World Cup Friday: Portugal vs. Spain

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off Thursday. Host country Russia won their first match against Saudi Arabia 5-0 to open the tournament.

Friday’s matches include the remaining Group A teams, Egypt and Uruguay at 8 a.m., and all four Group B teams will have their first matches.

World Cup schedule today:
8 a.m. – Egypt vs. Uruguay (Group A)
11 a.m. – Morocco vs. Iran (Group B)
2 p.m. – Portugal vs. Spain (Group B)
Group A Standings
Russia (1-0-0) 3 points
Uruguay (0-0-0) 0 points
Egypt (0-0-0) 0 points
Saudi Arabia 0-0-1), 0 points
Group B Standings
Portugal (0-0-0) 0 points
Spain (0-0-0) 0 points
Morocco (0-0-0) 0 points
Iran (0-0-0), 0 points
Egypt vs. Uruguay (Group A)
Egyptian coach Hector Cuper said star forward Mohamed Salah will play in their Group A opener. Uruguay is still favored to win.

Date: Friday, June 15
Time: 8 a.m. EST
Location: Stadion Central’nyj, Yekaterinburg
Follow live: Egypt vs. Uruguay live blog
TV: Fox
Online stream: fuboTV (try for free), FoxSports.com (subscription required)
Morocco vs. Iran (Group B)
The opening match in Group B is a must-win for either of these teams. A draw likely won’t cut it for point totals to survive the group

Date: Friday, June 15
Time: 11 a.m. EST
Location: Stadion Krestovskyi, Saint Petersburg
Follow live: Morocco vs. Iran live blog
TV: Fox
Online stream: fuboTV (try for free), FoxSports.com (subscription required)
Portugal vs. Spain (Group B)
The second Group B match today will see Cristiano Ronaldo against goalkeeper David de Gea. While both teams are predicted to Advance, this first match for both teams may very well decide the tie-breaker in the group.

Date: Friday, June 15
Time: 2 p.m. EST
Location: Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Sochi
Follow live: Portugal vs. Spain live blog
TV: Fox
Online stream: fuboTV (try for free), FoxSports.com (subscription required)
Download a printable World Cup bracket
CBS Sports has created a downloadable World Cup bracket for you to follow along every World Cup match. The bracket contains all teams within all eight groups and how they place into the round of 16 in the knock out stage.
Spain get their 2018 World Cup campaign under way on Friday when they take on Portugal and they will do so without Julen Lopetegui, who was sensationally relieved of his position as head coach.

The 51-year-old was sacked by the Spanish football federation (RFEF) on Wednesday – just two days before their opening game – following the revelation that he is set to take over as Real Madrid manager.

La Roja will have to pick themselves up for the Group B clash against their Iberian rivals, who come into the tournament as European champions, having won Euro 2016 in France two summers ago.

The tournament may well be the last for Selecao captain Cristiano Ronaldo and the 33-year-old will be eager to help his country get off to the perfect start by beating one of the favourites.

Head coach Fernando Santos has brought an experienced squad to Russia, with the likes of Pepe, Bruno Alves and Jose Fonte among the defenders in the panel.

Portugal have picked up no fresh injury concerns from their tournament warm-up games and preparation, so Santos should have a fully-fit squad available for Friday.

Potential Portugal XI: Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Moutinho, Carvalho, Mario, B. Silva; Guedes, Ronaldo.

POSITION SPAIN PLAYERS
Goalkeepers De Gea, Arrizabalaga, Reina
Defenders Carvajal, Pique, Nacho, Ramos, Azpilicueta, Monreal, Odriozola, Alba
Midfielders Busquets, Iniesta, Saul, Koke, Thiago, Asensio, Isco
Forwards Rodrigo, Vazquez, Aspas, Costa, Silva
The departure of Lopetegui has the potential to throw Spain’s plans into disarray, but the starting XI should remain the same nonetheless.

Alvaro Odriozola is likely to start at right-back ahead of Dani Carvajal after impressing in the Real Madrid defender’s absence in warm-up friendlies.

Potential Spain XI: De Gea; Odriozola, Ramos, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Isco, Thiago, Silva; Costa.

Betting & Match Odds
Spain are 11/10 favourites to win the match, with Portugal priced at 3/1 to triumph according to dabblebet . A draw between the rivals is considered an 21/10 bet.

Ronaldo is favourite to score first at 4/1, with Diego Costa following at 9/2.

Click here to see all of dabblebet’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.

Match Preview
Julen Lopetegui wearing a suit and tie: Julen Lopetegui Spain Italy WC Qualifiers
© Provided by Sporting News Julen Lopetegui Spain Italy WC Qualifiers
The RFEF’s decision to dispense with the services of Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup has sent shockwaves through the Spain camp ahead of their opening match and it will be interesting to see how the players respond, with Fernando Hierro set to take the reins .

La Roja are among the favourites to win the competition, such is the wealth of talent within the squad, but their chances may have diminished somewhat without the guiding hand of the coach who steered them to the finals and the outcome of the game against Portugal could well set the tone for the remainder of their tournament.

Despite the sensational development, RFEF president Luis Rubiales insisted that the players would “do everything… to take the team as far as possible” as they attempt to win their second world title.

Portugal will be eager to take advantage of the apparent upheaval that is afflicting their rivals and a win in the first game would set them well on their way towards reaching the knock-out stage, with games against Morocco and Iran to come.

The European champions come into the tournament as unfancied outsiders, but they can send a message of intent to the rest of the contenders by beating Spain on Friday.