their manager, Julen Lopetegui accepting the Real Madrid job and then being sacked by the Federation. Portugal, as they showed in winning Euro 2016, so know how to shut a game down. Not a complete dog, but I can see this panning out as a 0-0, with both teams confident they can deal with Iran and Morocco to qualify from the group.

Saturday 16th June

France v Australia – My predicted champions France to start strong for me. Australia will battle hard and even score, but that won’t be enough. 3-1 to the French.

Argentina v Iceland – Messi the main man against the Icelandic team that were taken to heart in Euro 2016. We know how the underdog team will approach the game, keep it tight and try to hurt Argentina’s weak under belly in defence. This will be tight, but Messi will be the difference 1-0 to Argentina.

Peru v Denmark – I feel Peru will take a ‘no fear’ attitude going into this tournament and will be an attractive side to watch. The problem they have got is that they will come up against a savvy Denmark team who will likely see them coming. A victory for the Danes in what will be a very entertaining game 1-3.

Croatia v Nigeria – Croatia have always been a team full of players who would grace any club side, however they have flattered to deceive in tournament play. Nigeria are a bit of an unknown quantity, a team where literally they could turn up or very much turn down. A hard one to call, but Croatia, JUST – 2-1

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