Oh what a day it has been in Russia!!!

Belgium, Mexico and Sweden all knew victory would see them pretty much qualify for the last 16, whilst reigning champions – Germany meanwhile needed at least a point otherwise they would be going home. 

By day’s end, we saw 13 goals but there is just one obvious place to start and that is with Group F.

 

Germany keep dream alive whilst Mexico close to qualifying for Last 16

World Cup - Group F - Germany vs Sweden

Toni Kroos’ free kick winner keeps Germany’s title defence alive. (Reuters)

Germany were the big winners of Group F tonight as they kept their World Cup title defence alive whilst Mexico almost secured qualification to the knockout stages, with both sides winning 2-1.

Germany started their game with Sweden brilliantly, attacking from the off with a few good chances coming to pass. 

Controversy however arrived in 13th minute when Manuel Neuer fouled an incoming Marcus Berg after Jerome Boateng tugged the Swede’s top. Referee, Szymon Marciniak gave no penalty nor consulted VAR. 

Sweden then went ahead on 32nd minute after Ola Toivonen lobbed a cross from Viktor Claesson over Neuer to give the Swedes a half-time lead at the break and leave Germany staring down the exit barrel.

Die Mannschaft however came out after the break stronger and quickly got their reward three minutes in, when Marco Reus kneed in a cross from Timo Werner.

Both sides then had numerous chances to score before a seemingly game changing moment came in 81st minute.  

Boateng fouled Berg and saw red after a second yellow card, having already picked up a yellow for fouling Emil Forsberg ten minutes earlier. 

In end, Germany won the game after Toni Kroos bent in a free kick from the edge of box down left flank. 

Mexico meanwhile secured qualification after a Carlos Vela 26th minute penalty following Jang Hyun-soo’s handball, and a 66th minute winner from Javier Hernandez, who netted his 50th international goal. 

Son Heung-min then clawed a goal back for South Korea in stoppage time with a curler into top left corner but it wasn’t enough as Mexico held out for the win. 

The results mean that Mexico virtually have one foot in the knockouts unless Germany and Sweden both won, to put all three sides level on six points.

If that happens, goal difference will therefore be key with Mexico meeting Sweden in their final group game whilst Germany face South Korea. 

 

Belgium Qualify after Thriller

World Cup - Group G - Belgium vs Tunisia

Eden Hazard shone for Belgium in their 5-2 win over Tunisia. (Reuters)

In the day’s opening game, Belgium edged out Tunisia 5-2 with braces from Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. 

No sooner had the match started that we saw drama as Fakhreddine Ben Youssef fouled Hazard in box in fifth minute and penalty given.

Up stepped the Chelsea star to slot the spot kick into the bottom left whilst Farouk Ben Mustapha couldn’t do anything. 

Ten minutes later, Dries Mertens fed ball to Lukaku who lashed his delivery into bottom right. 

Tunisia then struck back in 18th minute when a free kick from Wahbi Khazri was headed in by Dylan Bronn. 

Both sides then had chances to score till deep in first half injury time, when Thomas Meunier played a pass to Lukaku and the Manchester United star chipped it over Ben Mustapha to give Belgium a 3-1 lead at the break.

Belgium dominated after break with Hazard swerving Ben Mustapha to slot home their fourth, before sub, Michy Batshuayi slotted home a cross from Youri Tieleman for their fifth goal of the match.

Tunisia then pulled one back in stoppage time when Khazri turned home Hamdi Nahhuez’s cross from the left flank. 

The result means that should England get at least a draw against Panama, Belgium will be through and next face England in their final group game on Thursday. 

 

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