Hard to believe that the group stage of the World Cup is already over for some teams! Teams in Groups A and B have already learned their fate and have either packed their bags and headed home or they are preparing for their next opponents in the knockout phase. In Group A, Uruguay has won all three of their games and impressively, didn’t even concede a goal. They top the group followed by Russia in second place, leaving Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the dust. Egypt will however take home a small piece of history, as their goalkeeper, Essam El Hadary, became the oldest player to ever appear in a World Cup, aged 45.
In Group B, Spain and Portugal are heading for the knockout phase after nervy finishes against Morocco and Iran respectively. Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty and Iran scored a penalty late to make for a tense final couple of minutes and Iran had a clear chance in stoppage time to stun Portugal but the striker couldn’t quite steer his shot on frame. Spain played out a 2-2 draw against Morocco and will be looking forward to getting themselves organized and ready for their knockout game. These results mean that Uruguay will face Portugal and Russia will play Spain in the last 16.
In action on Tuesday will be both Groups C and D. France have already qualified for the knockout round and will face Denmark. Denmark need a win or a draw to guarantee their survival but if Australia fail to beat Peru, then Denmark will qualify for the last 16 regardless of their result against France. Peru has been eliminated after losing both of their first two games. It should be mentioned that they fought valiantly and perhaps deserved something more from their opening games.
In Group D, Croatia will face off against Iceland and Nigeria will take on Argentina. Croatia have guaranteed their place in the knockout stages but if they want to finish on top of the group, they will need at least a draw to make sure that Nigeria don’t overtake them. Lionel Messi and Argentina need a win to have any chance of moving on but they also need Croatia to show no mercy to Iceland. If Iceland and Argentina both win then the winner will be decided on goal difference.
It’s do-or-die time at the biggest sporting event in the world and what a ride it’s been so far! Make sure to see all the drama unfold on Tuesday!