James Carson, Deputy Editor and Jeremy Addley, Contributor.
In case you’ve missed it, (or been tactically avoiding it) our television experience has dramatically changed for the first time in four years as four weeks of football hit our screens. Amongst the cries of ‘it’s coming home’ and the non-stop coverage of the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup, The Gown is here to equip you with just enough knowledge to talk about the football if you’re confronted on it.
For each round of the competition we’re offering 140 characters of easily digestible insight into football, we’re watching the games – so you don’t have to
The Group Stages:
Thursday 14th June 2018
Russia (5) v Saudi Arabia (0)
The greatly criticised hosts open their tournament with an emphatic victory over a lacklustre Saudi Arabia as Cheryshev and Dzyuba shine.
Friday 15th June 2018
Egypt (0) v Uruguay (1)
Without talisman Mohammed Salah, the Pharaohs struggled against a strong Uruguay side as a thunderous header from Gimenez separates the sides.
Morocco (0) v Iran (1)
A cagey affair as Iran edge past Morocco with an injury-time own goal. Team Melli now must secure points against Spain or Portugal to progress.
Portugal (3) v Spain (3)
An all-time great game. Ronaldo dazzles, completing his hattrick with a last minute free kick as an unlikely De Gea error proves costly for Spain.
Saturday 16th June 2018
France (2) v Australia (1)
Les Blues fielded a star-studded line up which only edge past the Socceroos with the help of a dubious penalty and a deflected Pogba strike.
Argentina (1) v Iceland (1)
The smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup secures a point against Argentina as Messi’s missed penalty builds pressure on the Albiceleste.
Peru (0) v Denmark (1)
Peru’s return to World Cup after a thirty-year hiatus ends in disappointment as they fail to convert their chances against an industrious Denmark.
Croatia (2) V Nigeria (0)
Outside favourites Croatia open their tournament with victory as a strong second half display lead by captain Luca Modric seals three points.
Sunday 17th June 2018
Costa Rica (0) v Serbia (1)
A determined Serbia side secure victory as a wonderfully weighted Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick was unstoppable for Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas.
Germany (0) v Mexico (1)
Germany’s World Cup defence could not have had a worse start as a wonderful counterattacking display sees Mexico edge Die Mannschaft by a goal to nil.
Brazil (1) v Switzerland (1)
Tournament favourites Brazil were held to a draw by a stubborn Swiss outfit. Brazil’s attacking stars were blunted by the physical Swiss midfield.
Monday 18th June 2018
Sweden (1) v South Korea (0)
Sweden showed themselves the composed and abrasive side which defeated Italy to reach the finals as they grind a victory against the Koreans.
Belgium (3) v Panama (0)
A strong Belgium team delivered a robust performance to break a resilient Panama side. Lukaku nets twice to secure an expected three points.
Tunisia (1) v England (2)
It took a late winner from Harry Kane to confirm it, but be wary of English friends as this was enough to confirm football is indeed coming home.
Tuesday 19th June 2018
Colombia (1) v Japan (2)
The stars of the 2014 tournament disappoint as an early red card for Sanchez and captain James Rodriguez struggle against a technical Japanese side.
Poland (1) v Senegal (2)
Defensive errors and an underwhelming performance from starman Lewandowski means Poland disappoint against an energetic and exciting Senegal side.
Russia (3) v Egypt (1)
Russia continues to impress by eliminating Egypt. Despite a Salah penalty for the Pharaohs, Cheryshev and Dzyuba ensure the hosts advance.
Wednesday 20th June 2018
Portugal (1) v Morocco (0)
Ronaldo’s domination continues as his fourth goal sees Portugal narrowly beat a resilient Morocco who are unlucky not to secure a point.
Uruguay (1) v Saudi Arabia (0)
Compact, stubborn and far from beautiful to watch, Uruguay continue to how effective a team they are as a sole Suarez goal seals victory.
Iran (0) v Spain (1)
Despite a strong defensive showing from Iran, they failed to be clinical in attack as La Roja are guided to three points by a savvy midfield.
Thursday 21st June 2018
Denmark (1) v Australia (1)
Controversy again as contested VAR penalty enables Mile Jedinak to equalise for the Socceroos and keep their hopes of qualification alive.
France (1) v Peru (0)
Despite hitting the woodwork twice, Peru is eliminated from the world cup as a sole goal from PSG starlet Kylian Mbappe separates sides.
Argentina (0) v Croatia (3)
Whilst Maradona kissed his shirt pre-game, Messi was left a dejected figure as Argentina are comprehensively beaten by an impressive Croatia.
