World Cup Chat: Robbie Williams steals the show as FIFA tournament kicks off in Russia

With the 2018 Football World Cup now well and truly underway, 1 NEWS' experts will bring you coverage of each day's biggest events.

As hosts Russia opened the tournament with a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia this morning, the performance of opening act Robbie Williams has dominated the headlines, with the former Take That star dishing out a rude hand gesture to the global audience.

We'll be back every matchday with a wrap of the morning's action, as well as a look ahead to what's to come from Russia 2018.

Results today:

Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

Tomorrow's matches:

12AM: Egypt vs Uruguay
3AM: Morocco vs Iran
6AM: Portugal vs Spain
10PM: France vs Australia

1 NEWS' football buffs break down the opening day of action at this year's World Cup. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics

MOST
POPULAR STORIES


Wellington Phoenix confirm signing of attacking midfielder Max Burgess

The Wellington Phoenix have stepped up their recruitment drive ahead of the new A-League season, signing Australian attacking midfielder Max Burgess.

Burgess, 23, joins the Nix on a one-year deal, coming off the back of a season having won the NSW National Premier League with Sydney Olympic FC, scoring seven goals in 27 appearances.

"I am extremely excited to be signing with the Wellington Phoenix and I am determined to make my mark with my new team," Burgess said in a statement.

"When I heard of the interest, I jumped at the chance and with the encouragement I have received from Mark Rudan, I can't wait to get started."

Coach Rudan spoke of his delight at securing Burgess' signature, with the versatile attacker having impressed against the Phoenix in pre-season.

"He has tasted Hyundai A-League experience before, but I feel he has plenty more to show," Rudan said.

"I'm looking forward to having his attributes and his hard work ethic within the squad."

Burgess has represented both Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets previously in the A-League.

New Phoenix signing Max Burgess
New Phoenix signing Max Burgess Source: Getty


Topics

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Olympic champion Usain Bolt set to start in Mariners final trial game

Usain Bolt believes Friday's trial match could determine his future with the Central Coast Mariners.

Bolt is expected to start for the first time since arriving at the A-League club in August in the hope of beginning a professional soccer career.

"This is going to be a big game. I think it will determine if the club makes up its mind on what to do with my career," said Bolt of the match against a select Macarthur South West United team.

After being used as a winger in his first brief trial appearance in late August, the retired track great hinted at a positional change for the match at Sydney's Campbelltown Stadium.

Not only has coach Mike Mulvey raised the prospect of starting with Bolt, but also deploying him further up the pitch in the frontline.

With Mulvey likely to play a strong line-up, Bolt is keen to show how much improvement he has made by working with the first team.
"(Mulvey) said he wants to play me up top more," Bolt said.

"The couple of games that I played, I didn't play with the first team.

"There's a few first-team boys in the team for Friday. So I'll get different service, better service, because they're more seasoned and more mature.

"So he just told me to make sure I'm focused and push myself, and I'll just take the chances when I get them."

Bolt has undergone one-on-one sessions on top of the team's training program in a bid to fast-track his development.

And the 32-year-old is taking his first run-on start as an indication that the coaching staff are pleased by the progress he has made with his conditioning and touch.

"That's always a good step, when coaches are satisfied with the fitness to put me in the starting line-up. That's always a big step," Bolt said.

"I can say I've been improving, (but) you won't know what level you're at until you actually play a competitive game.

"I've just got to go out there and play and see what I need to do or if I should continue if not. I'm just pushing myself, I think I've put in a lot of work.

"Now it's just to go out there and execute."

The Mariners open their A-League season against the Brisbane Roar on Sunday week.

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt Source: Photosport


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

TVNZ FC video podcast: Chaos inside NZ Football and it's tight at the top in the Premier League

TVNZ FC is back once again, and what a week of football it's been.

Special guest 1 NEWS Sport's Michelle Prendiville joins the boys for an inside look into the chaotic end to Andreas Heraf's reign as Football Ferns coach.

We ponder why the All Whites aren't up to anything during this month's international break.

Jose Mourinho survives for another week in charge of Manchester United, coming back from the brink to defeat winless Newcastle.

Meanwhile Manchester City blow the chance to assert themselves as the Premier League's front-runners.

The pressure's starting to mount in the Spanish capital, are Julen Lopetegui's days in charge of Real Madrid numbered?

And one of the world's great defenders calls it quits, but how will John Terry be remembered for his antics off the pitch?

Chris Chang leads TVNZ's football aficionados for another week's action. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics


'Probably a good chance' - Mariners coach hints at starting Usain Bolt in club's next trial game

Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey admits he's considering starting Usain Bolt in Friday's trial against a Macarthur South West United team.

Mulvey on Tuesday revealed Bolt was rested from training duties last week as he recovered from a minor knee injury.

However the Jamaican superstar is back at peak fitness and is set to be given more than the 20 minutes in his first public appearance in late August.

"From a fitness perspective, you could probably start him. Whether we do or not, (there's) probably a good chance," Mulvey told reporters on Tuesday.

"But we'll weigh it up as the week goes. Last week we rested him a little bit because he had a bit of a knee injury, but that's all gone.
"The rest helped him with that."

After allowing Bolt to take a week off last month, the club upped his program to include one-on-one sessions with former Mariners captain Nick Montgomery.

But while pleased with Bolt's improvement in his physical condition, Mulvey conceded the former Olympic and world sprint champion lacked match fitness.

He compared his progress to that of defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis, who is on the comeback from a knee reconstruction.

Aspropotamitis only begun non-contact training with the main group this week, and has struggled to keep pace with his teammates.

"Nothing (Jonathan) did before really readied for him for when there's pressure on and people running past him," Mulvey said.

"Usain's in the same situation because he needs to learn all that and be able to do repeat efforts, because in football nowadays, you've got to be able to do something which is okay good, but then you need to repeat.

"Particularly to play in wide areas, we're looking at our players overlapping or wingers coming inside. He needs to be able to repeat.

"That's where we're at with the journey as far as he's concerned. He'll play on Friday night and I think we'll see how long he lasts and go from there."

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt Source: Photosport


Topics