I went for a swim yesterday to avoid the Opening Ceremony and first game.
Bumped into Shuki, a former pro midfielder I hadn’t seen for months.
A Croatian who knows the Euro 96 generation of players, Shuki played for Hadjuk Split with Slaven Bilic before playing in Italy, then Turkey.
He lives over here, works in property, supports Liverpool, and reckons England could do something this time.
With Rooney and Joe Hart gone, he thinks this group are young and solid. Shuki noted that Jose Mourinho is very positive about England’s prospects, saying that although this squad is quite young, the players have acquired valuable experience in the Champions League.
While we both realised that a lot of what Mourinho says is political, we agreed that he knows what he’s talking about.
Today we are told that Jordan Henderson and Ashley Young will both start for England against Tunisia on Monday. That is a 7pm kick-off.
I took yesterday off because there are three games today.
I expect Uruguay to beat Egypt but I hope they don’t cripple Mo Salah again. That game kicks off at 1pm.
Morocco will be better than Iran in the 4pm kick-off but I might skip that and have a siesta before Portugal v Spain.
Remarkably, Cristiano Ronaldo has never scored against Spain.
There are 4 games on Saturday and the first match interests me most.
Argentina v Iceland in the Moscow Spartak stadium at 2pm.
Right now, we don’t know how good or bad Argentina can be.
Croatia v Nigeria is at 8pm and Nigeria look strong enough to get at least a draw.
But I’d love to see Croatia win that with Ivan Peresic scoring two goals. A versatile left winger, Peresic is a bouncy athlete who can get in the box and win headers.
World Soccer points out that new coach Zlatko Dalic is using Modric in a more advanced role. Makes sense to me.
Croatia always feels like my second home, even though we’ve only been three times.
Jan took a photograph I keep on my Twitter page to remind me of our happiest holidays.