As we move into the third week of the tournament, the group stages draw to a close. The final four games before the round of 16 get underway all take place on day 15. There are some good looking games to come as England play their third and final group game against the Belgians.
Match 1: Senegal Vs Columbia- 15:00 K.O.
The Senegalese may be tempted to field a defensive line up as they only require a point to go through. While the manager has heaped the pressure on star man Sadio Mane. He believes he can do better despite his strong and much-improved performance against Japan.
Carlos Sanchez maybe reinstated to the Columbian line up. He returns after serving a 1 match ban for his 3rd-minute red card in the opening game. Although his midfield partner Abel Aguilar is unlikely to be risked. He picked up a Knock in the previous match against Poland.
Senegal have 5 players away from a suspension after receiving yellow cards, while Columbia only have 2. James Rodriguez and Wilmar Baros are the Columbian culprits one card away from a ban. The Columbian’s could go through if they win or if they secure a draw and Japan loses to Poland. They would go through due to their superior goal difference.
Live on BBC One from 14:30
- Senegal have faced South American opponents just once before in the World Cup, drawing 3-3 in their final group game in 2002 against Uruguay (a game in which they led 3-0).
- They have conceded three goals from just seven shots on target faced at this World Cup.
- Colombia’s 3-0 win against the Poles equalled their biggest win at the World Cup (in 2014 they beat Greece 3-0 and Japan 4-1).
- James Rodriguez has six goals and four assists in seven World Cup appearances.
Match 2: Japan Vs. Poland- 15:00 K.O.
Kamil Glik looks set to return for eliminated Poland after a shoulder injury. While other changes are expected from the Polish side. Shinji Okazaki of Leicester who has made two substitute appearances thus far could be in with a shout to start.
Japan only require a point to qualify for the next round. Their captain meanwhile, says his side is not one that can play for a point by carrying out a negative plan.
Live on BBC 2 from 14:45
- The only previous occasion Japan went through a World Cup group stage unbeaten was as co-hosts in 2002 (W2, D1).
- Japan have failed to score in four of their last five World Cup games against European opponents (W1, D2, L2), with their only goals coming in a 3-1 victory over Denmark in 2010.
- The last time that Poland went winless at a World Cup was on their debut in 1938. The tournament was pure knockout, and they were beaten 6-5 by Brazil after extra time.
- Poland’s only previous World Cup meeting with an Asian side was their 2-0 defeat to tournament co-hosts South Korea in 2002.
Match 3: Tunisia Vs. Panama- 19:00 K.O.
Panama will look to bow out of their first world cup in style as they face an equally physical Tunisian side.
Tunisia have two goalkeeping injuries as Mouez Hassen injured his shoulder in the first match while Farouk Ben Mustapha injured his knee in training. Dylan Bronn was carried off against Belgium following a knee injury.
Panama will be looking to add to their first ever World Cup goal but will have to do it without Michael Murillo and Armando Cooper. Both players are suspended after picking up their second tournament yellows against England.
Live on ITV
- Panama have conceded nine goals from 13 shots on target faced so far at the World Cup.
- Against England, Panama’s Felipe Baloy scored his country’s first World Cup goal. He did so at the age of 37 years and 120 days.
- Tunisia are winless in their last 13 World Cup matches (drew four, lost nine) since winning their first ever World Cup match in 1978 against Mexico.
- Tunisia have already conceded more goals at this World Cup (seven) than they did in any of their previous four tournaments. Their previous high was six conceded in 2006.
Match 4: England Vs. Belgium- 19:00 K.O.
Both sides are still unsure if first or second is going to be the best option. England will still look to win this one as it could prove to be a massive confidence boost and provide momentum going into the next round.
Roberto Martinez is expected to field changes as he looks set to rest Lukaku and Hazard. With the former picking up a slight knock in the last game. England are expected to stay relatively unchanged as they look to secure three wins out of three.
Belgium come into the tournament with the heavy expectation that England teams of the past once had. While the England side has relatively little expectation. Compared to previous years at least. Could this be a deciding factor in the game?
The game will be live on ITV
- This will be the third meeting between England and Belgium at the World Cup, with England so far unbeaten in their encounters. They drew 4-4 in 1954 and the Three Lions won 1-0 in the second round in 1990, with a volley from David Platt.
- Belgium has won just one of its 21 meetings with England (D5 L15) – a 3-2 victory in May 1936.
- Belgium has won its last two World Cup matches by a margin of three goals – no team has ever won three consecutive matches at the World Cup by three or more goals.
- England has already scored eight goals in the 2018 World Cup (level with 1954 and ’90). The only time the Three Lions ever scored more in a single edition of the competition was in 1966 (11 goals).
Read more posts by Will Dent