Belfast Telegraph

5 things to look out for at the World Cup on Friday

A FIFA media briefing is likely to be dominated by questions on VAR and Diego Maradona.

Gareth Southgate could see his side lift the trophy if Martin O'Neill is right
Gareth Southgate could see his side lift the trophy if Martin O'Neill is right

There is a break from match action at the World Cup on Friday.

Here, Press Association Sport ponders what to look out for.

Is it coming ‘home’?

Can England win another World Cup, after the 1966 success? (PA?PA Images)

England supporters will be dreaming of glory irrespective of the result against Belgium on Thursday night. Gareth Southgate’s side have reignited belief that England can progress into the latter stages of the tournament – and possibly even bring the trophy home.

Group phase debrief

The debrief will continue into the rest of the group phase which saw holders Germany eliminated. Rivals will be sizing up their opponents for the first knockout round and supporters will be plotting their predicted routes to the final on July 15.

VAR-ce or VAR-y good?

The use of VAR has prompted plenty of debate (Adam Davy/EMPICS)

A “media briefing on refereeing” is scheduled to be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where Video Assistant Referees will surely be the most discussed topic. VAR is loathed by many and seen as progress by plenty who are keen to remind us that if a mistake is made it is by the referee, not the process of VAR. Its introduction certainly has not stopped debate.

Maradona mayhem

Diego Maradona has attracted plenty of attention at the tournament (Owen Humphreys/PA Images)

Diego Maradona, the 1986 World Cup winner, attracted as many headlines as Lionel Messi and Marcos Rojo after Argentina’s late heroics against Nigeria on Tuesday night. The FIFA ambassador’s presence at Russia 2018 is sure to come up at the world governing body’s media briefing.

Pre-match posturing

Jorge Sampaoli’s management of Argentina has been questioned (Owen Humphreys/PA Images)

Pre-match media conferences will take place ahead of Saturday’s matches between Portugal and Uruguay and France and Argentina. Both ties are enticing prospects, featuring plenty of stars. Expect Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli to be asked about Messi’s influence on tactics and management decisions.

Press Association


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