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2018 World Cup Off to a Hot Start

Posted on June 21, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals in his first action in the 2018 World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals in his first action in the 2018 World Cup.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is off to a great start as close decisions are proving to be the norm. Of the first 20 games played, 13 have been decided by one goal and there have been three games finishing in a draw. Included among the decisions have been a number of upsets that could lead to some surprising teams advancing to the next round.

As the most watched global sporting event outside of the Olympics and a favorite for sports betting, the close games and upsets have made it an interesting week for betting sites and world cup predictions.

The hosts from Russia have been statistically the most dominant team so far in the tournament as they have scored eight goals and allowed only one in two wins. However, their two opponents (Saudi Arabia and Egypt) are not considered to be contenders. The fourth team in that bracket, Uruguay is also 2-0, though both wins were 1-0 shutouts. Russia and Uruguay will play on Monday and that game could provide some insight as to whether Russia can be a contender moving forward.

Perhaps the most surprising result of the tournament so far has been the 1-0 victory by Mexico over defending champion Germany. It will be crucial for Germany to bounce back in their next two games against Sweden and South Korea.

One thing that hasn’t been too much of a surprise so far has been the play of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Arguably the best player in the world, Renaldo scored three goals in a 3-3 draw between Portugal and Spain. He then scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Morocco. He will need to continue his magic in the next game against Iran to ensure that Portugal will advance to the next round.

Considered one of the pre-tournament favorites, Brazil played to a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their opening game. With Costa Rico and Serbia as their next opponents Brazil will need to raise their game to ensure a spot in the next round.

In Group G, Belgium and England each won their first game and have one more contest before they meet later in the tournament.

Lionel Messi missed a penalty shot in his first World Cup game of 2018.

Lionel Messi missed a penalty shot in his first World Cup game of 2018.

For the first time since 1990, Argentina failed to win their first game as they played to a 1-1 draw with Iceland, which was playing their first-ever World Cup game. However, if there is any solace for Argentina, it is that in 1990 they recovered to reach the World Cup finals. Lionel Messi, who has generally been considered with Ronaldo to be among the best players in the world, missed a penalty kick in the tie. It seems pretty likely that Messi will be determined to atone for his error throughout the rest of the tournament.

We have one more week of group play before the round of 16 begins on June 30th. Given the excitement and close scores over the first week, the next week of action promises to again be full of suspense and great stories as teams push to reach the next stage.

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