Any World Cup needs its stars to fire, especially Qatar with all the negative criticism over corruption and human rights issues it has attracted. And the stars have not disappointed.
Stars fire up
True custodians of the game stars like Mbappe , Messi and the Brazilian team as a whole, sensed the game needed them to fire-up. And they have not disappointed.
We may have already seen the goal of the tournament with Brazil’s Richarlison performing an amazing control and bicycle volley kick to seal victory against a stubborn Serbia.
Mbappe has been outstanding in both the Australian and Denmark victories showing he is the French talisman for the bookmaker’s second favourite of the competition.
The greatest player of his generation and some would say of all time Lionel Messi anointed the game with a brilliant performance against Mexico, a stunning goal and assist got Argentina back on track with a 2-0 victory over Mexico, especially after their shock loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening game.
This leads to the favourite and my pick for the winner in the tournament Brazil, the Kings of Ginga and Samba football , everyone’s second favourite team who love the beautiful game.
Their strong performance against Serbia winning 2-0 displayed all the qualities we expect from a strong Brazilian team.
The front four are irresistible, Neymar pulling the strings in the classic number 10 role dishing it out to the superb Vinicius Junior on one wing and the industrious Raphinha on the other. The former controversial Everton player Richarlison now at Tottenham Hotspurs double act brace decided the game and the majority of football lovers in the world would agree that when Brazil is on song there is no better sight in football.
Socceroos had a huge victory
What of the huge victory of the Socceroos over Tunisia? That astounding glancing header from Mitchell Duke off a fortuitous deflected cross was enough to steal victory.
Australia win their first World Cup game since beating Serbia 2-1 at the 2010 World Cup and now place themselves in a do or die match against Denmark to secure an unlikely progress to the Second round.
Harry Soutar who plies his trade in the EFL Championship club Stoke City was superb in defence. His two desperate acts, the first lunging his body to stop a near certain goal from close range and the second to cover for a defensive mistake with a crunching tackle later in the game, will long be remembered as defining moments in a tight encounter.
We steady ourselves for the last games of round 1 as the teams fight and scratch for 2nd round qualification which should provide some outstanding football drama.
Peter Kokotis is a former football agent and is a South Melbourne FC youth football director.