the important stuff

tomorrow's matches

I'll have to decide how I'm going to watch matches, since beginning tomorrow, the starting times for the first matches will be early. I'm thinking I won't set an alarm, but if I wake up at the right time, I'll watch live. Otherwise I'll play catch up on the DVR.

Egypt-Uruguay (Group A 5:00 AM (all times Pacific). Mohamed Salah is cleared to play, which is great news, because he is the #1 player I'm am looking forward to watching. Meanwhile, Uruguay has Luis Suarez, another favorite. I initially had Uruguay with a 2-1 win, but Salah could change that. I also have Egypt being edged out of third place by Russia, and that was before the 5-0 awakening. The winner of this match should take the group, which is a three-team race. I'm guessing Russia isn't anywhere near as good as the result they got today. The best thing for them is probably for Egypt-Uruguay to end up in a tie. Watch for Ramadan Sobhi for Egypt and Edinson Cavani for Uruguay.

Morocco-Iran (Group B) 8:00 AM. Morocco manager Herve Renard, appearing for the first time as a World Cup coach, is up against the four-time manager Carlos Queiroz, and he has been self-deprecating about his supposed lack of experience. But, he says, "We are not here to take pictures of the monuments in St Petersburg." I've tagged M'barek Boussoufa to score the only goal in a 1-0 win for Morocco. If either of these two teams wins, it will likely be their only one ... the other teams in the group are Spain and Portugal.

Portugal-Spain (Group B) 11:00 AM. Speaking of which. No one knows what the turmoil regarding the Spanish manager situation will mean for their on field performance. I'll go with my heart and say my personal favorites in the tournament will beat Portugal, 2-1. Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo will score, but that's all Portugal will get. I've picked David Silva and Andrés Iniesta to tally for the Spaniards. On paper, this is the first marquee matchup of the Cup, although you really shouldn't miss Mo Salah.

In the meantime, here is one of Andres Cantor's five goal calls today: