Jesse Lingard tries to avoid the little critters.
Jesse Lingard tries to avoid the little critters.

Why teammate snubbed Ronaldo celebration

PICTURE this: Cristiano Ronaldo, your captain, has just slammed home a sensational free-kick to draw level late against fierce rivals Spain - securing a vital point for Portugal.

CR7 charges to the corner post to celebrate his stunning hat-trick - and even more impressive free kick - and teammates pile on for a massive group hug.

All except for one, centre back Jose Fonte.

It's not because of any split in the ranks at Portugal, but actually an astute tactical decision by Fonte who stayed back in the field of play to prevent a quick kick-off by Russia which would've left Portugal's goal desperately exposed.

FIFA rules state that if all outfield players - which excludes the goalkeeper - are off the field during goal celebrations then the opposing team is allowed to restart via a kick-off.

Essentially it boils down to not being able to kick off while an opposing player is in your half of the pitch: but if all players are off the field, none are in your half of the pitch then the kick off can take place.

Portugal's Jose Fonte (separate from group) and his sensible play in Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick celebration. Pic: Twitter
Portugal's Jose Fonte (separate from group) and his sensible play in Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick celebration. Pic: Twitter

So while Ronaldo and eight of his teammates embraced near the corner flag, Fonte - and goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who is down the other end of the pitch - appear to be the lonliest players on the pitch.

But he may have saved the day.

For clarity, England's Kieron Trippier did something similar after Harry Kane scored against Tunisia - wheeling away to celebrate on his own while his teammates converged on the skipper.

 

MEANWHILE, Belgium are up and running at Russia 2018, scoring three second-half goals, including a stunning volley from Dries Mertens to defeat World Cup newbies Panama in Sochi.

England, meanwhile, left it late to knock over Tunisia with a late Harry Kane header sealing a 2-1 victory - with goalkeeper Mouez Hassen left in tears after coming from the field in the first half.

Mertens broke the deadlock with a goal of the tournament contender on 46 minutes before Romelu Luakaku's two goals put the Central American minnows to the sword in front of their brilliant fans.

Elsewhere, VAR had its say again in Russia, awarding Sweden the decisive penalty in their 1-0 win over South Korea.

Referee Joel Aguilar used the technology after originally not pointing to the spot when Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson in the box.

The VAR overturned that and Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist scored the penalty to take the Scandinavians joint-top with Mexico in Group F.

Granqvist slots home the game’s only goal. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Granqvist slots home the game’s only goal. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

RESULTS:

Sweden 1 South Korea 0 

Belgium 3 Panama 0 

England 2 Tunisia 1 

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY:

THE GOOD: While they didn't win their battles on the field, off it Tunisia and Panama showed their opponents how it's done. It's Panama's first appearance at a World Cup and the central Americans are making the absolute most of it.

THE BAD: It was a tough day at the office for Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen, who pulled off a string of impressive saves in the opening minutes of the clash with England - before conceding Harry Kane's opening after 11 minutes. But that was compounded by searing pain in his shoulder, and he crumpled to the ground. Five minutes later, it became too much and he was unable to continue - leaving the pitch in tears.

England’s Jesse Lingard reacts after an insect lands on him during warm-up. Pic: Getty
England’s Jesse Lingard reacts after an insect lands on him during warm-up. Pic: Getty

 

THE UGLY: It was hot and humid in Volgograd and Tunisia's swarming defence caused plenty of problems, but they weren't the only things which irritated England. They also had to contend with the local midge population.

GOAL OF THE DAY:

Forget goal of the day, Dries Mertens' effort for Belgium against Panama is up there with goal of the tournament.

Dries Mertens scored the opening goal for Belgium against Panama.
Dries Mertens scored the opening goal for Belgium against Panama.

Reacting fastest to a loose ball, the Napoli attacker lashes a venomous volley into the far corner of the goal. You just don't save those.


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