FIFA World Cup: After Ronaldo’s genius, Messi to begin his show on day 3
Lionel Messi’s Argentina will start their campaign against Iceland, while France will kick-off against Australia on day 3 of the FIFA World Cup. Peru will take on Denmark and Croatia face Nigeria
After Cristiano Ronaldo set the football world on fire on day two of the FIFA World Cip with a fantastic hat-trick against Spain, it’s time for footballs’ other God Lionel Messi to begin his campaign as Argentina take on Iceland in a Group D encounter on day 3.
As soon as Ronaldo completed his 51st career hat-trick in Portugal’s opening clash against 2010 World Champions Spain—co-incidentally also the 51st hat-trick at World Cup finals—social media was abuzz with the fans of Ronaldo and Messi, both five time winners of the Ballon D’Or, arguing over who is better than the other. The world of football is truly blessed to have both of them playing in the same era. If Leo Messi can emulate CR7 and put up a great show in his first match as well, it will be nothing less than a treat to football fanatics around the globe.
The Argentine—after leading his side to the finals in 2014 edition where they lost to Germany in the extra time of the grand finale—will be itching to make a mark early on and guide his fifth ranked team to a comfortable start against 22nd ranked Iceland. That said, Argentina is not just about one man. With Angel Di Maria in the wing alongside Messi, Sergio Aguero as the centre forward, Biglia, Mascherano in the mid-field and Otamendi and Rojo in the defence, the team looks good on paper. Paulo Dybala as the substitute gives the Argentine attack more depth. The team will, nevertheless, miss the services of their first choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who misses out on the World Cup due to knee injury. Readers may recall that Romero was the wall that had denied Argentina’s opposition numerous goals, including a handful of penalties in the previous edition of the cup, and was key to Argentina finishing runners-up in 2014.
But the Argentine side is coming into the World Cup after a 6-1 routing at the hands of Spain in a friendly and a 4-2 hammering by Nigeria. They have also had their share of victories when they outplayed Italy 2-0 and Russia 1-0. The Argentine side comfortably defeated Haiti 4-0 in their last preparation game before the tournament. Given their form leading up to the Work Cup, the team will need a major turn-around and Leo Messi at his peak for Argentina to have a chance to repeat their fabulous performance from last time around.
France will look for an easy win against Australia
In the first match of day 3, France—the team full of young and sensational players like Paul Pogba, Mbappe, Ousman Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann—will take on Australia in a Group C clash. Except for a major and first shock of the tournament, it should be an easy outing for the French side against Australia, who may find themselves over-dependent on playmaker Tim Cahill.
Peru will look to make a mark after a 36-year absence from the World Cup
Peru will take on Denmark in another Group C encounter. Peru has comfortably emerged victorious on three of their last five outings as part of their World Cup preparations, with the fifth match ending in a goalless draw against Sweden. The country is back at the World Cup after a gap of 36 years. Denmark too are coming into the tournament on a good note, winning and drawing two each of their last four international friendlies and defeating Mexico 2-0 in their last match before World Cup. The match promises to be a closely fought battle between two teams who will be eager for three points, especially with France in their group.
Croatia vs Nigeria an encounter of two formidable teams
In the final encounter of the day, Croatia will take on Nigeria in Group D. With both the teams loaded with some serious talent, it will be interesting to see whether John Obi Michael of Nigeria controls the centre half of the pitch or if Luka Modric does it for Croatia. Both the teams are popular choice for under-the-radar teams this time around and a match-up between them promises to be an as thrilling contest, as both the teams would look to secure three points in the beginning of the tournament.
FIFA World Cup Day 3 Match Schedule (IST)
- France vs Australia 3.30 pm
- Argentina vs Iceland 6.30 pm
- Peru vs Denmark 9.30 pm
- Croatia vs Nigeria 12.30 am