FIFA World Cup: Round of 16 Preview

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via @FOXSoccer

Friday brought us our first day off at the 2018 FIFA World Cup since the tournament began a little over two weeks ago. Over those two weeks, 32 nations played 48 matches that comprised the group stage portion of this World Cup. With all group play complete, 16 countries remain standing to partake in the knockout rounds, which begin today with the Round of 16.

Sixteen teams means there will be eight matches played over the next four days (Saturday-Tuesday), with two matches being played each day. FIFA uses a bracket set up for the knockout stages, with Round of 16 matchups determined by group finish then the subsequent matches determined by following the bracket inwards. So, the two winners of Saturday’s matches will meet in the quarterfinals and the same goes for winners on Sunday through Tuesday as well.

Here now, the official “The Bat Flip” World Cup Round of 16 Preview.


The Teams

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via @FOXSoccer

Let’s begin our Round of 16 preview with a glance at the teams who will be taking part. Teams are listed in the order in which they finished in their respective groups.

Group A

Uruguay: Topped Group A with a perfect 3-0-0 record to claim all nine points available to them in the group stage. Did enough to defeat Egypt and Saudi Arabia but looked their best in the final group match against host Russia.

Russia: One of the surprises of the tournament to this point. The host side entered the World Cup as the lowest ranked team in the field but captured two wins in their first two matches by combined 8-1 score. Fell to Uruguay in the third match, relegating them to runner-up status in the group.

Group B

Spain: Fired their manager 48 hours before their opening match of the tournament but did just enough to win Group B and advance to the knockouts. As a pre-tournament favorite, Spain have not looked super convincing in any of their group matches but sit on the easier side of the knockout bracket.

Portugal: Without Cristiano Ronaldo its hard to say if Portugal makes it this far. His heroics salvaged a draw with Spain and a win over Morocco but the 2016 European champions came within inches of being bounced from the tournament in their final match.

Group C

France: Another pre-tournament favorite who has looked unconvincing through group stage play. France are loaded with attacking talent but only scored three goals in three group matches. It remains to be seen if a side with this much talent can turn it on when it really counts.

Denmark: Another good story from the 2018 World Cup is Denmark who advance to the Round of 16 as the runner-up in Group C. Christian Eriksen is one of the few true superstars on the team but they earned a point in every group stage match to extend their stay in Russia.

Group D

Croatia: A popular dark horse pick before the tournament, Croatia now looks like a threat to win the whole thing after a dominating group performance. They sit on the easier side of the bracket even if a potential quarterfinal showdown with Spain looms. Be on the lookout for this squad going forward.

Argentina: Through two matches it looked like Argentina was going to be heading home early after dismal performances against Iceland and Croatia. They were bailed out in their final match against Nigeria by a last minute goal and stayed alive long enough to see themselves in the knockout stages.

Group E

Brazil: A disappointing draw in their opening match seems like a thing of the past now that Brazil look like the Brazil everyone expected. They had no trouble taking Group E with strong performances against Costa Rica and Serbia. The only issue for Brazil heading into the knockouts is playing on the strong side of the bracket.

Switzerland: A win and two draws was more than enough to push Switzerland into the Round of 16. Escaping with a 1-1 draw against Brazil showed everyone watching that this Swiss side will be able to hang with anyone, regardless of the talent disparity. This could easily be a quarterfinal side.

Group F

Sweden: Perhaps the most unlikely of all the group winners, Sweden bagged six points to come out on top of a very difficult Group F that included Germany, Mexico, and South Korea. A Round of 16 meeting with Switzerland will be a toss-up, meaning we could easily see this side playing in the quarterfinals.

Mexico: El Tri opening its 2018 FIFA World Cup with a shock win 1-0 over Germany but still needed help on the final match-day of Group F play to escape as the runner-up. They will take on a strong Brazil side but Mexico has already proven it can beat anyone.

Group G

Belgium: Another popular pick to win it all, Belgium have been one of the few pre-tournament favorites that has lived up to the hype so far. Taking all nine points available to them in the group, Belgium looked prime for a deep run with this golden generation of talent.

England: Coming in as runner-ups in Group G may be a blessing in disguise for The Three Lions as it shifts them over to the easier side of the bracket. If they can find a way past Colombia, a trip to the semifinals is there for the taking.

Group H

Colombia: It did not look good for Colombia following an opening match loss but the 2014 quarterfinalists turned it around in the next two matches to claim the Group H title. They sit in a similar position as their Round of 16 opponent England, win that game and a trip to the semifinals could be right there waiting for them.

Japan: Quite frankly, this was the biggest shock on the list of teams who are advancing to the Round of 16. Coming into the World Cup, many had Japan ranked as the weakest team in Group H but here they are and it is well earned.

Those are you 16 teams who will be playing in the Round of 16 beginning today at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Each one is well deserving of its place in the knockout stages, but unfortunately for eight of them, this will be the end of the line.


The Bracket

A look at the 2018 FIFA World Cup bracket as it stands heading into the Round of 16.

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via @FOXSoccer

Eight games over four days will determine which eight teams keep their World Cup dream alive and advance to the quarterfinals.


Round of 16 Matches

A quick preview of all eight matches making up the Round of 16. Matches will be played between Saturday and Tuesday with winners advancing to play in the quarterfinals late next week.

France (1C) v. Argentina (2D)

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via footballexpert.com
  • Date: Saturday, June 30th
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: Antione Griezmann and Lionel Messi

Two international powers square off in the opening match of the Round of 16. Neither side has looked great but this could be the moment they prove themselves worthy contenders.

Prediction: France 3, Argentina 1

Uruguay (1A) v. Portugal (2B)

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via footballexpert.com
  • Date: Saturday, June 30th
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: Luis Suárez and Cristiano Ronaldo

The left side of the World Cup bracket is a gauntlet and these two opening games are really just an appetizer for what’s to come. Both of these teams have the talent to make deep runs in Russia.

Prediction: Uruguay 2, Portugal 1 (A.E.T.)

Spain (1B) v. Russia (2A)

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via footballexpert.com
  • Date: Sunday, July 1st
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: Diego Costa and Denis Cheryshev

If host nation Russia hopes to continue its cinderella run it will need a victory over 2010 World Cup champion Spain in the Round of 16. Spain has not looked like itself to this point but they are where we expected them to be.

Prediction: Spain 3, Russia 0

Croatia (1D) v. Denmark (2C)

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via footballexpert.com
  • Date: Sunday, July 1st
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: Luka Modric and Christian Eriksen

Croatia have firmly placed themselves in the conversation as favorites following a strong group performance while Denmark are trying to make a little noise of their own as an underdog in the knockout rounds.

Prediction: Croatia 2, Denmark 1 (A.E.T.)

Brazil (1E) v. Mexico (2F)

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via footballexpert.com
  • Date: Monday, July 2nd
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Samara Arena (Samara)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: Neymar and Hirving Luzano

Mexico are trying to eradicate over three decades of frustration with a victory and a trip to the quarterfinals. Standing in their way is a Brazil side who suddenly look like a team ready to win the whole thing.

