SOCHI: Spain captain Sergio Ramos and new coach Fernando Hierro displayed a united front as they looked ahead to Friday’s World Cup opener against Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions Portugal following an extraordinary 48 hours.
Hierro and Ramos posed together, smiling for the cameras, at a press conference inside the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, the venue for the Group B clash between the Iberian neighbors.
Coming into this World Cup, Spain had been seen as one of the outstanding favorites to lift the trophy in Russia after a two-year unbeaten run under Julen Lopetegui.
But Wednesday’s sensational decision by the Spanish Football Federation to sack Lopetegui, in response to the announcement he would take over at Real Madrid after the tournament, has threatened to derail their chances.
Suddenly Hierro – a great former Real and Spain defender but a man with little coaching experience – finds himself in charge of a side eager to show they can still go all the way on Russian soil.
“There is nobody better than Fernando. He was a great player and has known us for a long time,” said Ramos, the Spain captain.
There had been fears that the announcement of Lopetegui’s appointment by Real could open up old divisions between the Madrid and Barcelona factions in the Spain squad.
But Ramos showed an eagerness to move on and focus on the competition while insisting that this week’s events had not upset any relationships.
Nail-biting Football World Cup matches claim a life
AMMAR AHMED KHAN
KERLA (India): Unable to bear the pain of his favorite team’s defeat, a devastated Argentinean football fan 30-year-old Dinu Alex from Kottayam, allegedly jumped into Meenchal River here on Friday morning following Argentina’s shock defeat to Croatia in the FIFA World Cup on Thursday.
— biju govind (@bijugovind) June 22, 2018
The Argentineans suffered a shock 3-0 defeat against Croatia in their second group match of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia, proving that the underdogs are not to be underestimated.
A family member said that Alex – a graduate of the MG University Kottayam – seemed disturbed after the game and went missing for a few hours.
The police launched an immediate search to fish out his body but the relief operation was hampered due to heavy downpour.
Alex’s friends stated he was confident that Argentina would mount a comeback and make it through to the next round of the World Cup. However, after Argentina’s defeat, Alex was distraught and cried and switched off his phone, admitting that his team had let him down.
What we can learn from Dinu Alex is simple, this is real life. We don’t just give up because of something that didn’t go our way. His suicide would be justified, had he made a bad bet and spent most of his life savings, but not something people of the world would let slide still. For people have powered through worse situations and continued to live.
The point is simple; a fan committed suicide because he just wanted the pain to go away, forgetting that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Besides if he stuck around for longer he would know that Argentina still has a chance to qualify for the world cup thus proving they might have a “chance” to win even. But that’s wishful thinking for the most part.
A relevant piece published earlier: Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, and Ante Rebic scored one goal each here to write history by beating giant Argentina! The possibility of Argentina’s return in the game is still there. In the last six decades, this happens to be Argentina’s worst group match defeat, and with only one point from two games it played its survival in the tournament would be difficult. Argentina will have to score well in the 3rd match against Nigeria.
Football World Cup: Spotlight on Neymar
SAINT PETERSBURG: Neymar’s fitness will be under the microscope on Friday as Brazil try to kickstart their World Cup campaign, anxious to avoid the same fate as a shambolic Argentina and the under-performing Lionel Messi.
Argentina, the 2014 finalists, slumped to a 3-0 defeat by Croatia that ruthlessly exposed the flaws in an aging team that is over-reliant on Messi.
Messi barely had a shot on target and Argentina failed to recover from a terrible mistake by goalkeeper Willy Caballero that gifted the Croats their first goal and the two-time champions now face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout phase.
Neymar, Brazil’s most important player, was subjected to rough treatment in a 1-1 draw against Switzerland, his first competitive appearance in almost four months, before hobbling out of the Rostov Arena.
The 222-million-euro man then limped out of a training session two days later with a sore right ankle, but Brazil coach Tite has confirmed he will start against Costa Rica in Saint Petersburg.
While Neymar sporadically showed flashes of his genius against Switzerland, he appeared to slow Brazil down at other times rather than keep the ball moving.
Football World Cup: Croatia beats Argentina 3-0
MOSCOW: Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, and Ante Rebic scored one goal each here to write history by beating giant Argentina!
The possibility of Argentina’s return in the game is still there. In the last six decades, this happens to be Argentina’s worst group match defeat, and with only one point from two games it played its survival in the tournament would be difficult. Argentina will have to score well in the 3rd match against Nigeria.
— FIFA World Cup (@WorIdCupUpdates) June 21, 2018
— FIFA World Cup (@WorIdCupUpdates) June 21, 2018