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We need to talk about the handball rule and Phil Neville’s outfit...

The Women's World Cup is finally here and the opening weekend has lived up to the hype

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Kevin Beirne
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After months of build-up, the World Cup is finally here. Twenty four teams are in battle to see who will be crowned champions during what is promising to be the most thrilling edition of the tournament yet.

There is much British interest this time, with Scotland and England both placed in Group D and facing-off in the opening round.

Meanwhile, there was action in the men’s game too, as the Nations League wrapped up and Men’s Euro 2020 qualification continued.

Let’s take a look at what got people talking over the weekend...

1) World Cup fever

There’s nothing quite like a summer tournament. While we all love the league season, there’s no denying the special joy that comes from a slew of games being squashed together in a non-stop parade of the world’s best.

If you’ve somehow avoided catching World Cup fever, you’re missing out.

2) The most annoying rule, hands down

The introduction of VAR has coincided with a new, stricter interpretation of what a handball is. We saw, again, during the opening rounds of the World Cup that the easiest route to goal isn’t by passing through the opposition, but by passing at them.

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Things weren’t much better for the offsides either, with Italy in particular falling foul of the new Fifa directive to allow play to go on so offsides can be checked by VAR.

3) French press

The tournament kicked off on Friday with hosts France showing why they are many people’s favourites to lift the trophy.

The way in which they denied South Korea any time on the ball in their 4-0 win was particularly impressive.

4) I know what you did last summer

Last summer was a magical one for England fans, with the country getting caught up in the hype as the men’s team got to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.

So can you blame Phil Neville for trying to recreate some of that magic by taking inspiration from Gareth Southgate’s now iconic wardrobe?

5) Make a song and dance of it

If you’re looking for a team other than Scotland and England to support at the World Cup this summer, may we suggest South Africa?

6) The never-ending story

It’s been 24 years since Brazilian midfielder Formiga made her first World Cup appearance and she is still going strong.

The 41-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 win over Jamaica at the weekend to make her the oldest player in the history of the tournament and the first player to appear at seven World Cup finals.

That’s not the only impressive historical record the Brazilians carry into the tournament either, as they are armed with a mean defence.

7) Put them in rice

Norway showed off their credentials with a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Nigeria, with the African side not showing much in terms of defence.

8) The corner office

It’s truly inspirational to see that Gianni Infantino has managed to become the president of Fifa despite him seemingly never having kicked a ball before - ever.

9) No pain, no Kane

Meanwhile, England’s men fought out a drab 0-0 draw with Switzerland in the 3rd/4th place playoff of the Nations League, eventually winning on penalties.

But the main focus was on Harry Kane, who continues to push his body to the limits in order to play, despite his injury struggles.

10) Own goal of the week

There is nothing we can say to prepare you for this. Oh mate...

11) Between a rock and a hard place

The Welsh men's team’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 were dealt a blow on Saturday night as they were beaten away to Croatia.

But things only got worse from there for the travelling contingent, as the city of Osijek added salt to the wounds.