Prediction: Brazil 1 (4), Mexico 1 (3) (A.E.T. + penalties)

Belgium (1G) v. Japan (2H)

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via footballexpert.com
  • Date: Monday, July 2nd
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Rostov Arena (Rostov-On-Don)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: Romelu Lukaku and Shinji Kagawa

Through group play, Belgium are one pre-tournament favorite who has lived up to the expectations placed upon them. Japan has exceeded every expectation to this point so anything past this round is just icing on the cake.

Prediction: Belgium 4, Japan 0

Sweden (1F) v. Switzerland (2E)

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  • Date: Tuesday, July 3rd
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Saint Petersburg Stadium (St. Petersburg)
  • How to Watch: FS1
  • Players to Watch: Emil Forsberg and Xherdan Shaqiri

Maybe the biggest toss-up of all the Round of 16 matches. Sweden shocked the world by winning a difficult Group F while Switzerland played exactly like everyone expected and set themselves up with a favorable matchup. This one is anybody’s game.

Prediction: Switzerland 1, Sweden 0

Colombia (1H) v. England (2G)

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  • Date: Tuesday, July 3rd
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
  • How to Watch: FOX
  • Players to Watch: James Rodriguez and Harry Kane

England purposefully played its final group match to get to this side of the bracket so they better find a way to win at least this game. A rocky start did not deter Colombia who bounced back and have plans on bettering its result from 2014.

Prediction: England 3, Colombia 1

That completes just a very brief look at the eight matches that will compromise the Round of 16 stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Check back on Tuesday afternoon to see how bad our predictions turn out to be.


Golden Boot Outlook

The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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via beIN Sports

Nine of the ten leading scorers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be in action during the Round of 16, including all of the Top-5. This will be a huge opportunity for all of them to make a charge toward the top of list with a few goals during this round of competition.


Once the Round of 16 begins on Saturday, we will continuing with our daily World Cupdates recapping the previous day of action along with a preview of what’s still to come as the tournament marches forward. Make sure you are checking back with us everyday to keep up to date on the latest news from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

 

World Cupdate: Group Stage Comes to a Close

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via @AFP_Sport

Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.


Here’s What Happened: Thursday, June 28th

Just four matches remained in the group stage portion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and once again the teams did not disappoint. Japan dropped its match to Colombia but still managed to advance on thanks to a tiebreaker over Senegal who fell to Group H winner Colombia. After a rough start to the tournament, Colombia has recovered nicely and advance to the knockout stages in consecutive World Cups for the first time in their history.

Over in Group G, two teams who did not want to win faced-off and it was Belgium who struck the winning goal in the second half to claim the Group G crown but potentially a tougher road to the final. Group G’s other game featured Tunisia and Panama where history was made as Panama held their first lead in World Cup history while Tunisia fought back to claim their first World Cup victory in 40 years.

Everything you may have missed from an action packed final day of group stage matches is all recapped below.

Japan 0-1 Poland

There has not been much to celebrate for Poland during its time in Russia but they will head home on a positive note after winning their final group stage match over Japan. A popular dark horse pick before the tournament began, Poland lost its first two matches and was eliminated from any further competition. Jan Bednarek scored off a set play in the 59th minute and it was enough to give Poland three points to take home.

Japan was in a perilous situation with the loss, but still move on to the Round of 16 thanks to their advantage in fair play points over Senegal. Group G winner Belgium awaits on Monday.

Goals

  • Jan Bednarek | POL (59′)

Highlights

Senegal 0-1 Colombia

After an opening match defeat, Colombia have looked like the Colombia that went to the quarterfinals in 2014. For Colombia to advance, all three point were a must and that is exactly what they got. James Rodriguez had to leave the game in the first half but his side kept fighting and eventually found a winner in the 74th minute off the head of Yerry Mina.

There were plenty of chances for Senegal but they could not convert to get the point they so desperately needed and instead, see themselves crash out of the 2018 World Cup. Colombia on the other hand topped Group H with six points and have a Round of 16 date with England on Tuesday.

Goals

  • Yerry Mina | COL (74′)

Highlights

Panama 1-2 Tunisia

For the first time in 40 years, Tunisia has a World Cup victory following its 2-1 win over Panama in the last group game for each side. Both teams knew coming into the game that this would be their last match in Russia so only pride was on the line when they took the field. Panama took the lead from an own goal but Tunisia battled back in the second half to score twice and capture all three points for the first time since 1978.

Neither of these two countries were expected to make the knockout rounds being paired with Belgium and England, but each leave Russia with history making performances. Tunisia captures its first World Cup victory in 40 years, while Panama made its World Cup debut and scored its first two goals in the World Cup.

Goals

  • Yassine Meriah | PAN (33′ OG)
  • Fakhreddine Ben Youssef | TUN (51′)
  • Wahbi Khazri | TUN (66′)

Highlights

England 0-1 Belgium

The one game everyone had their eyes on during the second pair of Thursday’s matchups was England and Belgium playing for all the marbles in Group G. With tiebreakers in play, a win or draw by England would have been enough to give them the Group G top spot. However, when looking at the knockout bracket, the runner-up spot looked more inviting. Based on the lineups put forth by both managers, it was clear the team were playing for second place.

Through 45 minutes, the game was stuck in a goalless draw and no one seemed intent on scoring. That changed in 51st minute when Adnan Januzaj curled a shot into the top corner past Jordan Pickford to give Belgium a 1-0 that stood until the final whistle.

With the result, Belgium topped Group G and take on Group H runner-up Japan in the Round of 16 on Monday. England meanwhile hops over to the opposite side of the bracket where Colombia awaits on Tuesday.

Goals

  • Adnan Januzaj | BEL (51′)

Highlights

And that is a wrap on the group stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Belgium, England, Colombia, and Japan are the final four teams to advance and complete the knockout bracket.

Next up, the Round of 16 beginning Saturday.


Goals of the Day

Two more group winning goals highlights Thursday’s action but a beautiful team goal from Tunisia also makes an appearance. Our three best from the final day of group stage action are below.

Yerry Mina (Colombia)

Another day, another group clinching goal finds its way onto our list. This powerful header from Yerry Mina gave the goalkeeper no chance and propelled Colombia into the Round fo 16 for the second straight tournament.

Adnan Januzaj (Belgium)

Belgium were not trying to score but they did anyway courtesy this curler by Adnan Januzaj. England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had no chance and Belgium topped Group G with the goal. (Yes, another group clinching goal made the list.)

Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (Tunisia)

Individual goals are often spectacular and jaw dropping, but sometimes teamwork can deliver moments of brilliance too. Example, this goal from Fakhreddine Ben Youssef that capped up some slick passing to bring Tunisia level with Panama.

Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.


Fail of the Day

For the second time this tournament, we are highlighting a “Fail of Day” to celebrate a pretty big oops on the part of Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi. With a goal in Belgium’s second match, Batshuayi was having a pretty good World Cup. It got even better on Thursday when he was placed in the starting XI by his manager Roberto Martinez.

When Adnan Januzaj scored to give his side the lead, Batshuayi decided to celebrate by kicking the ball into the air. Needless to say, it did not go as he planned.

We all have embarrassing moments, but unfortunately for Batshuayi, his was caught on camera and broadcast to millions around the world.


Group Update

All group stage play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is now complete with Group G and Group H playing their final matches on Thursday.  Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 6.46.32 PM

Belgium claimed all three points against England to top Group G while Tunisia gets its first World Cup victory in 40 years to settle into third place.

