The 32 teams have finished playing their first games of the 2018 World Cup and that gives us a chance to look at the best players of the Matchday 1!!
Ahh, the World Cup is upon us. It’s that wonderful quadrennial tournament that brings joy, laughter, and excitement into households all over the world. But not only that we get to watch our favorite stars, a few we’ve heard of and others we haven’t heard of showcase the best of their skills over the course of a month.
And with Matchday 1 over with, there were more than a few shocks with the reigning World Champions Germany losing shockingly to Mexico. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi missed a penalty against Iceland while his rival Cristiano Ronaldo stunned the world with a fabulous performance against the Spaniards.
But then again, that’s the magical mystery of the World Cup, isn’t it?? Here is the Twelfth Man’s team of the Matchday 1. But before we start, here are the honorable mentions.
Harry Kane (England)
The Tottenham striker was in fine form and helped the English gain all three points against a rather stubborn Tunisia side. Captain for the day, Kane scored two brilliant poacher’s goals to punish poor marking and defending by the Tunisians, to give an otherwise lackluster England, hope.
Aaron Mooy (Australia)
While France did get the win in the end, the Huddersfield Town star continued his fine Premier League form into the World Cup and cause loads of problems for the French. His attacking play and his ability to find the right pass proved more than useful for Australia.
Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
The former Liverpool star is part of a star-studded and supremely talented Brazil squad that clearly doesn’t need to depend on Neymar. With the former Barcelona man brilliantly man-marked out of the game, the current Barcelona man put on a brilliant performance and was rewarded with his trade-mark sumptuous curling effort past Yann Sommer.
Salif Sane (Senegal)
The rock in Senegal’s back-line, the 27-year-old had the task of stopping the top goalscorer in the World Cup qualifiers Robert Lewandowski. And boy did he stop him, the Polish striker barely made an impact as his side lost 2-0 to a well-deserved Senegal side. However, Sane’s performances against the Polish have certainly put him on the radar of clubs around the world looking for a towering and commanding center-back.
Goalkeeper: Hannes Halldorsson (Iceland)
There were a few choices after Matchday 1 with Guillermo Ochoa, Mohamed El-Shenawy, and even Korea Republic’s Hyun-Woo Cho but Halldorsson stands out. With Iceland facing Argentina in their opening match, things were always going to be tough for the Euro 2016 quarter-finalists. But did they perform and play out of their skins.
Especially Hannes Halldorsson, who just happens to be a part-time filmmaker. The 34-year-old made a sensational save against a rather tamely hit Lionel Messi penalty, but not only that, he was a rock in the goal for the European side. Named the man of the match after the game, Halldorsson made several crucial saves during the tie, to give his side a chance of moving forward.
And he’ll have to be at his best again, with Nigeria playing them on the 22nd of June.