Fri 15 Jun 2018, 11:02
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Few pundits or fans believe that any of the players from the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia have what it takes to be the star of the tournament or its top scorer.
Mohamed Salah had a stellar season for Liverpool, scoring 32 goals in the Premier League and bagging 10 in the Champions League to help the Merseysiders reach the final of that tournament. A shoulder injury picked up in the final has cast doubt on his fitness, but many believe an unfit Salah is better than no Salah at all. The Egyptian is something of an outside bet at 50-1 to be the tournament’s top scorer, yet he is expected to be talismanic to his team’s hopes of progressing.
The North Africans have never been beyond the group phase of a World Cup and start 2018 with a stern test against Uruguay in Group B (on SuperSport at 14:00 SA time). The South Americans have impeccable pedigree, having won the 1930 and 1950 World Cups, and more recently reached the semi-finals in 2010. The current squad boasts one of the most clinical strike forces around: Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have almost 100 international goals between them. Both Cavani and Suarez are among the favourites to win the Golden Boot.
It’s Spain and Portugal that headline today’s fixture (on SuperSport at 20:00 SA time), though the 2010 champions have been rocked by the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament. This squad also lacks some of the class of recent Spanish teams. The moody yet lethal Diego Costa, however, remains a major goal threat.
Then there is Portugal, who in Cristiano Ronaldo has one of the greatest players of this generation in their ranks. Ronaldo has yet to fire in World Cups in the same manner in which he does for his clubs, and at 33 is running out of time to make an impact on the biggest stage of all. Nonetheless, the Real Madrid Galactico is considered among the favourites to top the scoring charts.
There’s a lot riding on the Costa versus Ronaldo battle in the Iberian derby, as the loser will likely finish second in Group B and face Suarez and Cavani’s Uruguay - the odds-on favourites to top Group A - in the round of 16.
DStv subscribers, catch today’s games on SuperSport 3 on your big-screen TV, and if you won’t be home, stream them on DStv Now on your mobile or your laptop while you're on the go.
How to set up DStv Now and stream all matches on the go
Because of the time difference between Russia and SA, some of the matches will be on at times when you really can’t be on the couch. Watch from wherever you are on your smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop on SuperSport through DStv Now. Start watching now »
How to get the DStv Now app
2. Launch the app and login to your DStv account with your Connect ID.
3. Link your smartcard to your DStv Now account and start watching now!
How to watch the World Cup with DStv Now
1. Launch the DStv Now app.
2. Go to the Menu then navigate to Live TV > Sport. All the FIFA World Cup matches can be found on SuperSport channels.
3. Start watching!
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