Half of the knockout round is filled out with two days to go in the group stage. Argentina were facing elimination, but got the job done against Poland to not only advance, but win their group. CONCACAF tournament mainstays Mexico failed to get out of the same group despite a chaotic final match. France found themselves losing to Tunisia 1-0 but they were already in the knockouts and won their group. The surprise came from Australia, who finished on the same points as France thanks to a victory over Denmark, who go home with just a single point for their trouble.
Groups E and F still have plenty to figure out today. The only country that cannot make the knockouts in the slate today is Canada, but they can sure as hell play spoiler before their tournament ends. Before diving into today’s matches, let’s recap where we’re at.
Runner-Up: United States of America
Group F Matches:
Time: 3:00 PM UK, 10:00 AM ET
Croatia vs. Belgium / Canada vs. Morocco
The drama coming out of this group is reports of a rift in Belgium’s dressing room, complete with Thibault Courtois threatening to end someone’s international career if they are found to be the leak. It’s spicy, and while Belgium sit in third place in Group F, a win over Ivan Perisic and Croatia gets them into the knockout round. The Croatians lead the group, but their spot in the knockouts is not guaranteed. A loss to Belgium and Morocco getting any kind of result against Canada will send the 2018 runners-up home.
Group E Matches:
Time: 7:00 PM UK, 2:00 AM ET
The possibilities in this group are fantastic. 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4, and everyone can still make the knockouts. Spain and Japan have the simple formula: Win and you win the group. A draw and Spain advances while Japan need help. Costa Rica, despite the 7-0 shellacking they suffered at the hands of the group leaders, can get in with a draw over Germany. Is it likely? Honestly, who knows at this point? This tournament has been pants-on-head crazy at times and Germany haven’t exactly looked amazing. We should get another exciting second set of matches to end the day on.