Fifa World Cup: wins for John Obi Mikel, Axel Witsel and Yannick Carrasco among Chinese Super League stars in Russia
Argentina’s Javier Mascherano has been busy on and off the pitch, with rumours circulating he was struck with a pineapple by a teammate
Another round of World Cup games has come and gone with the Chinese Super League represented for good and bad in Russia.
Most saw plenty of action, several of them played the whole game and some even helped their team to victory.
Others had a much worse couple of days – and it showed – with tales of assault by pineapple coming out of the changing rooms.
Javier Mascherano, Argentina
With rumours circulating that he was struck with a pineapple in an altercation with Cristian Pavon, the Hebei China Fortune man has been busier off the pitch than he was playing every minute of Argentina’s 3-0 loss to Croatia. He has had to quell talk that the players have staged a revolt on coach Jorge Sampaoli and explain Leo Messi’s state of mind. Argentina are in must-win territory when they face Nigeria.
— Yannick Carrasco (@CarrascoY21) 23 June 2018
Axel Witsel and Yannick Carrasco, Belgium
Hopefully Witsel doesn’t look at social media where his very purpose is questioned but Roberto Martinez likes the Tianjin Quanjian man and he started in their 5-2 win over Tunisia in group G on Saturday. Carrasco threatened from the left again and both played the whole game, with Martinez pointing out the growth of his players since moving to China in the post-game press conference.
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) 22 June 2018
John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, Nigeria
Captain Mikel broke a bone in his hand against Croatia in a more familiar midfield role but he will shrug that off to lead his country as they play for a place in the knockouts.
Meanwhile, the Changchun Yatai hitman came on for Kelechi Iheanacho after 85 minutes and the team are prepared for “war” against Argentina, he told BBC Sport.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) 20 June 2018
Jose Fonte, Portugal
Expected to leave Dalian Yifang in the coming weeks, the much maligned central defender had 10 clearances in the Morocco game, the most by a single player in any 2018 World Cup game so far – a stat he happily retweeted. Other than that he has been speaking about the team’s star man Cristiano Ronaldo a lot. Should start again when the team plays Iran early Tuesday morning.
A post shared by JELENA KARLEUŠA (@karleusastar) on Jun 22, 2018 at 2:13am PDT
Dusko Tosic, Serbia
Could have scored the goal to put his side 2-1 up, Tosic then got beaten by Xherdan Shaqiri for the winner in the last minute. He was the only man in his half bar the goalkeeper and failed with an attempt to play Shaqiri offside. No matter as the tabloids were more concerned with his pop-star wife Jelena Karleusa’s pre-match Instagram post showing her support for the team.
Kim Young-gwon, South Korea
The first Korean in the book on Saturday, Guangzhou Evergrande defender Kim played every minute against Mexico and impressed despite the 2-0 defeat which leaves South Korea needing to beat Germany and see other results go their way. For that to happen, Kim will have to be on the pitch.
Renato Augusto, Brazil
No game time at all in Brazil’s last-gasp victory over Costa Rica in Saint Petersburg but the Beijing Guoan man was in training in the run up to the game so presumably he will be in contention for Brazil’s big game against Serbia.