World Cup 2018 - Day 12 at a glance

Russia face Uruguay while Iran look to secure shock qualification against Portugal

Isco will be key as Spain look to top Group B with victory over Morocco on Monday. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

Isco will be key as Spain look to top Group B with victory over Morocco on Monday. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

 

THE MATCHES

GROUP A

Uruguay v Russia (Rostov, 3.0pm, RTÉ2/ITV). Betting: Uruguay 13-8, Russia 21-10, Draw 13-5

Saudi Arabia v Egypt (Volgograd, 3.0pm, RTÉ2/ITV 4). Betting: Saudi Arabia 15-4, Egypt 17-20, Draw 13-5

GROUP B

Spain v Morocco (Kaliningrad, 7.0pm, RTÉ2/BBC). Betting: Spain 4-11, Morocco 10-1, Draw 4-1

Iran v Portugal (Saransk, 7.0pm, RTÉ2/BBC). Betting: Iran 5-1, Portugal 7-10, Draw 11-4

ONE TO WATCH

There have been a number of standout midfield performances so far in this World Cup - with Luka Modric’s showing against Argentina and Toni Kroos’s heroics against Sweden both immediately springing to mind. And another player who is enjoying a fine tournament is their Real Madrid teammate Isco, who has drifted in and out of Spain’s opening two fixtures but has, at times, been irrepressible.

Along with David Silva and Iniesta, Isco has been charged with the task of unlocking opposition defences - with the likes of Iran opting to sit in, and attempt to hold on grimly for a draw. However, with Iniesta saying his international farewell this summer and Silva now 32-years-old, 26-year-old Isco is very much the future. He offers similar vision and passing ability but with an added turn of pace and the ability to beat his man.

Isco has made a minimum of 40 appearances a season since arriving at the Bernabeu from Malaga in 2013, and has been an integral part of aReal side who have won four Champions League titles in five seasons. His return of 10 goals in 30 international appearances is also impressive, and he will be a vital cog in the Spanish machine for years to come.

YOUNG GUNS

Eyebrows were raised when it was revealed hosts Russia had covered more ground and completed more sprints per game in their opening two fixtures than any other side. This led manager Stanislav Cherchesov to claim it was simply patriotism which was fuelling his team: “There is motivation to perform at the World Cup with the public’s support.”

Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin has impressed in his side’s opening two fixtures. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty
Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin has impressed in his side’s opening two fixtures. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty

And one player who has emphasised this better than anyone is Aleksandr Golovin (22), whose tireless, surging runs from deep have been a trademark feature of the opening wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The CSKA midfielder - who has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal - has plenty of silk to add to his stamina, as he showed with his fine free-kick in the opening 5-0 win. Sterner tasks lie in wait for the tournament hosts, but in Golovin they have a midfielder who can hold his own against the best.

DID YOU KNOW

England’s thrashing of Panama on Sunday has cranked up the giddy-o-meter a notch or six, with Gareth Southgate’s sprightly side making surprisingly light work of admittedly limited opponents. The 6-1 win was England’s biggest ever at the World Cup, and the first time since they had scored four or more at the finals since . . .they beat West Germany 4-1 in the 1966 final.

Harry Kane’s hat-trick against Panama means he leads the race for the Golden Boot with five. Photograph: Alex Morton/Getty
Harry Kane’s hat-trick against Panama means he leads the race for the Golden Boot with five. Photograph: Alex Morton/Getty

GOLDEN BOOT

5 Harry Kane (England)
4 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
3 Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.