Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):
- Denmark ties Australia, 1-1 (WATCH: 90 in 90: Denmark vs. Australia)
- France def. Peru, 1-0 (WATCH: 90 in 90: France vs. Peru)
- Croatia def. Argentina, 3-0 (WATCH: 90 in 90: Argentina vs. Croatia)
- 7:00 PM – WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
- 8:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP MATCH OF THE DAY: Argentina vs. Croatia (FS1)
- 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1 / Guest Jorge Campos)
- 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Today’s Top Stories:
- Former Mexican international Jorge Campos joins tonight’s WORLD CUP TONIGHT
- Happy Birthday, John Strong!
ICYMI Wednesday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT:
Today’s Top Quotes:
Former England women’s international and FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith on Messi’s disappointing start:
“Messi hasn’t had the best start. He’s the talisman of the team and he hasn’t show up. He leads by example. He pulls the players along. And I feel like they just haven’t performed at this level. I think there were so many gaps all over the field for the Croatians to take advantage of. Modric had a fantastic game.”
FOX Sports studio analyst Ian Wright says Messi’s woes are affecting the Argentinean players, but Croatia was the better team:
“The body language says it all. The Argentinians are normally very passionate and proud. I’ve watched a lot of Argentinian games in World Cups. Now, they seem to be devoid of any passion or organization. They are literally waiting for Messi to do something and everyone may get going.
“But you’ve got Modric and Rakitic – Real Madrid and Barcelona – proven winners and we’re expecting Messi and the Argentinian side, who ain’t done nothing, to beat this team. I feel a little like I’ve conned the public trying to tell them that Messi can get it going. Looking at his body language, why was I thinking something was going to change? He’s the leader, but he can’t get it going.”
FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas on Messi’s performance redefining his reputation:
“You’re looking at a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and living in the shadow of the man who was watching tonight – Maradona. It can’t be easy. This is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. The World Cup can be cruel, even to the greats. And it’s going to be very interesting tomorrow morning to see this new perception of, and this recasting, of Messi as this villain after playing the hero so long, and having a very positive view. That’s not necessarily going to change, but I think the World Cup reshapes perception of players and this is not good for him.”
Lalas on Croatia’s win over Argentina establishing them as a favorite now:
“This was an announcement. And as much as we’re going to talk about this as an unmitigated disaster for Argentina, this was not a coming out party, but a statement of intent by a real good team. Quality all over the field. They bossed Argentina all over the field. The individuals were having incredible games, and collectively, this is a team to be reckoned with.”
Smith on Argentina being embarrassed in the World Cup:
“It’s an embarrassment today. Now in two games, they lacked composure, and lacked creativity. We didn’t even see Messi on the ball in the second half. He was nonexistent. It’s disappointing that he just left the field like that.”
Wright believes this is the worst Argentinian team he’s seen:
“I’d say this is easily one of the worst Argentinian teams I’ve ever seen. And we’re talking about one of the greatest players in the world who’s on it. His body language, for a leader, this is worrying to see. Something’s missing and something’s gone wrong with him and Argentina. It’s sad to see.”
FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden assesses Croatia’s performance against Argentina:
“That performance from Croatia – from start to finish – was commanding and complete. It was aggressive and it had touches of quality throughout. We knew this was going to be a tough game for Argentina, much tougher than Iceland. Croatia, from the first minute, stepped up against them. They were winning the ball in the midfield, they were great in transition, and still what we saw from Rakitic and Modric, two of the best in the competition, they ran that Argentine team over. [Argentina] lacked passion, they lacked intensity, they lacked quality and most importantly, an identity – something that they have not had for a while now. They might be going home now, which would be a catastrophe.”
FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer John Strong predicts Modric’s goal, putting Croatia up 2-0:
“Second goal is there for the asking for Croatia. Modric wants it in the middle. Modric looking for space, Modric gets it away. Scores! Croatia can punch their ticket to the knockout round, and it’s a dagger in the heart of Argentina.”
Smith says that the Messi is such a topic because Ronaldo has performed so well:
“We wouldn’t be speaking about this subject if it wasn’t for Ronaldo’s four goals in these two matches. For me, Ronaldo has stepped up. He’s shown passion, hunger, he’s grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck. He’s talking to them. He’s constantly gathering them around and getting them together. You just see it in Ronaldo’s eyes. You see that he’s hungry and he’s playing hungry.”
Lalas was impressed with Paul Pogba’s first-half play for France:
“That sweet spot is when your biggest personality is also your best player on the field. At least for this half, it was all about Paul Pogba. He was all over the place – so smart in his positioning, and then when he needs to strike, he strikes.
