Most Read Football

The latest transfer news for Tuesday July 171

Transfer news and completed deals

The latest transfer rumours and completed deals including the latest as Liverpool finally make their move for Roma's Alisson.

There could be value in backing outright bets in July2

Sky Bet Championship: Antepost advice

We're under three weeks away from the start of the Sky Bet EFL season and football expert Tom Carnduff assesses some of the best antepost value.

The latest from the back pages3

Tuesday's Paper Talk

The latest transfer talk and rumours from the back pages including the future of Eden Hazard and Usain Bolt's potential new club.

Could Joe Hart be offered a way back at Manchester City?4

4/1 Hart a part of City tour

Manchester City's new record signing Riyad Mahrez, Joe Hart and France World Cup winner Benjamin Mendy have been included in USA tour.

Aleksandr Golovin starred for Russia in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia5

Transfer news and done deals

All the latest completed transfers and rumours round-up as a Russia World Cup star is being chased by Monaco and Chelsea.

Entertainment and controversy during opening round of World Cup games

Last Updated June 19 2018, 17:30Football
Cristiano Ronaldo scores his and Portugal's third goal against Spain
Cristiano Ronaldo scores his and Portugal's third goal against Spain

All 32 World Cup nations have now played a match in Russia, where the first round of games featured entertainment, controversy and surprise.

There was not a single 0-0 in the opening 16 matches at the 2018 World Cup and over half were decided by a solitary goal, including the dramatic victories by Uruguay, Iran and England.

The tournament opened last Thursday with Russia pitted against Saudi Arabia and though that may have been considered the most underwhelming World Cup opening fixture in history, the hosts set the tone for what was to come by administering a 5-0 thrashing.

Uruguay and Iran grabbed late winners the following day before Spain drew 3-3 with Portugal in a pulsating all-time classic, and one which featured the first of a series of penalties.

The result sees Spain move into 9/2 to win the World Cup in Russia, equal with pre-tournament favourites Brazil.

That one, which Cristiano Ronaldo converted en route to his hat-trick, was a straight forward decision and though the introduction of Video Assistant Referee technology for the first time at a World Cup was supposed to reduce controversy, it may have only increased it.

Referee Andres Cunha gives a penalty to France after the VAR check against Australia
Referee Andres Cunha gives a penalty to France after the VAR check against Australia

Australia were the first to rue its use when referee Andres Cunha changed his mind and awarded France a penalty in Les Bleus' 2-1 success.

England too were frustrated by VAR. Not only because it failed to overturn the foul Kyle Walker was adjudged to have made against Tunisia, but also that it did not aid England when Harry Kane appeared to be twice wrestled to the ground at corners.

As it was, Kane had the last laugh by scoring from a corner, ensuring England did what many of the tournament favourites failed to do and claim an opening-game victory.

Defending champions Germany were beaten by Mexico, two-time winners Argentina were frustrated by Iceland - a feeling the Three Lions know only too well - as Lionel Messi missed one of the nine penalties awarded in the first round of games and Brazil, who remain the 9/2 joint-favourites for World Cup glory, were also held by Switzerland.

Mexico forward Hirving Lozano celebrates his goal against Germany
Mexico forward Hirving Lozano celebrates his goal against Germany

Even Spain, who garnered plenty of plaudits after their opening effort, only claimed one point thanks to a moment of magic from Ronaldo, whose 88th-minute free-kick is likely to be among the contenders for the goal of the tournament.

It also left the Real Madrid forward leading the way in the race to be the World Cup's top scorer. With Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Diego Costa each scoring braces, many of the usual suspects are his nearest challengers.

The first round of games delivered an abundance of entertainment and thrilling football and hopefully set the standard for what is to come over the remaining three-and-a-half weeks in Russia.


Odds correct at 1830 BST (19/06/18)

Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLife

Related World Cup links

Most Read Football

The latest transfer news for Tuesday July 171

Transfer news and completed deals

The latest transfer rumours and completed deals including the latest as Liverpool finally make their move for Roma's Alisson.

There could be value in backing outright bets in July2

Sky Bet Championship: Antepost advice

We're under three weeks away from the start of the Sky Bet EFL season and football expert Tom Carnduff assesses some of the best antepost value.

The latest from the back pages3

Tuesday's Paper Talk

The latest transfer talk and rumours from the back pages including the future of Eden Hazard and Usain Bolt's potential new club.

Could Joe Hart be offered a way back at Manchester City?4

4/1 Hart a part of City tour

Manchester City's new record signing Riyad Mahrez, Joe Hart and France World Cup winner Benjamin Mendy have been included in USA tour.

Aleksandr Golovin starred for Russia in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia5

Transfer news and done deals

All the latest completed transfers and rumours round-up as a Russia World Cup star is being chased by Monaco and Chelsea.

Football Tips

Neymar in action for Brazil against Serbia

Sporting Life: Tipping record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in July 2018.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

We have two best bets for the World Cup final

World Cup final betting tips

There's a David v Goliath battle in the World Cup final but will France prove just one game too far for Croatia? Paul Higham has two best bets.