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Colombia recovered from its opening match defeat with consecutive victories over Poland and Japan to take the Group H crown. Japan advances over Senegal based on fair play points. Group H is one of only two groups where all three teams won a game.

Round of 16 Outlook

Monday, July 2: Belgium (1G) v. Japan (2H)

Tuesday, July 3: Colombia (1H) v. England (2G)


Who is Moving on, Who is Going Home

As groups move through their third round of matches, the knockout bracket will being to fill out. Here are the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 and the teams that will be heading home.

Moving On

Group A: Uruguay, Russia

Group B: Spain, Portugal

Group C: France, Denmark

Group D: Croatia, Argentina

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

Group F: Sweden, Mexico

Group G: Belgium, England

Group H: Colombia, Japan

Going Home

Group A: Saudi Arabia, Egypt

Group B: Iran, Morocco

Group C: Peru, Australia

Group D: Nigeria, Iceland

Group E: Serbia, Costa Rica

Group F: South Korea, Germany

Group G: Panama, Tunisia

Group H: Senegal, Poland


Round of 16 Mini-Preview

There will be a full Round of 16 preview going up on Saturday morning before the matches get underway along with a Group Stage recap at some point. We don’t want to spoil too much, so for now, we’ll leave you with just the knockout bracket now that is properly filled out with the 16 teams still alive in Russia.

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via @FOXSoccer

Here’s What’s Next: Saturday, June 30th

With group stage play in the books, it is time for the knockout rounds to begin with the Round of 16. A day off on Friday means everything kicks off on Saturday with two games featuring four international footballing powers and a lot of star power all around.

Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Cristiano Ronaldo will all be on the pitch during Saturday’s matches so make sure not to miss a second action.

Winners of both matches then move on to the quarterfinals to face each other at the end of next week.

France (1C) v. Argentina (2D)

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France
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Argentina
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
  • How to Watch: FOX

The first Round of 16 match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup features to international heavyweights going toe-to-toe. France won Group C but looked unconvincing in doing so. Argentina barely scraped their way into the knockout rounds after a last second winner against Nigeria. If France can use their array of attacking options to attack and expose the Argentina defense, the Blues should advance to the quarterfinals.

Uruguay (1A) v. Portugal (2B)

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Uruguay
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Portugal
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Uruguay made a shock run to the semifinals in 2010 and if they are to repeat that feat this time around it begins here against Portugal who have left a lot to be desired through three group games. Luis Suárez and Cristiano Ronaldo will provide the star power in this matchup but Uruguay’s depth may be the determining factor between the two sides.

You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at FoxSports.com with a cable sign in.

If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.

All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time


Golden Boot Standings

The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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via beIN Sports

Yerry Mina of Colombia jumps into the Top-10 courtesy his group winning header against Senegal. Top-3 of Kane, Lukaku, and Ronaldo remain unchanged.


Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.

Ranking World Cup goals: June 28, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Thursday’s match play: 

The last day of group matches ended on a bit of a fizzle with the premier match of the day devolving into a clash of who was able to win less. Still, there were goals. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 28, 2018

No. 6 – Yassine Meriah (own goal) – Panama vs. Tunisia

As if the tournament wasn’t going bad enough for Tunisia, Yassine Meriah’s deflection gave Panama a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute. Fortunately, Tunisia picked up Mariah with a pair of second-half goals to take away some of the sting.

No. 5 – Wahbi Khazri – Tunisia vs. Panama

So, Oussama Haddadi should probably claim this ball, though Wahbi Khazri netted the goal. Marvel at the pass, nod in approval at the finish.

No. 4 – Jan Badnarek – Poland vs. Japan

This goal gave Poland a bit of pride to take home from Russia as a disastrous trip for the No. 8 side according to FIFA rankings came to a close. This volley from Jan Bednarek did Japan no favors, but it didn’t hurt the Japanese as a fair play tiebreaker pushed the Blue Samurai into the knockouts.

No. 3 – Fakhreddine Ben Youssef – Tunisia vs. Panama

The beauty is not so much in the goal – a slick redirection by Fakhreddine Ben Youssef – but in the set-up to it. Give Wahbi Khazri just as much credit for feeding Ben Youssef as you give Ben Youssef for finding the net.

No. 2 – Yerry Mina – Colombia vs. Senegal

This goal granted Colombia a Group H crown and advancement into the knockout stage, all while eventually pushing Senegal out when it was left behind thanks to the fair play tiebreaker. The celebration may have been more visually appealing than the header from Yerry Mina.

No. 1 – Adnan Januzaj – Belgium vs. England

As an entire nation shouted “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”, Adnan Januzaj undressed England’s Danny Rose before crafting a bender past Jordan Pickford. It ultimately led to Belgium winning Group G and winding up on the tougher side of the bracket, but this goal was still fun to look at.

Ranking World Cup goals: June 27, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Wednesday’s match play:

Most of Wednesday’s 11 tallies were just kind of there. I mean, nine of them didn’t result in an early exit that caused a “dark day” for a world power. Two did. Which one was Wednesday’s top goal? As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 27, 2018

No. 11 – Andreas Granqvist – Sweden vs. Mexico

This penalty – off a pretty dangerous tackle by Hector Moreno – led to Sweden stacking onto its lead and setting the table for the yellow-clad side to capture the top spot in Group F.

No. 10 – Yann Sommer (own goal) – Costa Rica vs. Switzerland

OK, the penalty element of this goal, albeit a huge pride goal for Costa Rica, shuttles it to this end of the ranking. But the own-goal element helps it avoid being dead last. Bryan Ruiz did his part, screaming a try off the crossbar. The ball and an unknowing Yann Sommer did the rest. The Swiss were already locked into the second spot in their group, so all this did was take away two points.

No. 9 – Blerim Dzemaili – Switzerland vs. Costa Rica

Look at what Blerim Dzemaili found! Stephan Lichtsteiner crossed this ball into the box and it was Dzemaili who eventually slammed in this goal, giving Switzerland a 1-0 lead.

No. 8 – Edson Alvarez (own goal) – Sweden vs. Mexico

A missed swipe by Edson Alvarez while trying to defend a cross could not have been more disastrous as the ball bounced off his left leg and across the line. By this point, Mexico was a full-on trash fire against the Swedish attack, which had some things to prove following a heartbreaking loss to Germany.

No. 7 – Paulinho – Brazil vs. Serbia

Mad respect to Philippe Coutinho for this lob to Paulinho, who got to the loose ball before Serbian keeper Vladimir Stojkovic. This put Brazil ahead 1-0, ultimately sealing Group E and a date with recently exposed Mexico in the round of 16.

No. 6 – Heungmin Son – South Korea vs. Germany

An earlier goal caused Germany to have to sell itself out to get at least two goals and three points. This empty-net goal denied both things to the World Cup holder while also shuffling the Germans to the bottom of the group. Good times.

No. 5 – Josip Drmic – Switzerland vs. Costa Rica

The cross from Denis Zakaria. The quick finish from Josip Drmic. It looked like the Swiss had pulled out more late-minute magic to grab three points. It wasn’t meant to be, but this ultimately helped Switzerland avoid a loss.

