Spain didn’t look particularly well during the group stage, but still managed to make the job done in the end. Their first round game against Portugal was probably the best game at the competition which ended 3:3.
However, like the Spaniards dropped down in form from that moment on – or thought the next matches will be easier. They only recorded narrow victory over Iran, while they were losing twice in the third round game against Morocco.
Africans took the lead in fourteenth minute via Boutaib, while Isco leveled up five minutes later. Spain had much more of the ball possession, but didn’t care to attack much. Morocco took the lead again, in 81st minute thanks to a goal from En Nesyri while the Spaniards upped the tempo only once they found themselves in trouble.
Final at the ATP Antalya and we have 1st seed Mannarino playing against 2nd seed Dzumhur.
Well this should definitely be an interesting match and I’d like it to be like a final and not just someone running away with the match.
Dzumhur is my candidate to win but I think it would be very hard for him, afterall he’s got only a 7/8 record on grass but Dzumhur has been very impressive at this tournament and I don’t see him loosing easily if he eventually losses.
Mannarino has a much better record of 63/40 on grass but at this tournament he hasn’t won easily. Mannarino won 6:4,7:5 against Berankis, 7:6,6:4 against Sousa and he played 3 sets against Monfils yesterday.
How Cecchinato defeated Millman is somewhat surprising but do I see him going past another good opponent on grass?? Definitely not.
Cecchinato with that victory still has a career record of 2/1 on grass, compare that to Lacko’s 49/34 and you’d see there is a lot of difference.
Lacko for me is best candidate to win this tournament and even if he doesn’t I don’t expect him to loose to someone of Cecchinato pedigree on grass.
Colombians were probably the favorites of this group, with Poland right behind them and Japan as the outsiders. Today it seems its between Colombia and Senegal and Poland going home. If something is predictable for this world cup is that anybody can beat anybody. The elimination stage will be entertaining and I believe Senegal will be there. Colombia could go a long way if the play against team that attack them. It seems to me that when they are favourites, they lack of ideas and fluidity. Senegal is a fast team, with some great individuals like Koulibaly and Mane and in a match were they dont need to win I see them being very dangerous. A quick goal from Colombia can ruin all my predictions but as match will go on and if Senegal hold to the draw or even takes the lead I don’t see Colombians getting back.
Germany can count themselves very lucky to be in the position they are in. If it wasn;t for Toni Kroos’s 95th minute free kick they would be in a whole world of pain right now and qualification would be completely out of their hands.
But, Germany did what Germany do, always find a way and what better side to be facing when a victory is needed to qualify than the side who are bottom of the group on nil points, South Korea.
Germany opened their account with an uncharacteristic loss over Mexico and then didn’t fair too much better against Sweden. However, you do get the sense that Germany are starting to click and a big victory here could even win them the group if Sweden beat Mexico.
This group was predicted as one of the toughest and it proved to be that way. Favourites Argentina found themselves in a real mess, while Croatia is practically the winner of the group. In the recent years Iceland proved to be a very tough opponent for Croatia, also with taking the 1st sport in their qualification group. Croatia don’t need a result here and will probably start with a mixed line up, resting Modrić and Rakitić is a very likely so Iceland could have more of the ball and more chance for attacking. A win is a must for Iceland but still it’s no guarantee for qualifying in to the next round. If Nigeria wins, everything is over, while if Nigeria draws or Argentina wins, goal difference will be decisive in case of Iceland wins. So for a Iceland goals count and I believe they can score at least once but even if they don’t they will have plenty of shots trying to find the net. Over 2.5 shots on target for Iceland is a good option.
Russia have been playing some outstanding football coming into this encounter which has largely been free flowing and attacking which has helped them progress to this stage of the tournament. They have thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 following by beating Egypt by a 3-1 scoreline. Although they weren’t the best of opponents, and the form in front of goal will give them large confidence as they take on an Uruguay side who are struggling to finish the ball in the final third. The likes of Cheryshev, Golovin, Samedov, Dzyuba have been outstanding in the final third of the pitch with each one contributing to the other’s performances. Defensively, Russia haven’t been really tested but there were a few moments where Egypt looked threatening but didn’t have their shooting boots on that night. Russia will want to top this group with every chance that Portugal might come 2nd, which will give them a better chance to win against a more passive time, so I expect the Russians to go for goal early on.
England will look to push on from their 2-1 victory over Tunisia and secure qualification to the last 16 as they face one of the lesser sides in the competition in Panama.
England looked good against Tunisia and to be fair didn’t get the rub of the green. They had a dubious penalty awarded against them and were denied a couple of shouts themselves but they still prevailed 2-1 after a last minute Captain Kane goal.
England could have filled their boots in the first half creating numerous chances. It’s just a shame they fell to Raheem Stirling. Hopefully he won’t play as he just cannot score for England.
No doubt Mexico made maybe the biggest surprise till the start of the tournament in Russia with the win 1:0 over the reigning WC champions of Germany. Their win could be even bigger, but missed to score from brilliant counter-attacks. So, their place in the next stage looks really close, but it goes through a required win over Korea, the weakest team in the group for sure.
Mexico form before the WC was not the best one. They mixed wins with draws and defeats and a lot of Mexican fans don’t expect something big in the WC, even not to go out of the group, because all of the changes in the starting line-ups Juan Carlos Osorio made during the friendlies. Well, after such a start of the World cup, Mexican fans should be delighted.
On the other side is South Korean performance. I knew they will be one of the weakest teams in Russia, together with Panama and after the first match they proved it.
Well this game has everything for Brazil’s redemption, if playing Switzerland would be a very complicated game for Brazil, Costa Rica is the weakest team on the group, they don’t have a lot of quality and the Brazilians will have their pride to work for, because of all the criticism they received after their initial draw in the first game of the WC.
Neymar is available and fit to play, and this Brazilian team is filled with talent, their pace, and their need not only to win the game but also to prove a point will make this game an attractive one.
Sure Costa Rica will defend low and try to hold the 0-0 as much as they can, but brazil also have players like coutinho that can resolve things with long shots – Brazil have an experienced defence and a very fast and creative midfield, I believe tomorrow their quality will show in the WC and they will get out of this game with a comfortable lead.