With the knockout round halfway set, Groups E and F played to determine four of the final eight spots. In Group E Serbia need a win against Brazil to advance, while Brazil knew that a loss could doom them. If Switzerland were able to beat already eliminated Costa Rica, they’d be through, and could knockout Brazil should the South American side lose. In Group F, Germany needed a win to over an eliminated South Korean side to advance, While Sweden and Mexico duked it out to procure their spot in the knockout rounds! Our World Cup Review takes a look back at the ending of Groups E and F.
Brazil and Switzerland held the top two spots in Group E heading into the final matchday. Serbia were the proverbial odd man out needed a win and Switzerland to lose/draw to advance! Costa Rica looked to play spoiler against Switzerland as they were eliminated after their second match!
Switzerland: 2 Costa Rica: 2
In a very entertaining match, Switzerland needed a win to ensure their advancement to the knockout rounds. A draw or a loss against eliminated Costa Rica would leave an opportunity for Serbia to make it to the knock out rounds. Costa Rica did their best to spoil the party for Switzerland.
Early on, Costa Rica took it to Switzerland, creating many chances. Then Switzerland found their chance. A cross was sent into the box and knocked down, Blerim Džemaili came in and hit a screamer into the net. The Swiss took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
In a second half full of fireworks saw Costa Rica score early on. A corner was sent into the box, and Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston headed the chance home. As the half went on Switzerland searched for a winner, in the 88th minute they seemed to find one! A ball was played across the box, and Josip Drmić coolly slotted home the chance. Just as it looked like the Swiss were going to be the winners, Costa Rica found a way to equalize in stoppage time. A penalty was won, Bryan Ruiz stepped up and smashed a shot. It hit the crossbar and ricocheted out. The ball hit off the back of Swiss keeper Yann Sommer’s head and went into his own net. Costa Rica found an equalizer!
The game ended 2-2! Switzerland knew they were only through if Serbia lost to Brazil!
Serbia: 0 Brazil: 2
In a match where Serbia needed to win to stay alive, they had a hard time pushing the game in their favor. Brazil did well to keep possession and move forward while on the ball! The South American side had many instances of great buildup play, but lacked the finishing touch. That all changed in the 35th minute!
Coutinho found himself on the ball for Brazil just past the center circle. He had time and space to start a dangerous attack. Paulinho saw a hole between the two Serbian center backs, and mad a darting run to the space. Coutinho saw the run and lofted a ball to Paulinho. The ball bounced right outside the box towards the striding Paulinho. He had an onrushing keeper coming at him full speed. Paulinho had enough time to get a touch onto the ball. He toe poked the ball up in the air over the keeper. His chip bounced over the goal line to give Brazil the lead going into halftime.
As the second half came Brazil turned it up a notch. Serbia had seldom chances, and Brazil made them pay. In the 68th minute, Neymar sent in a corner, and Thiago Silva rose above everyone to head in the game clinching goal! Serbia knew they were beaten after that goal, they tried to get some kind of attack going but they were too far gone! Brazil won this match 2-0
The win for Brazil elevated them to first in the group, while it also confirmed Switzerland finished second!
As Group E comes to a close, it’s Brazil and Switzerland who end up as the top two sides. Brazil’s win mean’s they will take on the runners-up in Group F in the Round of 16. Switzerland will play the Group E winners in the Round of 16. Serbia miss out on the group stage as they failed to get the win over Brazil. Costa Rica followed up some unlucky performances with a solid draw against Switzerland!
Brazil and Switzerland are on to the knockout rounds!
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 27, 2018
Group F was full of drama and intrigue in their final matchday. Mexico were in a good place where a draw or win would qualify them for the knockout rounds. Sweden knew that if they got a win they’d be through. Germany had to win, and hope for a huge Mexico or Sweden win to keep their repeat chances going.
Mexico: 0 Sweden: 3
One of the biggest surprise of the tournament has been Mexico. They took on a sneakily great Sweden side to finish the group stage. Should there be a winner in this match, they’d win the group. A back-and-forth first half saw many chances for both nations, but no matter how hard they tried neither could find a goal!
As the second half started, it was clear that Sweden were confident they were going to win, while Mexico looked like they hadn’t come back onto the field! Five minutes into the half Sweden bossed Mexico. They played great passes down the field, and got their full backs forward to outnumber Mexico. Left back Ludwig Augustinsson found himself all by himself when a ball bounced to him in the box. He smashed the ball past Mexico to give Sweden the lead! 12 minutes later Sweden broke forward again. The counter led Mexico to foul in their own box. Andreas Granqvist stepped up to take the penalty and fired it home! A 2-0 lead early in the second half. Mexico tried to rally nearly missing a few time, then the worst possible event happened.
Sweden played a ball into the box, while Mexican defender Edson Álvarez tried to deal with it, but ended up deflecting it into his own net, giving Sweden the 3-0 lead in the 74th minute. Mexico were dead after this, and ended their group stage big losers.
Sweden won the group on the huge 3-0 win. Mexico now rested their advancing hopes on South Korea; if defending champions Germany won their last group stage match, Mexico would be knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.
South Korea: 2 Germany: 0
South Korea were out of the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t up for the chance to beat defending World Champions Germany. As the game started it was clear South Korea was going to defend for their lives and look to beat Germany on the counter attack. Throughout the first half South Korea were able to break, and get fouled. Their set pieces were dangerous, and almost broke the deadlock numerous times. Germany had more of the possession, but never looked dangerous in the final third. They lacked the final pass, or failed to shoot when the moment presented itself! The game went to halftime 0-0.
As the second half started Germany were on the front foot. They created chance after chance, and when word reached them that Mexico were losing to Sweden, they pushed it to another gear. South Korean keeper Cho Hyun-woo stoned all chances in what was a man of the match performance. As the game was in the dying minutes, Germany pushed even more men forward.
Germany’s eagerness for a goal created space for South Korea to counter. As the game moved into stoppage time, South Korea moved the ball down the pitch and won a corner. A ball was played into the box, hit by a German defender back towards his own goal. Kim Young-gwon who was offside for South Korea was able to attack the ball since the ball was played by the German defender. Kim struck the ball, putting over Manuel Neuer giving South Korea the lead! The play was check by VAR but confirmed as a good goal!
Now Germany needed two goals in the rest of stoppage time to advance! In a last-ditch effort German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer joined the attack. South Korea was able to dispossess Germany and boot the ball forward toward the open net. Tottenham’s Son Heung-min rushed onto the ball beating out German defenders to literally knock out Germany. His goal ended Germany’s hopes and the game!
This result knocked out Germany, and secured a place in the knockout rounds for Mexico!
After Sweden beat Mexico by three goals they were able to move to the top sport in Group F. Thanks to South Korea’s two goal win over Germany, Mexico was able to take the runners-up place and advance. These results meant that South Korea actually finished third. This ended the reign of defending champions Germany. They failed to qualify, and finished last in their group!
Sweden head into the Round of 16 to take on Switzerland; Mexico gets the winners of Group E, Brazil in the Round of 16!
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 27, 2018
Here’s how Group’s C and D will meet in the knockout round:
Group E winners, Brazil, take on Group F runners-up, Mexico, on Monday, July 2nd at 10 am EST. Group F winners, Sweden, will play Group E runners-up, Switzerland, on Tuesday July 3rd, at 10 am EST!
Tonight's confirmed matches:
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 27, 2018
As the tournament roles on, we will continue our reviews! Come back Sunday July 1st to see our reviews role on to the knockout rounds!
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Mandatory Credit: Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports