The second round will end today with England looking to secure the qualification against Panama. Japan and Senegal will square off in the afternoon, trying to maintain the momentum they obtained after the surprise wins in their respective debuts. The main event will be Poland versus Colombia, where both teams need a win to bounce back to stay alive.
Let’s recap the already sealed verdicts ahead of the third and final match. Four squads have gained access to the elimination stage: Russia and Uruguay in the group A, France and Croatia in C and D one. England will join them with a win today, Belgium will do the same if Panama does not pick up three points. Seven are already eliminated: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Peru, Costa Rica, South Korea, Tunisia.
On Monday, Uruguay and Russia will fight for the first spot and it will be clash of styles, since the Charruas have been pretty conservative and cynical so far, while the Red Army has been playing proactive football. Later, Iran will seek to spoil Portugal’s plans and advance with a win: it would be an incredible feat against the red-hot Cristiano Rolando of these days. Spain can still crash out in case they lose and the enemies tie, but that seems unlikely with Morocco already gone fishing.
On Tuesday, France is called to defend his first position against Denmark, which need a point to mathematically fend off Australia. Argentina’s faith will be on the line starting later that night: while they are last as of now, they still have a puncher’s chance. First of all, The Seleccion need to outface Nigeria, which is not a given considering how they have been playing and what transpired in the Super Eagles’ last game. In case they grab the victory, they will go through if Iceland does not beat Croatia. If they are both successful, the goal difference will be the tie-breaker: it now favours Gylfi Sigurdsson and teammates by one score.
The situation is even more intricate in the F group. Kroos’ late screamer injected life into Germany’s hopes: they would qualify if they defeat South Korea and Sweden does not do the same against Mexico. If the Blagult do win as well, then the goal difference will determine who will go through. If everybody ties, then it will be a big mess. Working against the Scandinavians is the fact that El Tricolor is not 100% safe yet.
Brazil are not sure either and Serbia can straight up qualify if they topple La Seleçao, which will be without Douglas Costa due to a muscular injury. Switzerland will face Costa Rica, so they are in the driver’s seat. One of the most interesting match-ups of the first stage will go down on Thursday night: Belgium against England, but it will likely be a simple battle for positioning. On that day, the group H will finish off its schedule with Japan-Poland and Senegal-Colombia, but their implications hinge on today’s results.
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