Pulse.com.gh logo
Go


Football World Cup big guns limber up in Russia as atmosphere builds

The World Cup big guns limbered up on Monday ahead of the tournament opener in Russia while brash underdogs Australia warned Euro 2016 finalists France to brace for an early shock.

  • Published:
The World Cup kicks off on June 14 play

The World Cup kicks off on June 14

(AFP)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

The World Cup big guns limbered up on Monday ahead of the tournament opener in Russia while brash underdogs Australia warned Euro 2016 finalists France to brace for an early shock.

As the atmosphere built before Thursday's curtainraiser between the hosts and Saudi Arabia, Argentina star Lionel Messi and his teammates and France's talent-studded squad including Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe were put through their paces.

World champions Germany, seeking to equal Brazil's record of five World Cup wins, will land in Russia on Tuesday, along with Gareth Southgate's youthful England side.

Brazil and Neymar arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in the early hours in buoyant mood after hammering Austria 3-0 in their final warm-up match on Sunday.

Argentina's Lionel Messi has cast doubt over his international future play

Argentina's Lionel Messi has cast doubt over his international future

(AFP)

Neymar, who broke a bone in his foot in February, marked his first start in more than three months by scoring in Sunday's easy victory in Vienna.

Disputed choice

Russia was a disputed choice when it was handed the World Cup in a closely watched 2010 vote that has since been tainted by bribery charges, and the 2018 tournament takes place against a background of international tensions.

Russia and the West have engaged in a major wave of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions since London accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Britain in March.

But as the clock ticks down to the opener in Moscow's imposing 80,000-capacity Luzhniki stadium, the tournament is beginning to catch the public mood, with about 3,500 fans attending Australia's training session in the central city of Kazan.

Russian supporters, enjoying a holiday, shouted "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, go, go, go".

Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan speaks at a press conference in Kazan play

Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan speaks at a press conference in Kazan

(AFP)

Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan warned France that a new, improved Australia team are plotting an early World Cup shock when the sides meet in Kazan on Saturday.

"Come the France game, we're going to be ready... and giving ourselves opportunities to win this game," the stopper who plays for Premier League side Brighton warned. "We can't wait for Saturday."

France, who boast "world-class" attacking talent, according to Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo, are among the tournament favourites in Russia alongside Brazil, Germany and Spain.

The atmosphere also went up a notch in Red Square in Moscow, where dozens of Argentinian, Colombian and Mexican fans sang and played drums in support of their teams as darkness fell.

Salah trains

Mohamed Salah trained with his Egypt teammates, still nursing a shoulder injury play

Mohamed Salah trained with his Egypt teammates, still nursing a shoulder injury

(AFP)

A big question mark hangs over the participation of Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah, who is still receiving treatment for the shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final.

Team doctor Mohamed Abou al-Ela admitted the striker, who scored 44 goals for Liverpool this season, was unlikely to play in Egypt's opening Group A match against Uruguay on Friday.

But Salah did some light running in Grozny on Monday, monitored by medical staff, as the other Egypt players took part in a group warm-up.

Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said he hoped Salah would be fit to line up when the two countries clash.

"I like the best players to play, I train with the best and I want the best players to play," Muslera said.

Argentina captain Messi said his international future will be determined by his country's performance at the World Cup.

"It will depend on how far we go, how we're going to finish" at the finals, Messi told Spanish daily Sport.

"We've just lost three finals in a row, which has led to us going through some difficult moments with the press," the Barcelona forward said.

Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 to Germany after extra time, before suffering successive defeats by Chile on penalties at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.

Even before the tournament gets under way, FIFA has the major task on Wednesday of choosing the host of the 2026 World Cup -- a straight fight between a joint bid featuring the United States, Canada and Mexico and Morocco.

A long-awaited report from FIFA inspectors left the North American bid as the front-runner in the race to host the first 48-team World Cup.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Ghana?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +233507713497, Social Media @pulseghana: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos




Top Articles

1 World Cup 2018 Argentina, Messi on brink of World Cup exit after Croatia...bullet
2 #Number12 Anas releases further particulars against Nyantakyibullet
3 Anas Expose' FIFA agent advises President Akufo-Addo over GFA...bullet
4 #Number12 This is how Nyantakyi almost involved George Weah in...bullet
5 Video Anas mocks Kennedy Agyapong & Nyantakyi with Yaa Pono’s...bullet
6 Number 12 Anas demanded $150K to cancel screening of exposé –...bullet
7 Black Stars Essien is the best- Sammy Osei Kuffourbullet
8 Anas number 12 expose FIFA to meet GFA and government in...bullet
9 #Number12 Anas' family under threat following Number 12...bullet
10 Football Croatian master Modric schools Nigeria's...bullet

Top Videos

1 Ghost Goal Italian referee shows remorse for disallowing Muntari’s goalbullet
2 Video Watch the highlights of new Black Stars wonder kidbullet
3 Long Shot Michael Essien's favourite goal for Chelseabullet
4 Video Sannie Daara received GHC 4,000 bribe in Anas exposébullet
5 Watch how Ghanaian youngster tore Barca's unbeaten run apartbullet
6 Back to the Roots Memphis Depay dancing ‘adobe’ in Cape Coastbullet
7 The Real News with Akrobeto goes International, shows on...bullet
8 Video Watch how Essien and his Chelsea legends suffered...bullet
9 Video Watch Frank Acheampong 5th goal of the season for...bullet
10 Chelsea Fans' Favourite Michael Essien's left-footed...bullet

Football