No. 4 – Kendall Waston – Costa Rica vs. Switzerland

Headers off corners are always fun. Kendall Waston gives Costa Rica something to celebrate with this strong effort from up top.

No. 3 – Thiago Silva – Brazil vs. Serbia

A header off the corner that looks so simple, but also so spectacular. This is the Brazil that the world knows. It’s almost as if Brazil took the news of Germany’s early exit and used it to lift a giant weight from their shoulders.

No. 2 – Ludwig Augustinsson – Sweden vs. Mexico

The finish was pretty. The buildup was incredibly good. Viktor Claesson’s flick-up toward Ludwig Augustinsson left nothing between the eventual goal-scorer and this 50th-minute goal aside from Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa, who couldn’t handle the strong, close-range strike. Sweden went up 1-0 and carried that all the way to a Group F title.

No. 1 – Kim Younggwon – South Korea vs. Germany

No description can justify the impact of this goal. It ended the campaign of a side that had never bowed out this early in World Cup play. Sure, another goal followed, but this Kim Younggwon tally sent shockwaves across the soccer world. Mighty Germany had struck out.

World Cupdate: A New Champion Will be Crowned

Dguff0YXUAAbOZu.jpg
via @AFP_Sport

Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.


Here’s What Happened: Wednesday, June 27th

The defending champions are no more as 2014 winners Germany crash out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the group stage for the first time in its history. South Korea scores two dagger goals in stoppage time to seal Germany’s fate and open the door for a new World Cup champion to be crowned in a few weeks.

In other games, Mexico lives on despite being throttled by Sweden in Group F. Brazil continue to round into form and defeat Serbia to claim Group E while Switzerland comfortably claims the runner-up spot.

Everything you may have missed or just want to re-live is all contained in today’s World Cupdate below.

Korea Republic 2-0 Germany

If Germany losing to Mexico was an upset, then this result is in an absolute shocker. A new World Cup champion will be crowned in Russia now that defending champion Germany crashed out in the group stage for the first time in its history. Knowing all three points were needed, Germany were on the front foot for all 90 minutes but could never find the goal they so desperately needed.

Once the game entered second half stoppage time, South Korea broke the ice with two goals that eliminated the Germans and gave South Korean fans something to cheer about for the first time in this tournament. The result also saved Mexico who were busy being routed by Sweden.

Neither of these sides will advance to the knockout rounds, but South Korea will be heading home the much happier side.

Goals

  • Kim Young-Gwon | KOR (90’+3′)
  • Son Heung-Min | KOR (90’+6′)

Highlights
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Mexico 0-3 Sweden

The path to the Round of 16 was laid out for Mexico but they hit a few obstacles along the way in a 3-0 defeat to Sweden. Only a point was needed from this match for Mexico to advance and win the group, but instead, they needed the South Korea victory to seal their spot in the next round.

Mexico was in good position at the half but things went horribly wrong in the second half that saw Sweden score three goals in under 25 minutes. When it became clear the game was out of reach, Mexican fans waited nervously to hear see if South Korea could upset Germany. Luckily, that’s exactly what happened and Mexico survived to move on.

Sweden and Mexico both finished with six points in the group but goal differential gave the advantage to Sweden who top Group E and take on Switzerland in the Round of 16 on Tuesday. Mexico jumps across the bracket and will face Group E winner, Brazil on Monday.

Goals

  • Ludwig Augustinsson | SWE (50′)
  • Andreas Granqvist | SWE (62′ PEN)
  • Edson Álvarez | SWE (74′ OG)

Highlights

Serbia 0-2 Brazil

Since an opening match draw against Switzerland, Brazil have turned into the team everyone expected to see before the World Cup kicked off. Back-to-back 2-0 victories have vaulted Brazil to the top of Group E and easily into the Round of 16. Brazil only needed a point to advance but took all three from a Serbia side that looked threatening as times but could never capitalize.

Now through, Brazil will have a few days off to rest up and prepare for a Mexico side that already pulled off one upset in Russia and will be hungry for another. That match will go off on Sunday morning.

Serbia meanwhile were never able to build off its opening match win over Costa Rica and will leave Russia with only three points.

Goals

  • Paulinho | BRA (36′)
  • Thiago Silva | BRA (68′)

Highlights

Switzerland 2-2 Costa Rica

With Brazil taking care of business against Serbia, Switzerland’s spot in the Round of 16 was never really under threat. Closing out their group stage portion of the tournament with another draw, the Swiss claim the runner-up spot out of Group E.

It was an exciting contest between a solid Swiss side and a Costa Rica team with nothing to lose. All signs pointed to a Switzerland victory until the final minutes when a missed penalty off the cross-bar ricocheted off goalkeepers Yann Sommer’s head and into the back of the goal to bring the game level.

Switzerland will now move across the bracket to face Sweden in the Round of 16 on Tuesday. Costa Rica were unable to relive the magic from 2014, but still salvage a point and some goals from their stay in Russia.

Goals

  • Blerim Džemaili | SUI (31′)
  • Kendall Waston | CRC (56′)
  • Josip Drmić | SUI (88′)
  • Yann Sommer | CRC (90’+3′ OG)

Highlights

Three-quarters of the way through Match-day 3 of group stage play now as more Round of 16 matches are set in stone. Moving on are Brazil, Switzerland, Sweden, and Mexico. Group G and Group H will wrap up group stage action on Thursday.


Goals of the Day

Eleven goals highlighted the action from Wednesday and for the first time this tournament, an own goal makes our daily list. Check out our three best below.

Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden)

What turned out to be the group winning goal from Sweden was simple yet spectacular. Off a volley from in tight, Augustinsson puts his laces through the ball them almost puts it directly through the Mexican goalkeeper.

Paulinho (Brazil)

A second group winning goal makes our list for Wednesday, this time from Paulinho of Brazil. A great long ball played into the box meets a streaking Paulinho who only needs to get a touch on it to send it over the goalkeeper’s head.

Yann Sommer (Switzerland, OG)

Normally, own goals do not find their way into the best goals of the day because they are often ugly. This one is an exception because of the sheer unlikeliness of how it happened. Bryan Ruiz hits the cross-bar on his penalty shot and the ball rebounds right into the back of Sommer’s head and into the goal.

Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.


Group Update

Another fascinating day of group stage action saw one pre-tournament favorite crash out while another cruised into the Round of 16. Group E and Group F are now settled with their winners known and Round of 16 matchups set for next week.

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Exactly the order most pundits predicted coming into the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Brazil was class of the group while Switzerland claimed points in all three matches to take the runner-up spot.

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Not even close to what anyone predicted as the final result from this group. Germany go from defending champions to crashing out of the tournament in last place in Group F. Sweden are a pleasant surprise and have their sights set on a deep run in the knockout rounds.

Round of 16 Outlook

Monday, July 2: Brazil (1E) v. Mexico (2F)

Tuesday, July 3: Sweden (1F) v. Switzerland (2E)


Who is Moving on, Who is Going Home

As groups move through their third round of matches, the knockout bracket will being to fill out. Here are the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 and the teams that will be heading home.

