Oh hey and welcome back to another semi-embarrassing display of my love of soccer! We have plenty more World Cup drama to discuss, so let’s get into it RIGHT NOW!
The match schedule over the past two days continued to be divided into A – matches that matter in terms of pushing through the final question marks re: qualifiers for Round of 16, and B – matches that had no impact whatsoever since the competitors were already guaranteed to advance.
The most exciting cluster (for me, anyway) to watch was Group H, which, apart from Poland, had three possible contenders for advancement – Colombia, Senegal and Japan. For a hot second it looked like Colombia and Senegal would move on as the victors (Japan was down a goal from Poland, and Colombia and Senegal were sitting at 0-0), but then BLAM-O, Colombia took the lead over Senegal, and EVERYTHING GOT V. SHOOK. It was bizarre to see Japan lose the match but still come out ultimately victorious – even though Senegal and Japan were, on the surface, equal at four points apiece, FIFA’s fair-play tiebreaker awarded Japan the remaining spot to move through to the next round; apparently Senegal had one too many penalties in the grand scheme. Pretty heartbreaking to see the only remaining African nation pack its bags.
That’s not to say it wasn’t bonkers to watch Germany get sent home after a loss to South Korea (0-2), because what even the fuck?! Sweden beat Mexico with a 3-0 lead to seal the group’s fate, and I was V. HAPPY FOR THEM! But it is actually insane that Germany is out this early on. To be clear, I am still embittered by last World Cup’s Argentina fuckover by the Germans, and I am happy that’s not on the table this go-round, but it is a strange reality regardless.
Anyway, the final group stage standings ended up as follows: Russia and Uruguay both through the group stage in Group A, Spain and Portugal through for Group B, France and Denmark through Group C, CROATIA AND ARGENTINA THROUGH FOR GROUP D YASSSSS, Switzerland and Brazil through for Group E, Sweden and Mexico through for Group F, Belgium and England at the top of Group G, and Japan and Colombia through for Group H.
So just to reiterate, eliminated teams are these: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Peru, Costa Rica, Serbia, Tunisia, Panama, Poland, Iran, Australia, Iceland, Nigeria, Germany, South Korea and Senegal.
Headlines of interest:
- Two Telemundo hosts have been suspended after celebrating South Korea’s win over Germany (which cemented Mexico’s advancement) by making racist gestures. Why are people the fucking goddamn worst. (Shout-out to Miguel Hernandez for calling out the fucked up behavior.)
- FIFA is defending its use of fair-play as tiebreaker criteria. As I mentioned above, this is what ultimately sent Senegal home despite having equal points to Japan.
- ESPN has mapped out who it thinks will have the toughest road to victory.
- And BBC Sport takes a look at why Germany failed so hard, and where they should go from here as a squad.
- South Korean players could be PUNISHED for their World Cup loss by being forced to complete military service, what even the actual fuck.
- Finally, this is the first day in two weeks that there will be no matches happening. HOW WILL YOU COPE?!
Coming up this weekend we’ll be kicking off the Round of 16! Tomorrow we’ve got France v. Argentina on at 10am, and Uruguay v. Portugal at 2pm. May the South Americans prevail! Sunday we’ll see Spain v. Russia at 10am, and Croatia v. Denmark at 2pm.
I’ll be checking back in on Monday morning with updates and results on this weekend’s games, upcoming matches you need to carve out time to watch AND any other bonkers news that might happen between now and then! For now, good luck to you all, unless you’re rooting for someone I am not rooting for!