That’s it then. Four years of preparation have come down to this.
Brazil look really, really good
All the chatter going into their games against Croatia and Austria was about Neymar and how the Paris Saint-Germain star had recovered from three and a half months on the sidelines. Answer: flippin’ well. The 26-year-old looks to be nearing his absolute best just at the right moment for Tite’s men.
England might not be awful
It’s the hope that kills you, but the problem is, that’s exactly what England fans have right now. Gareth Southgate has put together one of the most likeable squads in a long, long time – full of young, dynamic, technically gifted players. He’s cast off the old guard, ignored the idiotic tabloid pressure, and urged the team, and the nation, to dream again. They’ll obviously let everyone down when they draw with Tunisia, but for now, we can all hope.
France will squander their talent
Without question France have the best Not Going to the World Cup XI. When you can leave the likes of Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman and Adrien Rabiot at home, you’re doing something right when it comes to producing players. What everyone seems to have forgotten though, is no one’s ever won a tournament with the players that aren’t there.
Spain have a midfield problem
That’s the thing with football – if it was as easy as putting all your best players on the pitch at once and letting them get on with it, Tim Sherwood would probably have won the Champions League by now.
Peru v Denmark could be the game of the first round
Hipsters ahoy! If you’re looking for one game that could be the unexpected treat of match day one, you could do worse than watch Peru vs Denmark on Saturday.