World Cupdate: Group Stage Comes to a Close

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.


  • Jan Bednarek | POL (59′)


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.


  • Yerry Mina | COL (74′)


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.


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


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.


  • Adnan Januzaj | BEL (51′)


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.

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 6.46.41 PM

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.

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)

  • 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)

  • 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 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.

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 7.10.15 PM.png
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.