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#WorldCup Day 2: What to look out for

The match of the day sees European Champions Spain take on 2010 World Cup champions Spain.

FILE: Picture: Facebook.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Three matches take place on Friday 15 June, in what will be an exciting second day of the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

The match of the day sees European champions Portugal take on 2010 World Cup champions Spain.

Portugal v Spain

Portugal’s Key Players:

Cristiano Ronaldo (forward)

The spotlight for the third consecutive World Cup will be on the Portuguese international.

With Ronaldo’s presence, the same “team” mentality from the final against France will be needed. Ronaldo has scored more-than-impressive 50 goals in all international qualifying matches for his country.

The five-time Champions League winner knows what it takes to perform on the big stage where he has consistently scored important, yet stunning goals for Real Madrid; be it over-head kicks, long-range goals or vital last-minute penalties.

Pepe (defender)

After making more than 300 appearances for Real Madrid, Pepe’s decade-long tenure ended in 2017 making a move to the Turkish side, Besiktas.

The 35-year old – who is probably playing in his last World Cup – will bring a huge amount of experience to the Portuguese side which is needed in a major tournament.

The defender will need to maintain his composure and help the younger players control themselves under the immense amounts of pressure the World Cup can deliver.

SPAIN'S KEY PLAYERS

Sergio Ramos (defender)

Sergio Ramos is a player that many love, many hate, and many love to hate but there is no doubt that the Real Madrid defender has what it takes to win on the largest stages.

Given the last-minute sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui, Ramos will need to lead his men off the field as well.

Ramos has made 155 first team appearances for Spain and more than 550 appearances for Real Madrid.

Isco (midfielder)

The midfielder played an important part in helping Real Madrid to Champions League glory.

The 26-year old made 49 appearances this season in all competitions scoring nine and creating 10.

His creativity will make for good link play with forwards Diego Costa – teammate Marco Asensio – and Iago Aspas.

Ahmed’s Prediction: Spain 1 – 1 Portugal

Egypt v Uruguay

Match Preview:

If Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah makes the cut, all eyes will be on the Egyptian King.

Following his premature departure in the Champions League final, Salah has been in a race against time and may miss the game against Uruguay.

However, Egypt – like Liverpool – need to focus on their defensive display.

Thirteen of the 18 goals conceded under coach Cúper have come from direct crosses into the box, which seems remarkable for a side whose defensive partnership with an average height of 1.95m.

They will be going up against, Paris Saint-Germain, key striker Edinson Cavani and, Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez who are both clinical in front of goal.

Ahmed’s prediction: Uruguay 1-0 Egypt

Morocco v Iran

Match preview:

In a final World Cup qualifying group containing Ivory Coast, Gabon and Mali, Morocco were outsiders for a spot at the finals in Russia.

The Atlas Lions were unbeaten in their six matches to book their first finals spot in 20 years.

Juventus’ Medhi Benatia and Wolves’ Romain Saiss have proven themselves tough to break down, while an attack containing Ajax star Hakim Ziyech poses a threat to the Iranians.

Meanwhile, Iran’s biggest chance of a positive result is against Morocco. Striker Sardar Azmoun has been sharp for Iran since his debut in 2014.

The 23-year-old has 23 goals in 31 appearances for the nation. Goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand who stands at 6-foot-5 will have to use his length to keep his opponents at bay.

Ahmed’s prediction: Morocco 1-0 Iran

Kick-off times (CAT):

Egypt v Uruguay 14h00.

Morocco v Iran 17h00.

Portugal v Spain 18h00.

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