The World Cup picked up steam yesterday with six nations playing, and what a mixed bag it turned out to be!
Uruguay 1-0 Egypt
Uruguay deserved their victory but needed a last-gasp winner, and Egypt can consider themselves slightly unlucky not to have gotten more out of the game. What was most noticeable was the lack of sharpness of Luis Suarez, though his cynical antics were still there for all to see.
Egypt are well-organised, but without Salah are very one-dimensional, and if they are to have any hope of getting through the group stage, desperately need the Liverpool striker to play. As for Uruguay, they have some sublime talents but are not a pretty side to watch, and are unlikely to be among the contenders come the end of the tournament.
Iran 1-0 Morocco
Iran grew into the match and on balance probably deserved the win, not because they were brilliant but because Morocco faded the longer the game went on.
The Moroccans got off to a flying start but after 20 minutes appeared to have run out of ideas and in the second half disappeared almost completely. They may feel hard done by after suffering a last-minute own-goal but really have only themselves to blame.
It was clear to see that the Moroccans have more to offer, but with games against Spain and Portugal to come, have probably missed their chance in this World Cup. As for Iran, they defended well and, while it is difficult to see them progressing, have at least given themselves a fighting chance.
Portugal 3-3 Spain
It has been dubbed the Ronaldo show, but some perspective is required. Ronaldo’s first two goals came from the penalty spot and a howler from de Gea, though his third, a 25-yard free kick that curled around the wall and into the top right-hand corner to draw Portugal level at 3-3, was truly magnificent. What it shows is the extent to which Portugal continue to rely on their Real Madrid talisman
Spain can count themselves unlucky. They were the better side for much of the game and Costa (2 goals) and Isco both looked sharp and clinical. The result will disappoint them as they know they should have won, but if they tighten up in defence and put the mistakes behind them they will go far.
Portugal are too limited and did not show enough throughout the 90 minutes to convince that they are contenders, and when Ronaldo has an off day they will lose, unlike Spain who are a team of many parts.
Still, what an entertaining game it was and hopefully we will see a lot more like this one.