England Lose Final Group Game To Set Up Last 16 Tie With Colombia
Last night saw the curtain come down on the group stages of this year’s World Cup as England took on Belgium in what was a top of the table clash. Having already secured progress through to the round of 16 with victories over Tunisia and Panama, the team only needed a point to finish top.
However, with many people suggesting that a second placed finish would provide a favourable draw, it was difficult to know what to expect. England made eight changes, to the side that beat Panama 6-1, leaving out the likes of Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker, and giving opportunities to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier and Jamie Vardy.
Belgium also made a plethora of changes and the match had the distinct feel of one that no one really wanted to win. However, a stunning Adnan Januzaj goal early in the second half saw Belgium clinch the match 1-0. This means England will come up against Colombia in the last 16 on Tuesday.
Despite the defeat there is plenty to be positive about, as England haven’t played in the last 16 of the World Cup for eight years.
Now the group stages are over, the competition really hots up and here at Champions Football Speakers we have provided a review of all the ins and outs of the World Cup so far…
Progressed: Uruguay & Russia
Eliminated: Saudi Arabia & Egypt
High point: The hosts Russia putting on an excellent show in their opening game 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
Low point: The expectations of Egypt rested on Mo Salah’s shoulders this year. Unfortunately, it was his shoulder injury which caused him to miss the opening game, and when he did play he was certainly not fully fit. Such a shame for the 2017/18 Premier League player of the year.
Progressed: Spain & Portugal
Eliminated: Iran & Morocco
High point: Ronaldo’s remarkable hatrick which included a last-minute freekick in the thrilling 3-3 against Spain.
Low point: Iran only trying to play football when they looked to be heading out. Their play acting, and negative tactics left a bitter taste.
Progressed: France & Denmark
Eliminated: Peru & Australia
High Point: Peru securing their first win at a World Cup for 40 years.
Low Point: It has to be the drab 0-0 between France and Denmark on the final day. The only goalless draw in the competition so far.
Progressed: Croatia & Argentina
Eliminated: Nigeria & Iceland
High Point: The way Luka Modric glides around the pitch dictating play is the stuff of beauty. He and Croatia are certainly dark horses.
Low Point: As ever, the burden of carrying Argentina seems to be weighing heavily on the usually sublime Lionel Messi. Hopefully his goal against Nigeria can get his tournament going.
Progressed: Brazil & Switzerland
Eliminated: Serbia & Costa Rica
High Point: Phillipe Coutinho’s strike in the 1-1 draw with Switzerland is arguably goal of the tournament so far.
Low Point: Is it really necessary for Neymar to roll so much when fouled?!
Progressed: Sweden & Mexico
Eliminated: South Korea & Germany (yes really!)
High Point: Despite being already eliminated, South Korea’s celebrations following their 2-0 win against holders Germany was great to watch. This was also the final nail in the coffin that said auf wiedersehen to the Germans.
Low Point: Why did Mexico change their style of play for the final match? After an incredible win against Germany was followed by a comprehensive victory over South Korea, El Tri only needed a point against Sweden to secure top spot. However, the way they set up was extremely negative and did not allow for their usual counter attacking style. This resulted in a 3-0 loss, and qualification was only secured by the skin of their teeth. Mexico have made the round of 16 for the last six consecutive tournaments but haven’t progressed further. They may have not cost themselves that longed for quarter-finals place, as they face Brazil in the next round.
Progressed: Belgium & England
Eliminated: Tunisia & Panama
High Point: There was plenty to enjoy from England’s 6-1 demolition of Panama. The Three Lions’ record World Cup victory, it also saw Harry Kane score a hatrick giving him the edge in the race for the golden boot.
Low Point: You always want to root for the underdogs, but at Panama’s maiden World Cup they seemed to put more attention on wrestling the opposition than playing football. This behaviour somewhat tainted people’s perception of the plucky minnows.
Progressed: Colombia & Japan
Eliminated: Senegal & Poland
High Point: The fact that three of the four teams involved in the group were still in with a chance of progressing demonstrates just how competitive Group H was. In the end Colombia and Japan were the lucky ones, making it through to the round of 16.
Low Point: the flip side of three teams being in with a shout right to the end meant one was inevitably going to face World Cup heartbreak. It was Senegal who missed out in the cruellest possible way. The side were level on points with the Japanese but went out on the fair play rule with more bookings than their counterparts.
Here at Champions Football Speakers, we have a whole host of expert football speakers on the game who can give their insights into the World Cup. For more information, call us on 0207 1010 553.