World Cup 2018 - Day Three at a glance
France, Argentina and Denmark are among the teams in action on Saturday
Paolo Guerrero earned a reprieve on the eve of this World Cup. Photograph: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
France v Australia (Kazan Arena, 11am, RTE/BBC)
Betting: France 1/4, Australia 9/1, Draw 11/2.
Argentina v Iceland (Spartak Stadium, 2pm, RTE/ITV)
Betting: Argentina 1/3, Iceland 9/1, Draw 4/1.
Peru vs Denmark (Saransk, 5pm, RTE/BBC)
Betting: Peru 9/4, Denmark 11/8, Draw 2/1.
Croatia v Nigeria (Kaliningrad, 8pm)
Betting: Croatia 4/6, Nigeria 5/1, Draw 3/1.
One to Watch
Paolo Guerrero has endured a chaotic build-up to the finals, the Peru captain only receiving a reprieve from a doping ban on the eve of the finals. Peru’s all-time top-scorer missed the play-offs against New Zealand after he tested positive for a cocaine by-product contained in a herbal tea. Initially banned for six months, which would have ended just before the finals, Wada increased that sanction to 14 months, prompting outrage in Peru, only for a Swiss Federal Tribunal to temporarily lift the suspension pending an appeal. The captains of Peru’s Group C rivals had all written to Fifa in his support. Arguably Peru’s solitary world class player, the striker will need to put the distractions behind him in today’s opener against Denmark.
France boast a staggering array of young talent with Kylian Mbappe (19) and Ousmane Dembele (21) set to torment Australia with their frightening pace this morning. Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti (24) and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane (25) will marshal the French defence and make up for in sheer talent what they lack in major tournament experience. Of the likely starting line-up, only Hugo Lloris (31) is on the wrong side of 30.
Did you know?
With a population of just 330,000 Iceland became the smallest country to qualify for a World Cup finals when they topped their group to secure a tournament debut. Trinidad & Tobago (2006, population 1.3 million) and Northern Ireland (1982, population 1.4 million) were the previous record holders. Nevertheless, Iceland will be well supported in Russia with around 20 per cent of Icelanders (66,000) applying for tickets for the group stages.
With the likes of Mbappe and Paul Pogba commanding eye-watering transfer fees in recent seasons, France unsurprisingly have the highest squad value the entire tournament, with their players valued in excess of €1 billion (€1.08 billion). Such are Les Bleus’ embarrassment of riches that the likes of Antoine Griezmann (€100 million) is worth more than the squads of Peru, Saudi Arabia and Panama combined. Argentina’s squad is valued at €700 million while Peru’s is a more modest €38 million.
3 goals – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2 goals – Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain)
1 goal – Yuri Gazinskiy, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovin (all Russia), Jose Giminez (Uruguay), Bouhaddouz (Iran), Nacho (Spain)