“He has been great for this team. That’s what you want to see. That’s leadership.”
Wright is impressed with France’s Pogpa:
“Pogba’s a quality player. The problem he’s had is coming off the season he’s had with Manchester United, not being consistent. He’s coming into this World Cup as one of the big players. I think he’s fantastic. He seems to be getting more and more involved in the game. In the last third of the pitch, he has so much creativity and ability. I believe he’s easily one of the best midfielders in the tournament by far.”
“He’s a hybrid player. Look at the size of him. But he’s got a beautiful touch on the ball. Plus, his magnificent power and athletic stature.”
Lalas says Peru might be the best team not to advance to the knockout round:
“When all is said and done, this Peru team is probably going to go home and be the best team to go home, in terms of their performance.
“This was a historic moment for this team, and while they’re going home, they certainly, in these first two games, have been a delight to watch.”
FOX Sports game analyst Aly Wagner reacts to France’s first goal:
“Mbappe’s going to go on the score sheet, but kid yourselves not, this is all Paul Pogba. He wins the ball; he plays this little delicate touch-in behind Giroud, trying to turn on it. And then Mbappe there for the finish.
“Come on with that ball from Paul Pogba.”
Kelly Smith adds:
“This is what Pogba does best – he sniffs out the danger, lays a lovely ball into Giroud over the top of the keeper, and Mbappe is following up.”
Lalas thinks Paul Pogba’s personality is one of his biggest strengths:
“I think he’s one of the most intelligent players in the game…I love him because he is big, and he is bold and has that personality. But when you do that, you have to recognize that you’re not going to be given the benefit of the doubt when you don’t play well. You are setting yourself up, and I love the fact that he has embraced that. It rubs players the wrong way, it rubs fans the wrong way and sometimes it rubs coaches the wrong way. But, I would rather have a player with a bigger-than-life personality – that beautiful arrogance – than a shrinking violet.”
Smith says Denmark’s Christian Eriksen was the standout performer of the Denmark vs. Australia match:
“You could see how he was trying to control the game. His quality on the ball shone. Yes, he fell away a little bit but you still see that he has such technical ability, great vision…I think the quality of his game is fantastic, and his price tag has gone way through the roof after this.”
FOX Sports studio analyst and former Australian National Team manager Guus Hiddink says Australia has played well so far this tournament:
“They have grown into their preparation. They did very well in their last two games, are well organized and gained a lot of confidence from this game.”
With Yussuf Poulsen receiving his second yellow card of the tournament, Lalas said Denmark needed to win today before facing France in the final Group Stage match:
“This means, for Denmark, they’ve got to go for this win. You don’t want to leave it all without Poulsen, now, on that last game against France.”
FOX Sports game analyst Warren Barton on Australia’s response to tie the game at 1-1:
“They’ve got character. They’re maybe not the best passing team in the world. They’ve shown against France they’re willing to compete. I think Denmark just took their foot off the gas. They thought it was going to be a bit easier. With this fan base behind them, with this crowd, they just lifted the tempo.”
Barton on Mile Jedinak’s PK equalizer:
“You wouldn’t want to play poker against him. He is cool as you like.
“He’s like a machine. He doesn’t miss. He knew exactly what he was going to do.”
Barton on Christian Eriksen’s early goal for Denmark:
“You need class – he has it in abundance.
“He just oozes class. The movement, the technique.
“He just makes the game look simple.
“He just dips his shoulder and has enough class and ability to rifle that into the back of the net – sensational.”
Lalas agrees that Ronaldo is like a fine wine, but says he’s just a glass, and Portugal needs an entire bottle:
“He is like a fine wine. The problem is, it’s just a glass. And, while it’s wonderful, you kind of need a bottle in order to have that party. I’m not sure they have that bottle, so once that glass is done, they could have problems.
“But ultimately, what is this man there to do? He is there to score goals, and that is what he is doing.
“What happens when that glass is empty? Do they have anything else? Do they have a Plan B? I think that’s where the worry is when it comes to this Portugal team further on down the line. Everything’s wonderful right now, but at some point, they’re going to face somebody that can make them pay.”
Today’s Top Videos:
- Paul Pogba is blocking out the noise while leading France to their ultimate goal of winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup
- Jenny Taft caught up a pair of Argentina fans (and their very good dog, Draco), who have been travelling for three years to get to the World Cup
Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):
- 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FS1)
- 8:00 AM – Brazil vs. Costa Rica (FS1 / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
- 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
- 11:00 AM – Nigeria vs. Iceland (FOX / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
- 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
- 2:00 PM – Serbia vs. Switzerland (FOX / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
- 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
- 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
- 10:30 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
- 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)