From Russia without love..

There have been slow starts for Suarez and Messi but Paulinho, Coutinho, Ter Stegen, Vermaelen and Mina are still yet to make their debuts

 Messi falló el penalti decisivo | Mediaset

The performances of Barcelona players at the World Cup so far is a topic of discussion but they know all too well: it isn't about how you start, but how you finish. The reason behind the slow starts no one knows but there hasn't been much for any of the players to cheer about so far, talking strictly about individual performances. This is because no Barcelona player has suffered defeat in Russia so far: three victories and two draws.

Toni Juanmartí

@tjuanmarti

It started with victory for Luis Suarez and Uruguay. It was Jose Maria Gimenez who scored at the death after Uruguay wasted various occasions to put themselves ahead. Three of the chances fell to Suarez but he failed to keep his cool and convert any of them. In the first half Suarez could only find the side netting when it seemed more difficult to miss rather than score. The other two chances came in the second half and Egypt's El Shenawy won both duels.

In the crazy battle between Spain and Portugal it was Cristiano Ronaldo who spoilt the party. Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets had to make do with a point despite a fantastic showing in the second half from Fernando Hierro's men. Pique gave the foul away which Cristiano duly converted to make it 3-3. All three played well though with Alba being the standout performer.

One person who didn't play well was Ousmane Dembele for France. The winger failed to make his mark on the match between France and Australia and was substituted in the second half. Samuel Umtiti was also unfortunate. He gave away a ridiculous penalty after handling the ball in the box. Deschamps team did, however, claim all three points on their debut.

The most cruel performance belonged to Lionel Messi. Argentina's only hope missed a penalty which would've given his team the victory against a stubborn Iceland side. Messi tried everything but it wasn't his day, summed up by his poor efforts from set pieces.

Croatia, with Ivan Rakitic, were impressive as his country beat Nigeria. Rakitic had a good game as Croatia simply outclassed their opponents.

A strong start is something Marc-Andre ter Stegen - unless he's on the bench - will be looking for with Germany. Paulinho and Coutinho are also likely to start for Brazil later this evening.  On Monday Belgium will get underway but Thomas Vermaelen is unlikely to feature, whereas on Tuesday it'll be Yerry Mina's turn as Colombia kick off their World Cup campaign.

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