The 2018 World Cup marked its third day with Lionel Messi missing a penalty in Argentina's shock draw against Iceland, while France was extremely fortunate.

Messi's woeful penalty run continued – having missed four in the 2017-18 season – as Argentina was held 1-1 by debutant Iceland with Diego Maradona watching from the stands on Saturday.

Read: Argentina did nothing that surprised us - Hallgrimsson

VAR benefited France, headlined by the Pogba brothers, in its unconvincing 2-1 win against a spirited Australia team in Kazan and Dele Alli went head-to-head with a journalist in a game of darts.


It is fair to say Paul Pogba has not had a great time of it recently, what with a criticism-laden Manchester United season being followed by getting booed off in France's friendly against Italy.

But he was ultimately France's saviour on Saturday, as his late and somewhat fortuitous goal secured a 2-1 victory over Australia in Les Bleus' World Cup opener.

While the French crowd were undoubtedly elated, there were a few particular fans who were surely on cloud nine.

Pogba's brothers Mathias and Florentin were in attendance in Kazan and grabbed plenty of attention after entering the stadium perimeter.

The pair posed for photos and milked the attention pre-game, as they went to cheer on their brother.

And, sure enough, they proved to be quite the lucky charms for Paul.


Much has been made of England's brilliant media centre in Repino, where a bowling alley and air hockey serve as entertainment options. It is the more rudimentary dart board that has taken centre stage, however, with one of the players selected for media duty each day taking on a journalist over three darts.

Showing none of the precision he demonstrates as Tottenham's midfield powerhouse, Dele Alli stepped forward to compile a scattered 53. Not enough to have Michael van Gerwen quaking in his boots but too good, as it turned out, for Jonathan Northcroft of The Times .

Meanwhile, sent into the media conference room flaunting his best approximation of a poker face, a jovial Fabian Delph declared he knew the starting XI for Monday's opening group game against Tunisia but insisted he could tell us no more.

The conversation switched to how he has become a favourite of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola on account of his relentless work rate and Delph was not about to miss the chance to take a swipe at one of his star team-mates.

Does he work harder than Kevin De Bruyne? "Yeah," Delph fired back, without hesitation. "Make sure you put that in the headline."


"We have two problems in Russia - roads and fools," a local colleague told me, sharing a favourite saying of my host country on the bumpy, hazardous drive from a gleaming new airport, sharply juxtaposed with the condition of the tarmac adjacent to the runway.

A dead mongrel dog lay on the edge of the highway, perhaps a victim of the carefree haulage we judiciously avoided, as our taxi driver mixed Queen with traditional Cossack folk music on what must be the entire Rostov Oblast's most eclectic playlist. 

Thankfully, the quality of surface improved considerably in the city centre, and fools were in blissfully short supply, as every courtesy was extended to the influx of visitors from around the globe.

Brazil will hope its longed-for path to a first World Cup final since 2002 does not end with a repeat of the trauma inflicted on it by Germany in the infamous 7-1 car-crash defeat four years ago.

The first barrier blocking its path will be Switzerland, whose coach Vladimir Petkovic emphatically stated his team's intention to beat the Selecao. On Sunday night at Rostov Arena, we will learn if his bold ambitions leave him lumped in the category of fool. Or will Switzerland run Brazil off the road?


Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli was accused of over-confidence in the build-up to his side's opener against Iceland and it appears to be catching.

Sampaoli named his starting XI for the game against Heimir Hallgrimsson's men 24 hours early, raising one or two eyebrows among the Iceland media pack.

Although he denied claims of under-estimating the Euro 2016 quarter-finalist, it seems the country's supporters are also pretty confident of going deep in the tournament.

Spotted outside Spartak Stadium an hour before the game was a group of Argentina fans proudly parading the World Cup trophy.

Sampaoli frustrated by Argentina stalemate

It is not won yet!! And given the performance in the 1-1 draw against a plucky, but limited, Iceland team, it will have to raise its level considerably if its hopes are to be realised.