Friday 22nd June 2018
Brazil (2) v Costa Rica (0)
Costa Rica holding Brazil for 90 minutes should be enough for a point, but two injury-time goals sees Brazil clinch victory with a late surge.
Nigeria (2) v Iceland (0)
A brace from speedster Ahmed Musa ends Iceland’s World Cup adventure and sets up a Group D showdown to decide who will progress with Croatia.
Serbia (1) v Switzerland (2)
In an ethnically charged game, the Swiss secure a crucial victory. Sublime goals from Xhaka and Shaqiri leave the Swiss in a strong position.
Saturday 23rd June 2018
Belgium (5) v Tunisia (2)
Belgium comfortably dispatch Tunisia as they cruise to the knockout stages. Injury worries as Lukaku, Hazard and Mertens pick up late knocks.
South Korea (1) v Mexico (2)
A Mexicans wave continues to grow as a disciplined defensive outing and goals from Vela and Hernandez moves El Tri closer to qualification.
Germany (2) v Sweden (1)
It only took 185 minutes for Germany to show the quality which led to victory in 2014 as a Toni Kroos strike steals three points at the death.
Sunday 24th June 2018
England (6) v Panama (1)
Another comfortable victory for England as Harry Kane’s hattrick kicks the England hype-train into full drive. Is football really coming home?
Japan (2) v Senegal (2)
Japan exhibited composure and resilience to come from behind twice to secure a point against a competitive, but at times naïve Senegal side.
Poland (0) v Colombia (3)
Following shock defeat to Senegal, Columbia was a must-win game for Poland. With Poland incohesive and ineffective, Columbia deservedly won 3-0.
Monday 25th June 2018
Uruguay (3) v Russia (0)
La Celeste progress with maximum points as they breeze past a weakened Russia side as Cavani and Suarez net in a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Saudi Arabia (2) v Egypt (1)
He never looked fit, but the mercurial Salah netted at the World Cup he never looked fit to play at. However, his Pharaoh’s head home pointless.
Spain (2) v Morocco (2)
Spain show the first signs of nerves following the removal of Lopetegui, as they fall behind twice, only escaping with an injury-time equaliser.
Iran (1) v Portugal (1)
Ronaldo continues to make headlines, but not for his goal scoring form. Instead, should he have seen red in Portugal’s near escape against Iran?
Tuesday 26th June 2018
Australia (0) v Peru (2)
Bedlam in Lima and Sochi as the Peruvians seal their first World Cup victory since 1978. An excellent bedrock to build Peruvian football.
Denmark (0) v France (0)
A reshuffled France stagger to an underwhelming draw against a resilient Denmark. Les Bleus continue to underwhelm despite topping Group A.
Nigeria (1) v Argentina (2)
HE HAS ARRIVED. Messi has finally made his presence felt in Russia as his brilliance and a late Marcos Rojo goal sees the Albiceleste through.
Iceland (1) v Croatia (2)
Despite major changes, Croatia see off Iceland 2-1. Though a Sigurdsson penalty made a close affair, Iceland’s fairy-tale ends in defeat.
Wednesday 27th June 2018
Germany (0) v South Korea (2)
1938 was the last time Germany failed to progress beyond the first stage of the World Cup as Korea send Die Mannschaft home in humiliation.
Mexico (0) v Sweden (3)
No Zlatan, no problem. Despite the Swedish maestro watching proceedings from Los Angeles, Sweden deliver a powerful performance to top Group F.
Serbia (2) v Brazil (2)
Serbia couldn’t secure the victory they needed to qualify against Brazil. The Brazilian’s superior pace and dynamism sees them top Group E.
Switzerland (2) v Costa Rica (2)
Only needing a draw to qualify, Switzerland looked to have secured three points, but Costa Rica bow out with pride after securing an injury time draw.
Thursday 28th June 2018
Japan (0) v Poland (1)
Poland salvage pride as they blunt Japan and seal a consolation victory. Japan luckily scrape through on their superior disciplinary record.
Senegal (0) v Colombia (1)
Colombia take victory as Yerry Mina’s goal secures top spot for Los Cafeteros. Senegal miss out controversially due to the fair play rule.
Panama (1) v Tunisia (2)
With only pride at stake, Tunisia earn their first World Cup win in 40 years. Panama’s first finals ends pointless despite gallant efforts.
England (0) v Belgium (1)
In the game that nobody wanted to win, with both managers attempting to come second, a weakened Belgium beat a weakened England to top Group G.
The Gown will be back with coverage of the Round of Sixteen and previews of the Quarter Finals next week!