The lucky 13th and final day of the group stage has the unenviable task of trying to live up to the chaos we’ve had in the last few days. While the groups aren’t as tightly packed today as the last couple of days, there are still two spots to claim out of four. Brazil and Portugal have already locked up berths in the knockouts and it’s just a matter of whether they win their groups or not. Before jumping into today’s matches, here’s where we stand:
Runner-Up: United States of America
Group H Matches:
Time: 3:00 PM UK, 10:00 AM ET
South Korea vs. Portugal / Ghana vs. Uruguay
Sonny and Lolo have some work to do today. Sadly, at least one of them will be going home after today’s matches...and it’s possible both do not make the knockouts. Both sides have to win their matches today and hope they have the tiebreaker. Currently the Koreans have a one goal advantage in differential. Ghana can’t take the risk of playing for a draw either as they have a one goal buffer as well. Portugal have looked pretty strong this tournament but we know Sonny’s side can pop off at any moment. It should make for a fun round.
Group G Matches:
Time: 7:00 PM UK, 2:00 PM ET
Serbia vs. Switzerland / Cameroon vs. Brazil
Richy’s side is sitting pretty and already in the knockout rounds while Switzerland, Cameroon and Serbia, are all fighting for that last spot. The Serbia vs. Switzerland match has a lot of layers to it.
When Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri scored in the 2-1 victory back in 2018, they both celebrated their goals by putting their hands together to make a two-headed eagle sign — the thumbs represent the heads of the two eagles, while the fingers look like the feathers — a reference to the flag of Albania. It was a controversial act and polarised opinion. FIFA fined the pair 10,000 Swiss Francs each (around $10,000) for political provocation, alongside a fine of 54,000 Swiss Francs (roughly $57,000) to Serbia’s federation for discriminatory banners and chants.
Needless to say, tensions could boil over again four years later in Qatar.
Brazil will simply try to lock down their group against Cameroon, who haven’t played badly, but find themselves on just a single point after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Serbia. Winning the group means getting the second place team from the first set of matches. If Brazil somehow were to finish second, it could possibly set up a round of 16 matchup with Portugal. It would certainly feel early for that, but would be a heck of a way to end the first knockout round.