The World Cup is underway, and several Atlético Madrid players find themselves on the biggest stage in world football.
They haven’t disappointed.
Diego Costa, Antoine Griezmann and José Giménez have all scored. No Atlético player has tasted defeat yet, and only Real Madrid players have accounted for more goals (5 to 4).
Let’s review the first few days of action from Russia from a rojiblanco perspective.
Egypt 0-1 Uruguay
Giménez and Diego Godín started and played all 90 minutes against a Mohamed Salah-less Egypt. Godín was excellent as usual, with four tackles, four interceptions and five clearances. He always seemed to know what the Egyptian attackers were going to do before they did it.
But Giménez stole the show with an 89th minute winner. He headed the ball ferociously from a Carlos Sánchez free kick and brought home the massive three points for Uruguay.
Portugal 3-3 Spain
Each World Cup match has brought something special, but Portugal-Spain has been the best one yet: the two giants in Group B played out a thrilling six-goal draw on Friday night. Diego Costa hasn’t missed a beat since the season ended and brought his good form into this match. He did all the dirty work and scored twice through silky dribbling and lethal finishing. His great game was only overshadowed by a possessed Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat trick for the Euro 2016 winners.
Koke took 101 touches over a workmanlike 90 minutes, while Saúl did not play.
France 2-1 Australia
The opening game in Group C was far from breezy for Griezmann, Lucas and co. Australia’s play was disruptive and les bleus underwhelmed, even as Griezmann converted a penalty that he won in the 58th minute. Atlético’s #7 was substituted 10 minutes later.
Lucas Hernández played all 90 minutes and seemed a target of the Socceroos’ physicality. He was fouled a game-high six times (and possibly played up a few of them) — Benjamin Mendy could replace him for France’s next game.
Thomas Lemar — who Atlético have reached a deal in principle to sign from Monaco — did not play.
Croatia 2-0 Nigeria
Šime Vrsaljko started at right back for Croatia. He played reasonably well, completing better than 85 percent of his passes and winning three aerial duels. His crossing wasn’t very good but his side won comfortably anyway. It was a decent opening act for the 26-year-old, who probably needs to have a good World Cup to show he deserves a place in Diego Simeone’s team next season.
Brazil 1-1 Switzerland
Filipe Luís was an unused substitute as the tournament favorites were held by Steven Zuber and Switzerland.