More World Cup Bits & Pieces Including: Ronaldo Finally Starts To Score, Iran Get A Slice Of Luck And So Do Uruguay!

Posted: June 17, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, International Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The World Cup
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Wouldn’t you just know it? Cristiano Ronaldo, at the ripe old age of 33 has suddenly announced himself on the World Cup stage.

Many “experts” are predicting that this will be the Portuguese’s last appearance in this tournament as he will be 37 by the time the next one comes around.

We don’t agree with the experts. Now, there’s a surprise! Our guess is that Ronaldo also doesn’t agree with them assuming that he listens to them at all!

The shape he is in and his single-mindedness in wanting to be the best means that another four years will have little or no effect on him. He may slow down slightly although, on the evidence of some of the counter-attacking runs he made against Spain, this is unlikely to happen.

Up until this game he had only scored three goals at three previous World Cups so it was high time he actually did something, particularly when his Argentinian nemesis is in almost the same boat and also needs to perform on the world stage to be considered alongside the true greats such as Pele and Maradona.

So Ronaldo did what Ronaldo does best. He scored goals. In fact he scored three of them and brought his total number of hat-tricks to 51. He also, coincidentally, brought the total number of hat-tricks scored in World Cup history to 51, which added a nice touch of symmetry to the occasion.

When bearing in mind that these goals were scored against a world-class team like Spain, there is every possibility he could considerably add to his total in the remaining games when Portugal play Morocco and Iran. There is also the distinct possibility that he may choose not to play at his best in these fixtures although that is unlikely.

The only negative in Ronaldo’s quest to become a World Champion is the fact that he probably won’t achieve it. Portugal, as a team, are not good enough to win the trophy and, had it not been for Ronaldo, they would have lost the game against Spain.

Despite having other players who put in a decent performance, their main man was the only one who ever looked like scoring and, considering his goals came from a penalty he earned, a goalkeeping mistake and a free-kick, even he is struggling to find opportunities from open play.

So enjoy it while it lasts and, fortunately for the fans, it should last a little while yet because Spain and Portugal should qualify comfortably from their group and then it all depends on who they play next.

Morocco v Iran…..

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Mehdi Taremi – The Iran player celebrates after Aziz Bouhaddouz’s own goal gave them victory

Morocco and Iran looked to be playing out a boring, goalless draw until the 95th minute when Aziz Bouhaddouz headed a free-kick into his own goal. The game had been bad-tempered and largely forgetful but it will now be remembered by the people of both countries for very different reasons.

This was Iran’s first win in the final stages for 20 years and Moroccans will remember it for the cruel way they conceded the late goal which cost them the game.

Uruguay v Egypt…..

Even earlier in the day Uruguay and Egypt played out another game which will last a very short time in the memory of anyone who watched it.

Mohamed Salah, who had been deemed fit enough to play was left on the bench for the entirety of the match. The logic here is a little sketchy as the game was 0-0 for the vast majority of it and he may very well have had an opportunity or two to score had he been brought on. As it turned out it was Uruguay who scored a late goal through José Giménez and, at that stage, Egypt had used all of their substitutes.

The thinking may have been to save Salah for the supposedly easier games against Russia and Saudi Arabia but, if that was the case, it is in danger of backfiring. A point against Uruguay would have been seen as a good result and, in fact, they were there for the taking.

Now, the chances are that they won’t play that badly again and will beat or draw with Russia and beat Saudi Arabia. Egypt should achieve at least the same but the game against Russia could now prove crucial to their further participation in the competition.

In our esteemed opinion, despite a lacklustre showing Uruguay are still the favourites to progress and, after their performance against Saudi Arabia, Russia will probably progress with them.

 

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