Day 2: Players, Storylines to Watch as Portugal and Spain Tangle - NBC Chicago
2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA World Cup

Sixty-four matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities in Russia

Day 2: Players, Storylines to Watch as Portugal and Spain Tangle

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    Day 2: Players, Storylines to Watch as Portugal and Spain Tangle
    Getty Images
    Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the friendly match of preparation for FIFA 2018 World Cup between Portugal and Algeria at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on June 7, 2018 in Lisboa, Portugal.

    The first full day of action in the 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place Friday, as a trio of games are on the docket in the competition.

    The big match of the day will conclude coverage, as European rivals Portugal and Spain will tangle in Sochi. Egypt and Uruguay will get the day started in Ekaterinburg, and the middle match will be a Group B battle between Morocco and Iran in St. Petersburg.

    Egypt vs. Uruguay

    Start Time: 7 a.m. (Telemundo Chicago)

    Did You Know?

    Egypt will be competing in its first World Cup in nearly 30 years, as they haven’t qualified for the tournament since 1990.

    Uruguay is looking to get off to a hot start, something they haven’t been able to do in recent years. The squad hasn’t won its World Cup opener since 1970.

    Players to Watch:

    Mohamed Salah, the man who helped guide Egypt to its first World Cup in nearly 30 years, suffered an injury in the UEFA Champions League Final that threatened to keep him out of the tournament, but he will be on the pitch for Friday’s opener.

    Salah racked up 32 goals for Liverpool in Premier League competition, and also scored four goals for Egypt in World Cup qualification.

    As for the Uruguay squad, all eyes will be on Luis Suarez, as he plays in his first World Cup game since biting Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 competition in Brazil. He scored a pair of goals in that competition before being suspended, and he racked up five goals and seven assists during World Cup qualifiers.

    Portugal vs. Spain

    Start Time: 1 p.m. (Telemundo Chicago)

    Did You Know?

    Spain had an absolutely dominant run in international competition from 2008 to 2012, winning the UEFA European championships in 2008 and 2012 and hoisting the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. That success ended abruptly however, as they failed to get out of group play in 2014 and lost in the round of 16 in the 2016 European championship.

    Portugal has only played Spain once in World Cup competition, falling 1-0 in the round of 16 during the 2010 tournament in South Africa. The Portuguese have also struggled out of the gate in World Cups over the last four tournaments, winning just one and getting outscored 7-3.

    Players to Watch:

    Despite being one of the top players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has only scored three goals in 13 career World Cup games for Portugal. That could all change this time around however, as he racked up a staggering 15 goals in nine qualifying games to help get his team into the tournament.

    Facing Ronaldo will be one of his Real Madrid teammates, as defender Sergio Ramos will be tasked with slowing down the prolific scorer. As the team’s captain, he will ultimately be responsible for marking Ronaldo, and will also look to keep his team focused after a week of upheaval that saw the team’s coach fired after accepting a job at Real Madrid without informing the Spanish soccer federation. 

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