2018 FIFA World Cup: Day 15 Round-up

Colombia's Yerry Mina celebrates scoring their first goal with Juan Fernando Quintero, Davinson Sanchez, Radamel Falcao and Mateus Uribe. REUTERS/David Gray

After 15 days of footballing highs and lows, great escapes and hat-tricks, we have finally reached the end of the group stage at 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

Completing the section were groups G and H, with the latter still to settle both qualification spots. 

Group G meanwhile saw England meet Belgium to decide who would take the tougher path and who faced a nice run to the last four. 

 

Group H

World Cup - Group H - Senegal vs Colombia
Yerry Mina’s second-half header saw Colombia win Group H. (Reuters)

Senegal and Japan needed a point to qualify whilst Colombia knew that only victory over the African side would definitely send them through. 

A draw and they would of needed Japan to lose to Poland if were to go through as runners-up. 

Once both matches got underway, Senegal had the best chance in a goalless first half of either game, when Sadio Mane was thought to be fouled by Davinson Sanchez and Referee, Milorad Mazic initially gave a penalty. 

Mazic however changed his mind after consulting VAR and decided that it was a perfectly timed tackle.

Despite that missed opportunity, Senegal and Japan entered the break as they started the day with Colombia set for the exit door. 

Things soon changed when Jan Bednarek volleyed home a free kick from close range to put Poland in front on the hour, leaving Japan facing World Cup heartbreak. 

Colombia however refused to settle for a draw with Yerry Mina heading home from a corner in 74th minute.

In end, Colombia and Poland won their games 1-0 with the former topping their group. Japan joins Colombia in the last 16 on disciplinary record by picking up just two less yellow cards than Senegal who crash out alongside Poland.  

 

Group G

World Cup - Group G - England vs Belgium
Belgium’s Adnan Januzaj condemns his Red Devils to the tough knockout section with a 1-0 win over England to put them top of Group G. (Reuters)

England and Belgium were already through so their meeting settled which paths they would end up taking in the knockouts.

In a fairly dull game which both didn’t want to win, England started the brightest with Jamie Vardy having an attempted pass through the box to Marcus Rashford cleared by Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois after just two minutes. 

Belgium soon found their gear with Youri Tielemans unleashing a long range heading towards top of net from just outside the box, only for Jordan Pickford to punch it away.

Both teams then had chances throughout first half before Belgium took the lead after half-time from an Adnan Januzaj curler from right corner of box. 

England’s best chance of second half fell to Rashford shortly after the hour mark when he was one-on-one with Courtois who just got a touch to the youngster’s chip to deflect it wide. 

In end, the Red Devils held out for a 1-0 win via Januzaj’s goal and top the group so will face a tough path to the final featuring; Brazil, France and Portugal amongst some of the most dangerous teams in their half. 

England meanwhile meet Colombia on Tuesday in the last 16 before meeting the winner of Sweden/Switzerland in Quarter-Finals. Should they get to the last four, one of Croatia, Denmark, Russia or Spain awaits them. 

Tunisia meanwhile came from behind to deny Panama their first World Cup win and finish third in the group with a 2-1 win.

A Jose Luis Rodriguez shot in 33rd minute bounced off Tunisia’s Yassine Meriah into goal, giving Panama a half-time lead. 

Tunisia soon hit back six minutes into second half when a Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tapped home Wahbi Khazri’s pass at back post. 

Their victory was completed when Khazri then turned scorer after tapping home Oussama Haddadi’s cross in 66th minute.  

 

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