The eighth day of action in the World Cup finals promises high drama as Germany fight for World Cup survival, while matches in a tight Group F also promise plenty of tension and possible upsets. Here are four things to look out for on Sunday.
1. Spain against Germany
In simple terms, if Germany lose to Spain, then they are almost certainly on their way out of the World Cup at the first hurdle for the second consecutive World Cup, so the pressure is very much on a side that lost 6-0 to the Spanish almost exactly two years ago in the UEFA Nations League.
The Germans will go into the game as underdogs after Spain’s outstanding 7-0 win over Costa Rica in their opening game, and while stories of recriminations have come out of the German camp, the Spanish are naturally confident their movement and passing will undo Germany’s midfield and defense.
2. Japan look to build Costa Rica to recover
Group E’s second game sees the Japanese aim to book their place in the last 16 when they take on Costa Rica.
Although Japan’s win against Germany was a surprise, a look at where many of the Japanese players play their club football should tell us that it is maybe not as big a surprise as many make out.
Costa Rica meanwhile have a squad made of footballers from domestic leagues and despite players such as Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz, they lacked the experience to deal with the Spanish.
Japan defended well and hit Germany on the break on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how they play against a rival that will give them more of the ball.
3. Belgium need to improve but Morocco won’t make it easy.
Belgium beat Canada 1-0 in their opening game, but not even the most fervent of Belgian supporters would claim that they played well, as they were overrun at times by an energetic Canadian side. Better finishing from Canada could have caused another major upset and left Belgium with a must win game, but even so, this is a tough game for Roberto Martinez’s side.
Morocco had few problems in keeping Croatia at bay in their opening game and the North African side will look to repeat the solid defense and midfield that gave Luka Modric so many problems.
If Belgium don’t improve, this game could provide an upset.
4. Can Canada bounce back after opening day disappointment?
Canada had a great of beating Belgium, but a lot of their good work was undone by some hasty finishing, with Alphonso Davis even missing a first-half penalty.
Canada coach John Herdman has done a great job in motivating his players and he was on the pitch post-game to give them a pep-talk after the final whistle on Wednesday.
If Herdman can keep Canada’s spirits high, they will have another chance of an upset against Croatia, who struggled with Morocco’s physicality in their opener.
Modric will find it hard to play twice in five days and although Canada won’t surprise Croatia as they did Belgium, they will again look to their pace and energy to cause problems to an aging side.- Advertisement -