Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso is expected to line up alongside Paul Pogba in France’s midfield in their World Cup opener against Australia’s Socceroos. France are heavily favored to overwhelm their scrappy opponents. A front three of Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousemane Dembelé is a terrifying prospect. Hertha Berlin’s Mathew Leckie and Bochum’s Robbie Kruse are familiar faces starting opposite them in Australia’s offense. Australia’s head coach Bert van Marwijk has modeled the team on Atletico Madrid. They’ll need all that defensive grit if they hope to survive France.
Location: Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia
Time: 1:00 pm local time, 6:00 am EST
TV/Streaming: USA (Telemundo, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Futbol de Primera Radio, SiriusXM FC, Sling World Cup, Fox Sports 1), Germany (SRF zwei, Sportschau Live, ORF eins, ORF TV Live, ZDF), Canada (TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, TSN GO, TSN1, TSN Radio 1040 - 1410, RDS GO, CTV GO, RDS, CTV), India (Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD, SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 3 HD, SONY TEN 3, Sony LIV)
Argentina vs Iceland (Group D)
A matchup for the ages: Lionel Messi vs FC Augsburg’s Icelandic hero, Alfred Finnbogason! Both these teams have defied the odds to reach this point: Iceland in qualifying for their first World Cup, two years after reaching the quarterfinals of Euro 2016—and knocking out England in the process; Argentina by surviving almost sure elimination through a heroic effort by Messi. Argentina may be favored to win the group with Messi, Angel Di Maria & co., but Iceland are compact, well-organized, and above all brave. They are a dark horse pick to reach the knockout stage. Since Group D is especially tight, expect a fierce contest.
Location: Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Time: 4:00 pm local time, 9:00 am EST
TV/Streaming: USA (SiriusXM FC, FOX Network, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Futbol de Primera Radio, Telemundo, Sling World Cup), Germany (Sky Go Deutschland, ORF eins, Sportschau Live, Sky Sport UHD Germany, SRF zwei, ZDF, ORF TV Live), Canada (RDS GO, RDS, TSN1, TSN GO, CTV, TSN5, TSN Radio 1040 - 1410, CTV GO, TSN4, TSN3), India (Sony ESPN, SONY TEN 3 HD, SONY TEN 2, Sony LIV, SONY TEN 2 HD, Sony ESPN HD, SONY TEN 3)
Peru vs Denmark (Group C)
On paper, or by betting odds, this is the most equally matched game of the day. Both teams are solid, if unspectacular. Denmark may have an edge at least in star power. They boast a number of players at major European clubs, including three Bundesliga stars: Werder Bremen’s Thomas Delaney, RB Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen, and Mönchengladbach’s Jannik Vestergaard. At least Delaney and Poulsen are expected to start. Alas, if you happen to be looking for him, Nicklas “Lord” Bendtner missed the World Cup due to injury, although thousands signed a petition to delay the tournament until Lord Bendtner was fit to play.
Location: Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia
Time: 7:00 pm local time, 12:00 pm EST
TV/Streaming: USA (Fox Sports 1, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Futbol de Primera Radio, SiriusXM FC, Telemundo, Sling World Cup), Germany (ZDF, ORF eins, ORF TV Live, Sportschau Live, SRF zwei), Canada (TSN GO, TSN Radio 1040 - 1410, CTV, TSN1, CTV GO, TSN4, RDS GO, RDS), India (Sony LIV, SONY TEN 2 HD, Sony ESPN HD, SONY TEN 3 HD, SONY TEN 3, SONY TEN 2, Sony ESPN)
Most expect Croatia to emerge victorious from this match and possibly the group. They have that World Cup itch: Modric, Rakitic, Rebic, Kramaric, Perisic, and Mandzukic! And they have even more Bundesliga talent on the bench (Jedvaj, Pjaca). Nigeria meanwhile sport some Premier League talent and Augsburg’s defensive man Leon Balogun. Luca Modric and Ivan Rakitic should be able to suffocate Nigeria in the midfield and let their swift forwards do the rest. This may be another opportunity for Bayern Munich to see how Ante Rebic plays with the support of two elite central midfielders.
Location: Kaliningrad Stadiun, Kaliningrad, Russia
Time: 9:00 pm local time, 3:00 pm EST
TV/Streaming: USA (Fox Sports 1, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Futbol de Primera Radio, SiriusXM FC, Sling World Cup, Telemundo), Germany (ORF eins, Sportschau Live, ORF TV Live, ZDF, SRF zwei), Canada (TSN4, RDS GO, RDS, CTV GO, TSN1, TSN GO, TSN Radio 1040 - 1410, CTV), India (Sony ESPN, SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 3, Sony ESPN HD, SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 3 HD, Sony LIV)
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