THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

World Cup roars into knockout phase

WORLD CUP: The world’s two greatest players and a crowd of pretenders enter the knockout stage of the World Cup today (June 30) when Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal target a place in the quarter-finals.

FootballWorld-Cup
By AFP

Saturday 30 June 2018, 09:34AM


France forward Antoine Griezmann (left) will go head to head with Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the World Cup last 16. Photo: AFP

France forward Antoine Griezmann (left) will go head to head with Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the World Cup last 16. Photo: AFP

Argentina, the beaten finalists four years ago, escaped by the skin of their teeth after a ragged group phase and will rely heavily on Messi when their ageing team faces France in Kazan at 9pm Thai time.

The French, armed with Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and wonder kid Kylian Mbappe have failed to fire the imagination so far and must sharpen up fast to keep alive their hopes of adding a second World Cup to the title they won two decades ago on home soil.

Ronaldo tore out of the blocks in Russia, smashing a hat-trick in his first game against Spain. But Portugal’s problem against a Uruguay team with the meanest defence of the tournament could be their over-reliance on the 33-year-old five-time world player of the year.

Uruguay won the last of their two World Cups in 1950 but they have high hopes thanks to their stingy defence and top-class strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

The World Cup featured 122 goals in a frequently thrilling first phase and, following Argentina’s near-collapse and the stunning failure of holders Germany to advance past the opening stage for the first time in 80 years, the draw is lop-sided.

France, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil and Uruguay are all gathered in one section of the competition, with only Spain among recent winners in the other half.

It means that if, for example, England can beat Colombia on Tuesday (July 3), they will fancy their chances of reaching a potential semi-final against 2010 winners Spain.

Before the tournament, France were widely tipped for a run to the final but they have failed to click so far, scoring just three times in three matches. One of those was a penalty and another an own goal.

“Our group games left a mixed impression,” France coach Didier Deschamps said yesterday (June 29). “From tomorrow (June 30) it’s a new start for us.

“It’s make or break. We don’t have any choice. We have to do everything possible to make sure it goes well for us.”

Messi has spent the tournament trying to hold his unbalanced and ageing squad together, even apparently bypassing coach Jorge Sampaoli to give coaching instructions in the 2-1 win against Nigeria that saved the South Americans from the same fate as the Germans.

He has scored only once and Argentina’s campaign so far has been defined as much by Diego Maradona’s increasingly erratic and emotional outbursts as by any signs they can reach the final again.

Sampaoli urged his other players to give Messi as much help as possible.

“Leo has such clear vision when it comes to football that he allows us to see things that, sometimes, only a true genius sees,” he said on the eve of the match in Kazan.

“It’s often difficult to be at the level of such a great player. He’s a shining light for us all, and we have to do our very best to all try to be at his level.”

Meanwhile, Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of FIFA’s referees committee, said he was pleased with the impact of the video assistant referee (VAR) system being used in a World Cup for the first time but that it did not mean all decisions would be perfect.

FIFA said VAR crews conducted checks on 335 incidents during the group stage, helping achieve a 99.3% rate of correct decisions.

“VAR doesn’t mean perfection,” Collina said. “There could still be some wrong interpretation or even mistakes, so it’s a not a perfection that can be reached having implemented VAR.”


Follow the World Cup with The Phuket News

Keep up to date with all the FIFA World Cup results and group standings by following The Phuket News by clicking here.

You can also get a free printable copy of The Phuket News World Cup wallchart via the link.  

Best of luck for your home nation!

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Weapons, ammunition found in vehicle of man shot dead by Phuket police

Well done police...one more lawless social menace off the streets for good....(Read More)


Phuket man, 29, shot dead while fleeing police

Got to agree with Kurt, how was he fleeing if he was sat in his car and a police officer could shoot...(Read More)


Phuket-bound mules busted with 780kg of kratom

Daring/bluffing ones sometimes own 'half the world'. But not always. We read about arrests ...(Read More)


Phuket mops up after storm lashes island, plunges businesses into darkness

Winds about 46 km/h are not seen as 'heavy storm' meteo-wise. Wind Speed 39-49 km/h is just ...(Read More)


Phuket man, 29, shot dead while fleeing police

Shot dead sitting in car while fleeing police? Excuse me, do I miss something? He was not a immedi...(Read More)


Tour bus brakes fail on Patong Hill

See if Bill Murray will come to the Patong hill to do a remake of 'Groundhog Day'....(Read More)


Phuket-bound mules busted with 780kg of kratom

That is a ridiculous load to try to sneak past the checkpoint. However, I do remember stories about ...(Read More)


Phuket mops up after storm lashes island, plunges businesses into darkness

Wow. Poor design, construction? No inspections by engineers? First storm after grand opening. Winds ...(Read More)


223 monkeys caught in Phuket mass-sterilisation Round 2, 162 sterilised so far

I understand that it are private institutions like Soi Dog Foundation ( running on donations) doing ...(Read More)


Royal Turf Club runs its last race

Can't imagine world wide a Turf club without gambling. After all, gambling brings in the money ...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018