NZME's award winning* football blog Goalmouth Scramble is back. Our rotating stable of football writers will offer daily hot takes on all the action from the World Cup in Russia. Today, Chris Rattue deals with all the big questions at the Cup.

Will the tournament feature any stunning comebacks?

Absolutely. Most of us thought Robbie Williams' glittering pop career was well and truly over.

Put it this way: even the under-pressure Russian secret service has had more recent hits in England than Williams.


Defying all predictions, Robbie received the big call up to sing at the opening ceremony on Friday morning. Presumably Russia's renowned band Pussy Riot didn't quite fit the bill.

Enter Williams, whose career hit a peak with the brilliant 1997 song Angels, although he has other classics to his name including the lovely Angels, and who could forget the haunting Angels.

Some see Williams as a bit of a coup for Russia, although it might be said that his appearance makes the old Soviet powerhouse look as though it is still out of date.

Will Russian hackers break into the new goal line technology?
Sources say that Russia will keep its shadowy dark forces on a short leash during the tournament, but some of their rising hackers might fiddle a bit with the new football technology to keep their hand in.

Will Uruguay's serial chomper Luis Suarez win the tournament's most controversial player award again?

The writing is on the wall for Suarez - there are too many younger, hungrier players around. Not that Suarez even wants this "most controversial" tag. After dining out on Italian Chiellini (that's not a pasta dish) in Brazil, Suarez revealed in his book: "I know biting appals a lot of people, but it's relatively harmless." A lot of us found that very hard to digest.

Does FIFA employ citing commissioners?
Does rugby employ citing commissioners?

Where will the Kremlin bosses watch the World Cup from?
There is no comment from Steve Tew on this yet.

Who is the best diver at this tournament?

An extremely rare photo of French defender Samuel Umtiti in the upright position. Photo / Getty Images
An extremely rare photo of French defender Samuel Umtiti in the upright position. Photo / Getty Images

Always hotly contested although there is no official prize. I'm plumping for French defender Samuel Umtiti, who regularly flings himself to the ground so violently that it can only be properly measured using the Richter scale.

Does the host nation have a chance?
Russian boss Vladimir Putin has urged his assistant manager Cherchsovto to employ the 4-3-9-8 formation, assuring the squad he will take care of FIFA's technical concerns regarding this. It could work.

Will exiled Russian spooks continue to (not) be threatened by the Russian secret service during the tournament?
The word is that Russia does not want to tarnish this World Cup's image so people who were not going to be poisoned by them anyway will be freer than ever to walk the streets of Salisbury etc. For one heartwarming month, English park benches will again symbolise idyllic contentment.

Which country has the best strip?

A very personal business. I've always had a soft spot for Croatia on this score. Now they've made those famous red and white squares even bigger. At this rate, it's going to look like a morse code flag one day. But the World Cup wouldn't be the same without Croatia's iconic shirt.

If the Croatian shirt does have a weakness, it is as leisure wear. Peru's famous sash comes a close second, and probably goes a little better with most comfy slacks.

Which is the worst strip?

Hard to find an absolute shocker, which is very disappointing. The world's footy shirt designers are on song this time, relying on the understated when in doubt. Not like 1994.

Germany and Spain play out an unfasionable draw in 1994. Photo / Getty Images
Germany and Spain play out an unfasionable draw in 1994. Photo / Getty Images

Are wall charts still a significant part of the World Cup?

Absolutely, even though very few of them end up on a wall. They are a reminder, of childhood days. Here's a question. How many people fill in the score from the final? A lot of fans have a mental block in this regard, preferring to leave it blank as a nod to the eternal mysteries of the beautiful game.

Will Portugal's Ronaldo win the Golden Boot or Golden Ball?
In his mind, he fully deserves both.

Who has got the hardest shot?
I'd like to see an official award for this. Lots of players would start having a crack from anywhere - it could make for a lot of fun. My money would be on Paul Pogba, the French midfielder, although he's got a bit of a reputation for hitting posts and crossbars rather than the net.

So near, but yet so far. As we approach the all important opening ceremony, many fear that a similar disaster could befall Robbie Williams.

Yes another World Cup full of high drama, intrigue, triumph and fallen angels.

*Goalmouth Scramble's 'award' was more of an inter-company acknowledgement in an email from 2012.