Well well well, that was a cracking start to the World Cup. Well, apart from the opening ceremony and Pitbull’s alleged singing. Hopefully day two will be like the opening day, only with more good football and less upturned white trousers.
The action gets underway with the second group A fixture of the first round, Mexico v Cameroon. Then it’s group B all the way with a main course of Spain v Netherlands and a desert/plate of cheeses (depending on what you’re in to) called Chile v Australia.
Mexico v Cameroon – 5pm | Natal
- Neither team is fancied to get out of the group behind Brazil and Croatia, but if someone manages to win this one, they’ll have a decent chance of telling the cynics where to stuff their dismissive cynicism.
- The teams have only ever met once in their history and that was a friendly back in 1993, so that’s not much use in helping pick a winner. Mexico won then, but it has precisely zero impact on today’s game.
Spain v Netherlands – 8pm | Salvador
- It’s back to back World Cup meetings for these two teams after they contested the 2010 Final. Well, we say ‘contested’, but it was really just Dutch players kicking Spaniards.
- Spain are the odds favourites, but their shocking record in their opening World Cup games is cause for concern
Chile v Australia – 11pm | Cuiaba
- The received wisdom is both of these teams are making up the numbers in group B, but Chile are being spoken about as dark horses. In fairness, there are a lot of dark horses.
- Despite their high opinion of themselves, Australia aren’t fancied and haven’t beaten Chile in four previous meetings with them
- With not long to go until England take on Italy in Manaus, concerns are rising about the cabbage patch they’re trying to pass off as a pitch. It looks better than it did, but only because they’ve been painting patches of it green.
- England successfully arrived in the Amazon for Saturday’s game on Thursday. Well done all. Wayne Rooney watched Frozen on the flight, but ‘didn’t really understand the storyline’. We made that bit up. Mainly because there’s not a lot else to say about this not very interesting story.
- Danny Welbeck is winning his race to be fit for the Italy game. He’s due to train in advance of the game and hopefully be in top shape for sitting on the bench and watching Raheem Sterling in his place on Saturday evening.
- Vincente del Bosque says Spain aren’t afraid ahead of kicking off the defence of their World Cup title. ‘Pedro is even turning the light off when he goes asleep’ he didn’t actually say.
- Chelsea have snapped up Cesc Fabregas for €33 million. He even took time out of Spain’s preparations to pose awkwardly with a Chelsea shirt.
Very proud to have signed for Chelsea https://t.co/OIA6xqyA8J
— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) June 12, 2014
- Cristiano Ronaldo limped out of Portugal training on Thursday, sticking some ice on the knee that has been causing his some grumbles in recent weeks.