Moving On

Group A: Uruguay, Russia

Group B: Spain, Portugal

Group C: France, Denmark

Group D: Croatia, Argentina

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

Group F: Sweden, Mexico

Group G: England, Belgium (seeding still TBD)

Going Home

Group A: Saudi Arabia, Egypt

Group B: Iran, Morocco

Group C: Peru, Australia

Group D: Nigeria, Iceland

Group E: Serbia, Costa Rica

Group F: South Korea, Germany

Group G: Panama, Tunisia

Group H: Poland


Here’s What’s Next: Thursday, June 28th

After two weeks of action, we have reached the culmination of group stage play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Only four group stages matches remain in Group G and Group H before the knockout rounds begin on Saturday.

We already know England and Belgium are through to the Round of 16 out of Group G, but it remains to be seen in what order they will progress. The two sides square off today to determine a group winner and runner-up. It remains to be seen if either side rests their big stars since going through as the runner-up may offer a slightly easier path to the semifinals.

Over in Group H, there is still a bit of business to attend to as well. Poland is eliminated from advancing  but can spoil the party for a surprising Japan squad who will need only a draw to advance. Senegal sit in the same boat as Japan, needing a single point to book a spot in the Round of 16 but their opponent Colombia has its eyes on advancing as well.

Match-day 3 of group stage play has already provided countless drama and surprises, here’s to hoping these final four games can continue to deliver.

Japan v. Poland (Group H)

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via realsport101.com
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via realsport101.com
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Volgograd Arena (Volgograd)
  • How to Watch: FS1

There is no hope of advancement here for Poland but salvaging three points from what has been a disappointing World Cup will give them something to smile about. Certainly no one figured Japan would be in this position before the tournament but a single point out of this game means they are heading to the Round of 16.

Senegal v. Colombia (Group H)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Samara Arena (Samara)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Senegal is the other surprise out of Group H and sit in a similar spot as Japan where a draw will be enough to advance to the Round of 16. Their opponent, Colombia, sit on three points following their victory over Poland and have plans to advance as well. A victory would propel Colombia to the knockouts but they can also advance with a draw and Japan loss.

Panama v. Tunisia (Group G)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Mordovia Arena (Saransk)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Nothing but pride on the line between Panama and Tunisia in their final 2018 World Cup match. Tunisia will be looking for its first World Cup victory in 40 years while Panama will be looking for its first ever. If either side can get the three points, they’ll head home with a smile on their faces.

England v. Belgium (Group G)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Kaliningrad Stadium (Kaliningrad)
  • How to Watch: FOX

A match for all the marbles in Group G where losing may be a benefit. Coming out of the Group as the runner-up could a team away from Brazil in the quarterfinals. Beware however, this World Cup has been full or upsets already so jumping to an “easier” side of the bracket may not be all its made out to be. Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku will have the chance to continue their battle for the Golden Boot.

You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at FoxSports.com with a cable sign in.

If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.

All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time


Golden Boot Standings

The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Son Heung-Min of South Korea joins the Top 10 but with his tournament over, he won’t be going anywhere but down from here on out. It remains to be seen if Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku will play in their final group stage match to keep up their fight for The Golden Boot.


Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.

Ranking World Cup goals: June 26, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Tuesday’s match play:

If there was ever a clear No. 1 in terms of overall importance, it happened on Tuesday. Anyone paying attention to Tuesday’s matches can already guess the top tally. If you weren’t, get ready to be wowed. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 26, 2018

No. 8 – Gylfi Sigurdsson – Iceland vs. Croatia

Iceland left the World Cup without a win, and only a point, but they’ll have this penalty kick to maintain warm memories before taking a whack at 2022 qualifying.

No. 7 – Victor Moses – Nigeria vs. Argentina

This one almost wrecked Argentina’s chances of advancing. Almost. The flip in celebration was actually more impressive than the goal, which came on a penalty kick. Been a lot of those in this tournament.

No. 6 – Andre Carrillo – Peru vs. Australia

With Paolo Guerrero’s cross setting up this screamer by Andre Carrillo, Peru notched their first World Cup goal since 1982, while also posting the country’s first World Cup win since 1978. This was a big one for Los Incas.

No. 5 – Paolo Guerrero – Peru vs. Australia

If one goal can be historic, a second goal can be cathartic for a nation not accustomed to victories on the world’s biggest soccer stage. This strike from Paolo Guerrero came when a Christian Cueva attempt was deflected to a waiting Guerrero. In an instant, Peru led 2-0.

No. 4 – Milan Badelj – Croatia vs. Iceland

Croatia was already in, and likely the Group D winner pending an epic Nigeria blowout victory that never came to fruition. But this Milan Badelj hammer in the 53rd minute shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes awareness is half the battle.

No. 3 – Lionel Messi – Argentina vs. Nigeria

At last! An actual goal in the 2018 World Cup from Lionel Messi. Credit a fantastic ball from Ever Banega to build up this goal from Messi, who stayed a step in front of Nigeria’s Kenneth Omeruo before putting Argentina up 1-0, giving life to a side that had shown very little in its two previous matches.

No. 2 – Ivan Perisic – Croatia vs. Iceland

It was a skilled strike and it sewed up a perfect nine points for Croatia in Group D. This did have some impact, though. Had Iceland been the side to break the 1-all tie, we’d be talking about Iceland in the knockouts and not Argentina.

No. 1 – Marcos Rojo – Argentina vs. Nigeria

This goal accomplished two things. It pushed Argentina through to the knockout stages. It drew a large cheer from staffing in The Bat Flip’s New Florence bureau. But Gabriel Mercado’s cross to Rojo in the 18 opened a celebration-inducing sequence that came with a goal, Lionel Messi getting a ride on Rojo’s back and seemingly anyone in an Argentina kit joining the dogpile. That’s not including the legendary (and cartoonish) Diego Maradona playing the part of scoreboard in celebration.

World Cupdate: Messi Arrives in Russia

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via @FOXSoccer

Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.


Here’s What Happened: Tuesday, June 26th

It took until Match-day 3, but Lionel Messi finally arrived at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and just in the nick of time for Argentina. Messi opened the scoring in the first half but it came down to a late Marcos Rojo goal to push Argentina through to the Round of 16.

In other games, France and Denmark battled to the first goalless draw of the tournament, Peru won its first World Cup game in 40 years, and Croatia capped a strong group stage with a victory over Iceland. Everything you need to know or may have missed is right here in our daily World Cupdate.

Denmark 0-0 France

Our first goalless draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup comes courtesy of France and Denmark in Group C. Coming into the match, both sides knew a was a good result for everyone involved. France already booked their spot in the Round of 16 but won the group with the point. Denmark advances as the runner-up, earning five points across three matches.

Chances came and went for both teams but nothing materialized into a goal. France rested a few regulars in preparation for the knockout rounds which begin Saturday where they will take on Lionel Messi and Argentina. Denmark is back in action on Sunday against Croatia.

Goals

None

Highlights

Australia 0-2 Peru

Australia had an outside chance of making the Round of 16 coming into Tuesday’s match against Peru but they left with a last place finish in Group C. Goals from André Carrillo and suspended then unsuspended captain Paolo Guerrero gave Peru its first World Cup win in 40 years in their first tournament appearance since 1982. Peru played exciting football through their first two matches but could not find a goal. Already eliminated, Peru played its best match of the tournament against Australia and was rewarded with a deserved three points.

