The 20 official World Cup player portraits we have some questions about

736 players and 32 coaches (actually make that 31, for the moment at least) will be carrying their nations’ World Cup hopes and dreams around Russia for the next few weeks. FIFA, in their comprehensive wisdom, have decided to make each and every one of them endure an intimate photo session ahead of the big kick-off in Moscow on Thursday.

Naturally, with only a few props to help them — the official match ball, mainly — it turns out there are only so many poses a footballer can do in this situation. The camera captured lots of pointing, a few clenched fists, the odd thumb directed towards the name on the back of their shirt (quite helpful in some more obscure cases) and plenty of attitude.

From this mammoth photoshoot, though, which players and managers left the most memorable impression?

Gary Cahill (England)

Gary Cahill

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: England’s defensive rock, willing to head away a double-decker bus if he absolutely had to

What he achieved: Sub-David Blaine «street football magician», finishing a creditable third in Britain’s Got Talent 2019

Simon Kjaer (Denmark)

Simon Kjaer

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Unclear, but appears to be some sort of half-hearted gesture of strength and defiance

What he achieved: The look of a man who has been linked with a move to various perennially seventh-place-chasing Premier League clubs for much of the last decade

Yann Sommer & Yvon Mvogo (Switzerland)

What they intended: «We’re goalkeepers! We’re different!»

What they achieved: «We’re the Pet Shop Boys»

Danilo (Brazil)

Danilo 

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Some sort of pose popular with the kids these days

What he achieved: «I have left the gas on in my Madrid penthouse and the maid’s on holiday for a month»

Raul Jimenez (Mexico)

Raul Jimenez

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Terrifying, but patriotic, deployment of a lucha libre mask

What he achieved: Christmas-themed Spiderman

Mats Hummels (Germany)

Mats Hummels

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Relaxed, social-media savvy paradigm of New German Football

What he achieved: Gameplan-wielding Love Island anti-hero

Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia)

Marcelo Brozovic

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Pondering the fortunes of Croatia’s latest crop of players, and whether they can truly live up to the Suker, Prosinecki and the Class of ’98

What he achieved: A tattoo of a confused satsuma.

Aron Gunnarsson (Iceland)

Aron Gunnarsson

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Ferocious Icelandic passion

What he achieved: Literally being unable to fight his way out of a paper bag

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Wild-eyed perfectionist who (often quite rightly) assumes he is better than everyone around him and insists on doing everything himself if he has to

What he achieved: Wild-eyed perfectionist who (often quite rightly) assumes he is better than everyone around him and insists on doing everything himself if he has to

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard and Mehdi Taremi (Iran)

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard and Mehdi Taremi 

Credit:
FIFA

What they intended: Togetherness, to the very end — even if that’s just the group stages.

What they achieved: «Victorious_players.jpg» generic stock image 

Christian Eriksen (Denmark)

Christian Eriksen

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Genuine indifference to all this nonsense, because he just wants to get on with his football

What he achieved: Made the huge mistake of answering his front door on a weekday afternoon, when the only people ringing the doorbell are salesmen from companies who want you to sign up for ready-to-cook meal kits.

Eric Dier & Dele Alli (England)

Eric Dier & Dele Alli

Credit:
FIFA

What they intended: Club-and-country partners-in-crime levity

What they achieved: Encapsulating the most personable, level-headed, quietly self-confident, paranoia-free, unburdened England squad in living memory

Hernan Dario Gomez (Panama)

Hernan Dario Gomez

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Just really happy to be at Panama’s first ever World Cup, really

What he achieved: Former three-weight world boxing champion, now ESPN Deportes commentator

Julen Lopetegui (Spain)

Julen Lopetegui

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Relaxed, and ready to take Spain’s almost ludicrously gifted squad to World Cup glory

What he achieved: Approximately 24 hours away from being sacked before the tournament actually starts

Anibal Godoy (Panama)

Anibal Godoy

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Unclear

What he achieved: Forgot to put his handbrake on, and it’s a gentle incline. He could make it to the car in time, but…

Hector Cuper (Egypt)

Hector Cuper

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Been-there-got-the-T-shirt manager from the 1990s

What he achieved: «I’ve issued a statement and I won’t be commenting any further»

Adil Rami (France)

Adil Rami

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Cheeky reminder of his formidable stature

What he achieved: «Victorian-era strongman» character from a car insurance advert 

Ruben Dias (Portugal)

Ruben Dias

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Young, up-and-coming defender looking to soak up the World Cup experience for the future

What he achieved: Six-month loan spell at Wolves, guaranteed

John Obi Mikel (Nigeria)

John Obi Mikel

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Playful table-football session ahead of an important tournament for Nigeria

What he achieved: Who cares, just look at the glorious kit

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Lionel Messi

Credit:
FIFA

What he intended: Trademark Messi look of 30% confusion, 50% irritation and 20% imperiousness

What he achieved: Netflix comedy series

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-cup/2018/06/14/20-official-world-cup-player-portraits-have-questions/

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