Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

World Cup's second tier can dream big for knockout stages

World Cup's second tier can dream big for knockout stages

Russia had pledged to host a safe and secure World Cup in 11 cities which would be inclusive and diverse, but racist incidents at matches between Russian Premier League clubs and at an worldwide friendly earlier this year fuelled concerns that players and fans could be subjected to abuse. Uruguay brought them crashing back down to earth with a 3-0 win in the final game to top the group, though.

Wednesday's shock 2-0 defeat to South Korea saw Germany finish bottom of Group F on three points.

Despite a day off on Friday, the day between the end of the group stage matches and the beginning of the high-tension knockouts, the excitement didn't die down.

Son and his teammates returned home on Friday, after their stunning victory over the defending champions was enough to get them out of Group F. South Korea finished third behind Sweden and Mexico with three points, from one win and two losses.

But with Harry Kane on the field, who has scored five goals at this tournament in two games, England always has a chance. "I think these games are going to be different and we will recover our best form".

"We really had the feeling that our team wanted to move ahead and qualify for the knockout stages".

Top stat: The 307 passes successfully completed by Spain captain Sergio Ramos is more than any other player at the World Cup.

They must beat Messi and Argentina to go further in the competition and that's a game which is nearly impossible to call. That means there will be a new champion, so our CBS Sports prognosticators have locked in their predictions, and their brackets are presented below along with round of 16 picks and World Cup final picks.

Japan squeaked into the knockout rounds in the strangest of circumstances, Senegal missing out on the last 16 due to their inferior fair play record. Joachim Low's team had opened its tournament by getting played off the park by Mexico and just barely managed a win in its next game against Sweden.

The German tactician is being criticised for failing to take Manchester City's in-form winger Leroy Sane to the World Cup.

Croatia now faces a fellow European opponent with a singular star in Christian Eriksen, and should Croatia mark him out of the game, it's tough to see Nicolai Jorgensen and Yussuf Poulsen creating chances for themselves.

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Germany were defeated by South Korea in their last group game.

Top stat: Sweden's game against South Korea saw the most fouls (43) of any game at Russian Federation 2018 so far. "If I score a goal I'd be very happy, but I'd be happier if we stay in the tournament".

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