We’ve almost completed the first week and first round of matches in the group stage. So, what is in store for today?
Match 1: Colombia v Japan
These two nations met each other in Brazil four years ago. On that night, the Colombians were firing on all cylinders as they put Japan to the sword winning 4-1. What will the scoreline be this time around?
At the last World Cup, Colombia won the hearts of many neutral fans after a string of exciting performances. They progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time ever, where they were narrowly beaten by the hosts and they will aiming to emulate that accomplishment this time around.
With players like James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, Colombia have plenty of firepower to cause any defence problems.
Japan only made their FIFA World Cup debut in 1998 but they have been a fixture on the world stage ever since. This will be their sixth consecutive appearance in the World Cup and they will be hoping they can achieve their best ever performance by progressing past the Round of 16 for the first time.
However, it was a difficult qualifying campaign for The Samurai Blue. They’ve changed their manager ahead of the tournament and he intends to stay true to his attacking approach.
This promises to be a very open match and the BBC will be building up to kick off from 12:30pm.
Match 2: Poland v Senegal
This is the final match in the first round of the group stage and coverage will start on ITV at 3:30pm.
Poland will certainly be hoping that Robert Lewandowski can continue his good form. Not only is Lewandowski coming off the back of a great season for Bayern Munich, (41 goals in all competitions), he was the top scorer in the World Cup qualifying campaign with 16 goals in 10 games. That was more than half of Poland’s total goals.
However, Senegal have a superstar striker of their own. Sadio Mane scored 20 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season. Poland only managed to keep two clean sheets in qualifying so that will certainly boost Mane’s confidence even more.
Senegal will also be hoping the experience of their manager will help them get out of the group. Aliou Cisse captained Senegal at their only previous World Cup back in 2002, where they reached the quarter-finals.
Match 3: Russia v Egypt
The second round of matches in the group stage begins tonight at 7pm and the BBC will have you covered from 6:30pm.
These two nations come into this match off the back of two polarizing results. Russia sit top of the group after hammering Saudi Arabia 5-0, whereas Egypt suffered defeat to Uruguay 1-0 from a last minute winner.
Confidence should be high in the Russian camp after an unexpected goal fest in the tournament curtain raiser. The stakes will be raised even higher tonight though as a win will see the hosts qualify for the Round of 16.
Egypt know that anything other than a win tonight will probably see them crash out of the tournament. A defeat will mean almost certain elimination and a draw might not be any better as they will need Saudi Arabia to beat Uruguay, which seems an impossible task.
There is some good news for Egyptian fans though. Mohamed Salah looks set to return to the starting eleven after not featuring in the opening game. They will be hoping that the “Egyptian King” will be able to pull off even more heroics.
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