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.
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’?
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
Dear fans, we feel just as disappointed as you. The World Cup only comes around every four years and we expected so much more from us. We're sorry for not playing like world champions, and as painful as it is, we deserve to be out...— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 28, 2018
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?
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.
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 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.