Cristiano Ronaldo took the lead in the two-horse race to be GOAT thanks to an awful Argentina – here are the winners and losers from the World Cup first round
It has become the most obvious thing to write about, but just how impactful is Cristiano Ronaldo? Three goals to give Portugal a point against Spain, with a sprinkle of luck for sure, but also with a wonder free-kick. On top of that, the GOAT message for Lionel Messi – who then missed a penalty for Argentina – in the constant fight to see who is the best in the world. There is still a long way to go, but what a start for Cristiano.
The Concacaf country out-played Germany: the Tricolor were better tactically, physically and technically and widely deserved the victory. The perfect afternoon for a lot of the players and for their under-fire coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
The Tottenham man said he wanted to be on the level of Cristiano Ronaldo, and did the job smoothly. Being in the box for corner kicks rather than taking them always seemed like a great idea, and turned out to be decisive for the Three Lions.
Looking at the group, the game against Peru was already decisive in order to put themselves in a position to at least snatch second place. And they did it. A brilliant Christian Eriksen performance helped them to the necessary goal and win.
History was made for Iceland: their first ever World Cup game, their first ever World Cup goal, their first ever World Cup point. And all achieved against Lionel Messi’s Argentina, finalists in 2014. Perfection. Now they need to carry on this way to make it to the next round.
An unexpected start for the world champions, with Joachim Low, perhaps relying too much on the old guard. A new spark is needed for Die Mannschaft, who seemed lazy and simply not as good as the team that lifted the trophy in Brazil.
To be fair to the Albiceleste coach, this generation of Argentinian players is tremendously unbalanced. Top heavy, hugely. The defenders and midfielders are nowhere near the level of the strikers. Yet, the inability to attack that the Albiceleste has shown is embarrassing, and it’s down to the man on the bench. Sampaoli has to sort something out, fast.
France won, and all was good. But just look at the talent of that team, and how mediocre Australia are. Then think about how France won, struggling to create any danger and having to leave it really late. It’s early days, but it’s fair to say the French need to up their game quickly to remain World Cup contenders.
Fair play to Senegal, but the help the Africans received from the Polish side was huge. Decisive mistakes on both goals and the inability to express the top quality football we all expected.