We were all disappointed Cameron Carter-Vickers missed out on the USA’s opening World Cup game last night. In all the games we have seen him play, he has never conceded a penalty like the defender who took his place did. Still, managers are reluctant to chop and change central defensive partnerships, so Cameron may not see much action.
Given how crucial he is to Celtic, we should perhaps not be too disappointed his profile will be subdued at the tournament.
Aaron Mooy featured in 11 of Australia’s World Cup qualification games and will hope to start tonight in what will be a challenge against holders France.
Recent World Cups have seen the clearest manifestation of the Winner’s Curse. Whereas losers have an obligation to break and fix their structure, winners are incentivised to keep things as they were. We have seen this cost Celtic in recent years. At World Cup level, this has perhaps contributed to four of the last five winners failing to make it out of the group stage. Brazil, winners 20 years ago, being the exception.
France were far from convincing at the Euros. After a 1-0 win over Germany, they drew with Hungary and Portugal before being sent home by Switzerland on penalties in the first knockout round. No obligation to go through World Cup qualification will not have helped their preparations either.
So maybe Aaron Mooy, 32, will be the breakout star of this World Cup! Tune in, 7pm tonight, to find out.
Well done to the Saudi players. It is in no way patronising to suggest the thrill most players have at being able to compete against Lionel Messi. To do so and win the game on the biggest stage you will ever play is the gift of football. A result of the ages, up there with Algeria beating West Germany in 1982. I thought they were brilliant.