Opening World Cup fixtures headline packed sporting weekend

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Seventh heaven: the opening weekend of World Cup football includes seven fixtures spread across two days
Seventh heaven: the opening weekend of World Cup football includes seven fixtures spread across two days
Seven games from the opening round of fixtures at the 2018 Russia World Cup coincide with crucial second rugby union Tests in England, Ireland and France’s southern hemisphere tours and the conclusion of the US Open golf.

World Cup football

The opening weekend of the World Cup is packed with fixtures at pub-friendly kick-off times.

France v Australia – World Cup group C – Saturday 16 June – BBC – 11am kick off

Many people’s dark horses, Didier Deschamps’ young and talented French side get their World Cup under way against an Australia side featuring a host of UK-based stars.

Argentina v Iceland – World Cup group D – Saturday 16 June – ITV – 2pm kick off

Boasting arguably the most talented attacking front line in the tournament, Messi, Aguero and co take on the smallest nation to ever qualify for a World Cup finals.  

Peru v Denmark – World Cup group C – Saturday 16 June – BBC – 5pm kick off

With Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen pulling the strings, Denmark get their campaign under way against a Peru side boosted by the return of their all-time leading goal scorer Paolo Guerrero.

Croatia v Nigeria – World Cup group D – Saturday 16 June – ITV – 8pm kick off

Likely to prove a play off for a second place berth in group D behind Argentina, a talented Croatia side led by former Tottenham midfield maestro Luka Modric will kick off as favourites against Nigeria.

Costa Rica v Serbia – World Cup group E – Sunday 17 June – ITV – 1pm kick off

With Aleksandar Mitrovic joining Serbia’s World Cup campaign off the back of a fruitful Championship campaign with Fulham, the Europeans will fancy their chances against the surprise package of World Cup 2014, Costa Rica.

Germany v Mexico – World Cup group F – Sunday 17 June – BBC - 4pm kick off

The World Cup holders supplied a pre-tournament shock by leaving out Manchester City talisman Leroy Sane. However, once the match begins against Mexico on Sunday, it’s expected that proceedings will follow a more predictable pattern.

Brazil v Switzerland – World Cup group E – Sunday 17 June – ITV – 7pm kick off

Many people’s favourites Brazil face a stern test against the world’s sixth best side according to FIFA rankings.

International Rugby union

New Zealand v France – International rugby union – Saturday 16 June – Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 8am (Kick off at 8.35am)

After a shaky start against France, New Zealand blew France away with a storming second half-display to maintain their unbeaten record at Auckland’s Eden Park. The second Test takes place in Wellington, where France have never won.

Australia v Ireland – International rugby union – Saturday 16 June – Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 10.45am (Kick off at 11am)

Ireland ring the changes after an 18-9 reversal last weekend, with fly-half Johnny Sexton the most high-profile introduction as the Irish look to level the series.

South Africa v England – International rugby union – Saturday 16 June – Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 3pm (Kick off at 4.05pm)

England face a must-win second Test in Bloemfontein. A narrow 42-39 defeat last weekend extended their abject run of form to four defeats on the spin.

US Open golf

Saturday 16 June – Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6pm

Sunday 17 June – Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30pm

After early favourites Jordan Speith, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson endured a brutal first day at New York’s Shinnecock Hills course, this year’s US Open has been blown wide open.

While world number one Dustin Johnson finds himself among the early front runners – led by American Russell Henley, England’s Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are among the early contenders.

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