• Five things to expect from matchday two at World Cup

    The Fifa World Cup trophy.

    Matchday one at the 2018 Fifa World Cup served up some entertainment of the highest order and fans across the globe can certainly expect it to continue as we head into matchday two, writes DEAN WORKMAN.

    Five things to expect from matchday two at the World Cup:

    1. Mo Salah to guide Egypt past hosts
    Hosts Russia may have got off to a flying start at this year’s World Cup, but they will face a much sterner test against Egypt on matchday two. The Egyptians will welcome back Mohamed Salah for the match and will be hoping he can provide the X factor needed to beat Russia. Salah has been in sublime form all season for his club side Liverpool and will be hoping to emulate that against the hosts. With his pace and skill Salah could prove too much to handle for an ageing Russian defence. Expect Salah to pick up his club form and fire The Pharaohs past the hosts.

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    2. Spain to thump Iran
    Spain may have been pegged back by a late Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick in their opening 3-3 draw but will come up against lowly ranked Iran in their next game. Carlos Queiroz’s men may have won their first World Cup game since 1998 but will face a Spanish outfit itching to prove the doubters wrong after the sacking of Julen Lopetegui. Expect the Spanish to come out and make a statement with a comprehensive victory.

    3. Messi and Argentina’s struggles to continue
    After an opening game draw against minnows Iceland, Argentina will be desperate to bounce back against Croatia. Lionel Messi had a frustrating game against Iceland and while the expectations will demand an Argentinian victory, it will not be as straight-forward when they come up against a good Croatian side. Expect La Albiceleste to struggle yet again, and another draw could be on the cards for the South Americans.

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    4. Germany to bounce back against Sweden
    Defending champions Germany suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Mexico in the opening fixture. They will now do battle against Sweden in their second game and are expected to respond. The Swedes may have won their first game against South Korea but Die Mannschaft will undoubtedly tap into their experience to overcome their fellow Europeans.

    5. England and Belgium to secure progression
    Both teams won their opening fixtures – England 2-1 against Tunisia and Belgium 3-0 against Panama – placing them in the pound positions to qualify from the group. On matchday two the Three Lions will face Panama while the Red Devils will go up against Tunisia, before the two European giants do battle on matchday three. Expect both teams to pick up the three points to secure their qualification for the knockout stage by winning their second games and set up a battle for top spot in the final group game.

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