Qatar World Cup: Germany face crunch match in opposition to Spain; Belgium and Croatia additionally in motion

Sunday sees a conflict of two World Cup titans when Spain tackle Germany, in a match that might ship the Germans residence from the match early ought to they endure one other defeat. 

Two different European groups are additionally in motion: Belgium tackle Morocco, earlier than Croatia play Canada.

Costa Rica v Japan (11:00 CET)

  • Victory over Costa Rica would assure Japan a spot within the final 16. However head coach Hajime Moriyasu has warned his aspect to neglect their historic 2-1 comeback win over 2014 winners Germany of their opening match.
  • Japan struck twice in eight minutes late within the second half to stun Germany and increase their probabilities of advancing from Group E.
  • That is Japan’s seventh straight look at a world cup finals. They’ve reached the final 16 on three events, together with in Russia in 2018 after they misplaced 3-2 in stoppage time to Belgium after main 2-0.
  • Costa Rica are reeling from a 7-0 thrashing in opposition to Spain, the 2010 world champions, of their opener. 
  • With a inhabitants of simply over 5 million, the tiny Central American nation are showing of their sixth World Cup. They reached the quarterfinals in 2014 in Brazil.

Belgium v Morocco (14:00 CET)

  • Belgium secured an underwhelming 1-0 draw in opposition to Canada of their first group recreation, courtesy of a scientific end from Michy Batshuayi. Head coach Roberto Martinez will count on an unlimited enchancment from his gamers.
  • The match can have added spice as plenty of gamers within the Morocco squad had been both born in Belgium or play their membership soccer there.
  • Morocco held Croatia to a goalless draw of their Group F opener. However the workforce are nonetheless attending to know each other, and coach Walid Regragui was employed on the finish of August and had coached solely three pleasant video games earlier than arriving for the match.
  • If Belgium beat Morocco, they are going to change into the primary workforce in World Cup historical past to win 9 consecutive group video games.
  • Belgium are unbeaten in all 4 of their World Cup conferences with African groups.

Croatia v Canada (17:00 CET)

  • The match has been given additional spice due to feedback by Canada’s coach John Herdman to his squad. “I advised them… we’re going to go and ‘F’ Croatia,” he mentioned. 
  • “This fashion of placing phrases collectively just isn’t an indication of respect,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić mentioned on Saturday via a translator, who repeated the phrase “respect” 13 instances in English.
  • Croatia misplaced the 2018 ultimate to France and the world’s Twelfth-ranked workforce opened the World Cup with a 0-0 draw in opposition to Morocco. 
  • Canada have performed solely 4 World Cup video games of their historical past and are nonetheless trying to find their first objective after the 1-0 defeat in opposition to Belgium.

Germany v Spain (20:00 CET)

  • When the World Cup draw got here out in April, one of many highlights of the group stage was Sunday’s match between the 2010 and 2014 champions at Al Bayt Stadium.
  • Germany’s stunning loss to Japan in its opener in Qatar means the Germans might be heading for an early exit for the second straight World Cup, ought to they lose once more.
  • After successful their fourth World Cup title in 2014 in Brazil, Germany didn’t make it out of the group stage in 2018 after losses to South Korea and Mexico.
  • Germany’s most up-to-date match in opposition to Spain was an embarrassing 6-0 defeat within the Nations League two years in the past.
  • Spain, in the meantime, need to qualify for the subsequent stage and reinforce their standing as one of many high title contenders following a formidable 7-0 rout of Costa Rica of their opener.
  • The match noticed the workforce reintroduce “tiki-taka” ball-possession fashion, with 18-year-old Gavi turning into the youngest World Cup scorer since Pelé in 1958.

What occurred on the World Cup on Saturday?

France turned the primary workforce to qualify for the final 16 of the match following their 2-1 win over Denmark, thanks to 2 targets by Kylian Mbappe.

Argentina survived a make-or-break check following their shock opening defeat in opposition to Saudi Arabia, second half targets from Leo Messi and Enzo Fernandez securing a 2-0 victory in opposition to Mexico.

Robert Lewandowski scored his first World Cup objective in a 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia that places Poland on high of Group C.

Australia are again inside a shouting likelihood of qualification from Group D, after Mitchell Duke’s header gave the Socceroos a 1-0 victory over Tunisia.

What are the important thing World Cup speaking factors thus far?

Some excessive profile groups have been humbled: Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 1-2, whereas Japan beat Germany 1-2.

Data have fallen: Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo made historical past as the primary male participant to attain at 5 World Cups. 

Pre-match drama: German gamers held their arms over their mouths in a silent protest earlier than kick-off of their first recreation, whereas Iranian gamers refused to sing their nationwide anthem within the first recreation — however had been again to singing within the second recreation after a widely known participant who did not make the squad was arrested in Tehran, sending a transparent sign to the gamers in Doha.

Off-pitch controversy: European nations have lodged complaints in opposition to FIFA’s ban on workforce captains sporting anti-discrimination “One Love” armbands on the video games. The top of the English Soccer Affiliation has alleged that FIFA threatened “limitless” sanctions in opposition to any participant sporting the armband.

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