Goals

  • André Carrillo | PER (18′)
  • Paolo Guerrero | PER (50′)

Highlights

Nigeria 1-2 Argentina

Through two matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Argentina’s tournament was a nightmare. Sitting on a single point in Group D from a draw with Iceland, it looked like the 2014 runner-ups were on their way home. Then Lionel Messi decided to join the party and save his country from humiliation.

Just 14 minutes into the match, Messi received a pass from Éver Banega and beat the Nigerian goalkeepers to put Argentina up 1-0 in the first half. That lead was erased in the 51st minute. on a penalty by Victor Moses and all of the sudden, Argentina was once again facing elimination. Enter Marcos Rojo, the newest Argentine football hero. In the closing minutes, Rojo hit a cross on the volley into the bottom corner to give Argentina the lead for good and a spot in the Round of 16.

The plan for Nigeria was always to focus on the 2022 FIFA World Cup as their target for glory, but that doesn’t make this sting any less in the moment. For Argentina, they avoid a massive embarrassment on the world stage and survive to face Group C winner France on Saturday.

Goals

  • Lionel Messi | ARG (14′)
  • Victor Moses | NGA (51′ PEN)
  • Marcos Rojo | ARG (86′)

Highlights

Iceland 1-2 Croatia

Iceland have been a great story in international soccer over the past two years but sometimes those stories don’t always end the way you hope. Earning a draw against Argentina in their first ever World Cup match is an amazing accomplishment for the small island nation and something they’ll hold on to forever.

Now is Croatia’s time in the sun and they have a look of a true contender in Russia. Their third win in three tries, 2-1 over Iceland, gives them all nine possible points from the group stage. Goals from Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic solidified their stranglehold atop Group D, where they have looked dominant. The bracket sets up in a somewhat favorable manner, beginning on Sunday against Group C runner-up Denmark.

Goals

  • Milan Badelj | CRO (53′)
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson | ISL (76′ PEN)
  • Ivan Perisic | CRO (90′)

Highlights

That concludes the second of day of action for Match-day 3 of the group stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Moving on are France, Denmark, Croatia, and Argentina. Next up is Group E and Group F to play their final matches on Wednesday.


Goals of the Day

A goal can change everything. It can erase 40 years of failure, provide redemption, or even send your country into a state ecstasy. Here are the top three goal’s from Tuesday’s slate of action.

André Carrillo (Peru)

Carrillo’s marker was the first Peru goal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the first time Peru has scored a World Cup goal since 1982. It also turned into the game winning goal to give Peru a consolation three points.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Everything about this goal is pure Messi. From the pass reception to the finish past the goalkeeper, he made the difficult seem like a walk in the park. To this point, Russia had been a nightmare for Messi and Argentina, but in this moment, all was right with the game of soccer. The goal also makes Messi the first player ever to score a World Cup goal in his teens, 20’s, and 30’s.

Marcos Rojo (Argentina)

Perhaps the most unlikely player on the field to score, Rojo becomes an instant legend across Argentina with this goal that sends his country into the Round of 16 when they were moments away from crashing out of the tournament altogether.

Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.


Group Update

Match-day 3 of group stage play is now halfway over and four Round of 16 matchups are now set with Group C and Group D wrapping up play. Much like Monday, most of action on Tuesday was saved for the latter pair of matches that came down to the final seconds.

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France already booked their spot in the Round of 16 last week but claimed the Group C crown with a draw against Denmark. The draw also benefitted Denmark, giving them a spot in the Round of 16 as well. Peru salvaged their first World Cup appearance since 1982 with a victory over Australia.

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Croatia claimed all nine possible points from the group stage with a win over Iceland in their final match and the top spot in Group D. Argentina staved off elimination with a late goal to knock-off Nigeria and advance as the group runner-up. A disappointing end for Nigeria who are already looking forward to 2022. Iceland’s inaugural World Cup comes to an end as well.

Round of 16 Outlook

Saturday, June 30: France (1C) v. Argentina (2D)

Sunday, July 1: Croatia (1D) v. Denmark (2C)


Who is Moving on, Who is Going Home

As groups move through their third round of matches, the knockout bracket will being to fill out. Here are the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 and the teams that will be heading home.

Moving On

Group A: Uruguay, Russia

Group B: Spain, Portugal

Group C: France, Denmark

Group D: Croatia, Argentina

Group G: England and Belgium (seeding still TBD)

Going Home

Group A: Saudi Arabia, Egypt

Group B: Iran, Morocco

Group C: Peru, Australia

Group D: Nigeria, Iceland

Group E: Costa Rica

Group G: Panama, Tunisia

Group H: Poland


Here’s What’s Next: Wednesday, June 27th

Day 3 of this final group stage match-day features several different scenarios that could play out depending on the results of each match. Seven of the eight teams in action on Wednesday are still in contention for a spot in the Round of 16.

Group F has the potential to finish with three teams level on six points a piece meaning tiebreakers could come into play. Meanwhile in Group E, three sides remain in the hunt where an outright victory by any of the three puts them into the next round.

If Wednesday is anything like the last two days, expect plenty of drama and excitement right down to the final whistle.

Korea Republic v. Germany (Group F)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
  • How to Watch: FS1

There is a ton to play for in Group F where a team with six points could potentially miss the knockout rounds depending on tiebreakers. Germany play its weakest opponent so far in South Korea where they may need to run up the score a bit to give them an edge should tiebreakers come into play.

Mexico v. Sweden (Group F)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Ekaterinburg Arena (Ekaterinburg)
  • How to Watch: FOX

It’s pretty cut and dry for Mexico entering this final match of group play, a draw against Sweden books a spot in the Round of 16 and the top spot in Group F. A win is simply a bonus for El Tri in this match. If Sweden comes away with all three points, then it could be complete chaos depending on margin of victory and goals scored.

Serbia v. Brazil (Group E)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Both Serbia and Brazil remain alive for a spot in the Round of 16, and frankly, control their own destiny in this match. A win from either side will be enough to lift them into the knockout stages and possibly the overall group victory.

Switzerland v. Costa Rica (Group E)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Switzerland will have its full squad for this matchup after Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri avoided suspensions from FIFA for controversial actions against Serbia. Costa Rica has already been eliminated but they have enough talent to play spoiler. A draw will be enough to qualify the Swiss for the Round of 16.

You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at FoxSports.com with a cable sign in.

If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.

All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time


Golden Boot Standings

The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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via beIN Sports

No change following Tuesday’s action.


Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.

Ranking World Cup goals: June 25, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Monday’s match play:

A dozen goals punched Monday’s card with some incredible drama in Group B closing the day. Will a penalty kick actually crack the top half of the ranking? As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 25, 2018

No. 12 – Salman Al Faraj – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt

This VAR-assisted ditty came during first-half stoppage time when Salman Al Faraj was taken down in the 18. The Saudi Arabian midfielder took advantage of the penalty kick ruling with an equalizer that gave Saudi Arabia its first goal of the tournament.

No. 11 – Khalid Boutaib – Morocco vs. Spain

A long run and an uncontested strike led to Morocco’s first goal in a very heated upset bid against Spain.n Better goals from this match are still to come.

