At a glance

  • Russia, 5 (Gazinskii 12'; Golovin 90'+4'; Cheryshev 43', 90'+1'; Dzyuba 71') v Saudi Arabia, 0


The speculation continues on who will be in and who will be out for the first match v France with this one suggesting the 'kid', Daniel Arzani, likely to figure at some point. 

Tom Smithies agrees that Arzani will come off the bench, while Andrew Nabbout is likely to start. There is still speculation about whether Mile Jedinak will start: we must be missing something because we thought he was the big difference in the second half against Hungary, and his inclusion is a no-brainer. 

In this piece, Smithies and Davutovic pick their respective starting XIs with some interesting comments about certain players particularly from Smithies. Worth a quick read. 

Tim Cahill says he has spent the entire year preparing for the next three matches and, when he gets his chance, he'll “make something happen”. Mark Milligan says it's fantastic to have him in the squad as he helps settle the nerves of everyone. 

Here's Will Swanton going all football expert on us talking of Tim Cahill's tilt at history (also reported yesterday) and how “insane” it would be if he joins the ranks of Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. 

Cahill describes the possibility as “priceless” and confirms he has put “so much effort to be here”. If there's anyone who knows how to take the moment, it's Tim. 

Unexpected things happen to Jackson Irvine - for example, getting a scholarship at Celtic courtesy of a family friend connection that gave him a trial - and being in Russia to take on France in the World Cup is another. 

At 184cm, Mat Ryan is hardly short, but it's also not that tall for a goalkeeper. He has spent most of his playing life proving people wrong about him being “not big enough” to be the goalkeeper he now is, and inspired by Iker Casillas (1 cm taller) and Fabien Barthez (4cm shorter). 

At age 14, Josh Risdon left his family home south of Perth, to live in Perth in the hope of pursuing his football dream. He says it was a “hard call” for his parents to let him go but he credits the move with helping him get to where he is now. 

And here we are playing the 'underdog' card. (What will we do for the Asian Cup?). David Davutovic characterises the Socceroos squad as a “rag tag bunch of rejects always told they weren't good enough”. It makes for a catchy headline. 

Where are they now?

A look back at the 2006 World Cup squad and what they're doing now. One comment: just as the game vanquished Peter Wilson (1974 World Cup captain), it can't afford to do the same to Lucas Neill (2010). Take steps to fix the relationship, FFA. 

And, speaking of two of them who have certainly remained prominent, Mark Schwarzer and Tony Popovic are confident Australia will progress to the second stage


Another article giving us the statistics on relative financial value of France ($1.8 billion) compared with Australia ($78 million). 

World Cup

Russia defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the World Cup. Repeat. Russia (who hadn't won a game in nine months) defeated Saudi Arabia (who qualified ahead of us on goal difference), 5-0 in the opening game of the World Cup. Denis Cheryshev scored a brace. “You could have pulled 11 people from the crowd, given them boots and a shirt and they would have been an improvement on Saudi Arabia.”

This report is headlined as 'Rampant Russia pummel Saudis ...' Will Saudi Arabia be the first to sack their coach after the World Cup has started?

Interestingly, Russia shifted its vote for 2026 from Morocco to USA/Canada/Mexico reportedly at Saudi Arabia's intervention also. 

Prior to the opening game, there was the opening ceremony headlined by Robbie Williams who, of course, had to go and spoil it all by doing something stupid (channeling one of his songs for those who miss it). 

Spain has a new coach - and it's not Zidane, Guardiola or even Josep Gombau, but former Spanish captain, Fernando Hierro

Sam Kerr

A little shot across the bow for new Perth Glory CEO, Tony Pignata, to deal with? Sam Kerr is talking of not playing in the W-League this season as she wants to have different experiences and needs to “look after herself financially”. The Matildas star player, eight years at Perth Glory, not playing in the W-League in the lead-up to the Women's World Cup would not be a welcome move. Fix it Mr Pignata. 

A-League expansion

The bid for a second A-League team from Adelaide, based in West Adelaide, is “bullet proof” and fully funded.

Here's a free tip to A-League expansion applicants: cut the attempt at PR until Australia is out of the World Cup. No-one is taking notice, and you're having no impact. 

socceroos, 2018 world cup, #russia2018, a-league expansion, france, samantha kerr

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