No. 10 – Edinson Cavani – Uruguay vs. Russia

When Diego Godin’s initial header attempt off a corner kick was halted, Edinson Cavani was there to scoop up the rebound and net Uruguay’s third goal of the day, in the 90th minute against the host squad. 

No. 9 – Denis Cheryshev (own goal) – Uruguay vs. Russia

Denis Cheryshev found the net again, but this one wasn’t exactly helpful to the Russian cause. The set-piece sequence that led to this goal wrapped up when Diego Laxalt sent a boomer of Cheryshev’s leg that redirected into the Russian net, giving Uruguay a 2-0 lead at that point. 

No. 8 – Isco – Spain vs Morocco

While the world still waits for Spain to figure it out, Isco’s close-range finish off Andres Iniesta’s backdoor pass certainly made it look like Spain was about to overwhelm Morocco. Oh, how wrong we were.

No. 7 – Mohamed Salah – Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia

Just a little flick of the toe from Mohamed Salah after controlling this long through ball gave Egypt its first lead of the World Cup. Racing between two defenders and encountering a goalkeeper playing a little bit forward, Salah bumped this ball with just enough arc to get over what it needed to and into the net.

No. 6 – Salem Aldawsari – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt

This was a nice little segment of teamwork leading to a game-winning goal in a match that only meant that someone might leave Russia with a win. The flip afterward was also sharp.

No. 5 – Luis Suarez – Uruguay vs. Russia

It was at this very moment that Uruguay had clinched Group A. Luis Suarez, who has been relatively tame this tourney, struck this free kick as the wall on his right shifted. The only thing stopping this strike was the net.

No. 4 – Youssef En-Nesyri – Morocco vs. Spain

This header off a set piece triggered a two-game rampage of incredible chaos to close out happenings in Group B, where the only known end was that Morocco could only play spoiler. The 21-year-old’s 81st-minute goal gave Morocco a 2-1 lead and let the world imagine the unreal amounts of chaos that were to follow.

No. 3 – Ricardo Quaresma – Portugal vs. Iran

This was a banger. Glory be to the boot that scores Portugal’s first goal not tallied by Cristiano Ronaldo. With Group B still wide open, this looked like it was going to hold Portugal’s claim to the top spot with Iberian rival Spain locked in a struggle with Morocco, but …

No. 2 – Karim Ansarifard – Iran vs. Portugal

A hand ball in the 18 granted this penalty to Iran, taken by Karim Ansarifard. This top-corner screamer knotted the match and set up a finish where Iran alllllllllllmost got a second goal, the Group B crown and a spot in the Round of 16. Alas, a draw and elimination was awaiting Iran as Portugal held on to the second advancement from the group.

No. 1 – Iago Aspas – Spain vs. Morocco

So, VAR had to verify that Iago Aspas was not offside before granting this incredibly important equalizer. The back-heel deflection forged a draw for Spain and by virtue of having scored more goals than Portugal, which also finished with five points in Group B, gave Spain the top spot in the group.

World Cupdate: Late Drama in Group B

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Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.


Here’s What Happened: Monday, June 25th

The final round of group stage matches kicked off Monday and Group B brought all the drama you could ever want. Group A just the day started and Russia’s storybook tournament hit a snag in a 3-0 loss to Uruguay that relegated the hosts to second place in the group. Luis Suárez scored what turned out to be the game winning goal just 10 minutes in as his Uruguay side cruised to first place.

Over in Group B, Portugal were in position to win the group until their match with Iran entered stoppage time. A VAR awarded penalty brought Iran level and they came within inches of winning the game in the dying seconds. If Iran scored, Portugal would have been eliminated from competition and Iran would have won the group. Instead, Spain came out on top of Group B after a late goal gave them a draw with Morocco. Spain will now face Russia in the Round of 16 while Portugal jump across the bracket to take on Uruguay.

Uruguay 3-0 Russia

Uruguay and Russia were the first two teams to qualify for the Round of 16 and they squared off on Monday to determine the winner and runner-up of Group A. Ten minutes into the match, Luis Suárez opened the scoring from a free kick and Uruguay never looked back. One time Golden Boot leader Denis Cheryshev found the back of the net again but this time for the wrong team. His own goal gave Uruguay a 2-0 that looked insurmountable when Russia went down to 10 men.

Suárez’s striking partner Edinson Cavani capped the scoring his his first goal of the tournament in the 90th minute to put a final stamp on Uruguay’s spot atop Group A.

As group winner, Uruguay will now face Group B runner-up Portugal in the Round of 16 on Saturday. Russia will still move on and face Group B winner Spain on Sunday.

Goals

  • Luis Suárez | URU (10′)
  • Denis Cheryshev | URU (23′ OG)
  • Edinson Cavani | URU (90′)

Highlights

Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt

A disastrous 2018 World Cup became even uglier for Egypt in a 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their final match of the tournament. Mo Salah opened the scoring for Egypt and it appeared for a time that the Pharaohs may avoid being shut out in the standings. Unfortunately, that scoreline did not hold as Saudi Arabia equalized in first half stoppage time then found a late winner in second half stoppage time to claim all three points.

Saudi Arabia exits the 2018 World Cup with a small consolation victory while Egypt faces a muddied future with rumors floating around that Mo Salah is contemplating retirement from international football.

Goals

  • Mo Salah | EGY (22′)
  • Salman Al-Faraj | KSA (45’+6′ PEN)
  • Salem Al-Dawsari | KSA (90’+5′)

Highlights

Spain 2-2 Morocco

Ever since firing their manager less than 48 hours before their first match of the tournament, 2010 champions Spain have looked anything but convincing through two matches. Still needing a result against Morocco to advance to the knockout rounds, Spain stood on the brink of crashing out of the World Cup in the group stage for the second straight time. Morocco held two separate leads but Spain kept fighting back and were able to get a draw.

For most of the afternoon, Spain was on track to finish second in the group due to Portugal’s lead over Iran, but thanks to Iran’s late equalizer, Spain won Group B when all was said and done.

Spain live to see another day and now prepare to take on hosts Russia in the Round of 16 on Sunday in Moscow.

Goals

  • Khalid Boutaïb | MOR (14′)
  • Isco | ESP (19′)
  • Youssef En-Nesyri | MOR (81′)
  • Iago Aspas | ESP (90’+1′)

Highlights

Iran 1-1 Portugal

For 90 minutes, it appeared as if Portugal was going to not only cruise into the Round of 16, but do it as the winner of a surprisingly difficult Group B. Then second half stoppage time began and chaos broke loose between Portugal and Iran.

Ricardo Quaresma gave Portugal a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute of the first half and that lead remained in tact for almost the rest of the way until VAR awarded Iran with a penalty in second half stoppage time. Karim Ansarifard converted the penalty and all of the sudden, Iran was a goal away of advancing and knocking Portugal out of the competition. Iran came agonizingly close to a last second winner but the shot sailed wide and Portugal hung on for a draw and a spot in the Round of 16.

The late Iran goal did have a major impact on Group B as it dropped Portugal to second place in the group, setting up a date with Group A winner Uruguay on Saturday.

Goals

  • Ricardo Quaresma | POR (45′)
  • Karim Ansarifard | IRN (90’+3′ PEN)

Highlights

That wraps all action from Group A and Group B at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Uruguay, Russia, Spain, and Portugal all advance to the Round of 16. Next up, Group C and Group D contest their final group matches later today.


Goals of the Day

Match-day 3 of group stage competition is now underway in Russia, and with it, a few crowd pleasing strikes. Here are our three best from Monday’s action.

Luis Suárez (Uruguay)

No one knew it at the time, but this free kick goal from Luis Suárez turned out to be the Group A winning goal as his Uruguay side defeated Russia 3-0. Suárez avoids the wall with a low shot along the ground that beats the outstretched Russian goalkeeper.

Mo Salah (Egypt)

This is not the World Cup Mo Salah intended to have in any form but at least he still leaves Russia with two goals, including this beauty against Saudi Arabia. We can only hope this is not the last time we see Salah in a World Cup.

Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal)

The goal that quite simply put Portugal into the Round of 16 came courtesy of 34 year old Ricardo Quaresma with the outside of his right foot. Making his first start of the 2018 World Cup, Quaresma delivered for his team on the stroke of halftime.

Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.


Group Update

A dramatic beginning to the final round of group stage matches provides us with our first matchups of the Round of 16 after Group A and Group B completed their portion of the competition. Here’s how it all shakes out after Monday’s games.

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Group A Final Standings

Uruguay’s victory over Russia gives them all nine possible points from the group stage and the top spot in the group. Saudi Arabia’s late winner over Egypt sees them leave the World Cup with three points as a consolation prize.

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Group B Final Standings

A drama filled final match-day for Group B was decided in the final moments with both games ending in draws, setting the final group standings shown above. Spain wins the group courtesy the second tie-breaker over Portugal for most goals scored. Iran came agonizingly close to advancing but could not find a late winner against Portugal. Three strong games from Morocco only netted them a single point but still something to build on.

Round of 16 Outlook

Here is how the Round of 16 will shape up for teams from Group A and Group B.

Saturday, June 30:  Uruguay (1A) v. Portugal (2B)

Sunday, July 1: Spain (2A) v. Russia (1B)


Who is Moving on, Who is Going Home

As groups move through their third round of matches, the knockout bracket will being to fill out. Here are the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 and the teams that will be heading home.

Moving On

Group A: Uruguay, Russia

Group B: Spain, Portugal

Group C: France

Group D: Croatia

Group G: England and Belgium (seeding still TBD)

Going Home

Group A: Saudi Arabia, Egypt

Group B: Iran, Morocco

Group C: Peru

Group E: Costa Rica

Group G: Panama, Tunisia

Group H: Poland


Here’s What’s Next: Tuesday, June 26th

Looking at Tuesday’s World Cup schedule, there are many great storylines that could be born if results fall the right way. Messi could lead Argentina back from the brink, Nigeria could fly into the Round of 16, Iceland can write another fairytale. That’s just in Group D. Denmark could shock the world with an upset of France or Australia could make a surprise trip to the knockouts if things fall their way.

You won’t want to miss a second of Tuesday’s action. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s matches.

Australia v. Peru (Group C)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
  • How to Watch: FS1

If they hope to extend their stay in Russia, Australia knows it absolutely needs all three points from this game. Things will have to break their way in the other game as well but they need to take care of business on their end first. For Peru, leaving Russia with three points from this match would be reason for celebration after playing in their first World Cup since 1982.

Denmark v. France (Group C)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
  • How to Watch: FOX

The only guarantee going into this match is France will be advancing on regardless of the result. A win or draw for France sends it through as the group winner to face the runner-up from Group D. If Denmark can at least get a draw they will go through but all three points will give them the top spot in Group C.

Nigeria v. Argentina (Group D)

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via thehardtackle.com
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via thehardtackle.com
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Saint Petersburg Stadium (St. Petersburg)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Argentina have been in complete disarray since their loss to Croatia last week but there is still hope for a spot in the Round of 16. A win from Messi and Co. gives them four points and give them the inside track for the second place spot in the group. Nigeria are coming off a convincing win over Iceland and know they only need a draw to book their own spot in the next round.

Iceland v. Croatia (Group D)

  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Rostov Arena (Rostov-On-Don)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Two commanding performances from Croatia have placed it in the Group D driver’s seat heading into this final match day. Already in the Round of 16, Croatia will only need a draw to secure the top spot and take on the Group C runner-up. Iceland are a great story and could its inaugural World Cup into a fairytale if they can pull off the upset and steal all three points.

You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at FoxSports.com with a cable sign in.

If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.

All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time


Golden Boot Standings

The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Via beIN Sports

No real change here following Monday’s matches. Mo Salah jumps into the Top 10 for the time being with his goal against Saudi Arabia. Cristiano Ronaldo had an opportunity to tie Harry Kane but missed a penalty in the second half.


Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.

Explaining the Final Matches of the World Cup Group Stage

 

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It’s almost fitting the final round of group stage matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup begin today, June 25th. This day will mark the 36th anniversary since one of the great scandals in World Cup history that eventually changed the tournament for the better.

On June 25, 1982, in Gijón, Spain, West Germany took on Austria in their final group stage match of the 1982 World Cup played in Spain. The day prior, Algeria and Chile (who shared Group 2 with West Germany and Austria) played their final group match, a 3-2 victory for Algeria that put them in position to qualify for the next round. The issue was, West Germany and Austria knew the exact result they needed for both sides to advance and leave Algeria on the outside looking in.

A West Germany victory by two goals or less, meant both sides advanced to the next round. After ten minutes of play, West Germany took a 1-0 lead and jumped to the top of Group 2 for the time being. After the opening goal, knowing full well both sides were in a position to advance, both West Germany and Austria stopped trying. For the next 80 minutes, the teams simply passed the balls among themselves until the final whistle blew. It amounted to essentially fixing the game.

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El Molinón, site of the “Disgrace in Gijón”

Cries of match fixing went up immediately but an investigation determined neither side broke any rules and were allowed to continue their tournament. The infamous match earned the title of “Disgrace of Gijón” or Anschluss, which carries a much darker historical context.

Issues of match fixing plagued the 1978 World Cup and this just piled on the embarrassment for FIFA. Beginning with the 1986 World Cup in 1986, FIFA instituted a new rule that all final matches of group stage play for each group would be contested concurrently. This meant the matches would be playing at the same time, thus preventing collusion between two sides to stage the outcome of a match. All four teams in a group would have to play their final match without the knowledge of the happenings in the other match.

Jumping ahead to present day, the busiest days of the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia are about to begin. Between June 25th and June 28th, the final group stage matches will be contested to determine who moves on to the Round of 16 and who will be heading home. During those four days, four separate group stage matches will be played each day, beginning with Group A and Group B on Monday.

Every day at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, two matches will be going on at the same time and both matches will be teams from the same group. This is all to prevent another “Disgrace in Gijón” and has proven an effective method since being implemented back in 1986.

Here’s what a typical daily schedule will look like for the final round of group play this week:

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Group C & D: Tuesday; Group E & F: Wednesday; Group G & H: Thursday

So, if you’re tuning into the World Cup this week and wondering why two matches are running at the same time after they have been staggered up this point, you can place the blame on West Germany and Austria for their bit of collusion that changed the World Cup forever. It can make watching all the matches a bit more difficult (having to flip between channels) but ultimately it makes for a better tournament in the long run.