The second last day of group stage action sees Groups E and F take to the field with spots in the Round of 16 still available for almost every nation.
Group F get the day started at 2am (AEDT) with world number two Belgium taking on 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia.
Belgium currently sit third in the group standings and must win if they’re to advance. A draw would be enough for Croatia to move into the next stage.
Canada’s World Cup hopes are over, but they can spoil Morocco’s party if they defeat them and Belgium topple Croatia. A draw for Morocco is enough to get them through provided Croatia win.
Germany have everything to play for in their final group game against Costa Rica. The 2014 champs have to win and hope Spain don’t fall to Japan.
A Japan win would put them atop the standings in Group E and would see Spain through unless Germany can pull off a 9-0 victory.
You can see the full list of results and the full group standings here.
11.30pm: France demands FIFA overturn its defeat
France is demanding FIFA change the official result of its 1-0 defeat to Tunisia last night, claiming its last gasp equaliser was wrongly overturned.
The loss doesn’t technically matter for the reigning world champions, who finished at the top of their group anyway and will face Poland in the round of 16. And the victory wasn’t enough to send Tunisia through – the African nation was doomed by Australia’s win over Denmark.
Even so, the French Football Federation has issued a statement announcing its intention to submit a written complaint.
France fielded a second-string team against Tunisia, resting all eleven of its usual starters, though several of them did come on in the second half with their team losing.
One of them, Antoine Griezmann, thought he’d scored in the final minute of stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw. And initially, New Zealand referee Matthew Conger agreed.
Conger allowed a despondent Tunisia to kick off before he was instructed to consult the footage and reconsider the goal. He eventually ruled, perhaps controversially, that Griezmann had come back from an offside position.
France believes that, under FIFA rules, the referee should not have been allowed to review the goal after play had restarted.
10pm: Giant facing second straight Cup embarrassment
Germany hoisted the World Cup trophy in 2014, the fourth time in its history it had achieved football’s highest aim.
It had previously been runner up in 2002, and had finished in third place in both 2006 and 2010, so the championship was hardly unexpected.
Outside of 1938, every time Germany had qualified for a World Cup it had finished inside the top eight.
But since that joyous moment in 2014, the German outfit has been a hollow shell of the team that struck fear into the hearts of opponents.
In its past five World Cup outings Germany has only managed to secure one victory, in 2018 against Sweden.
Early on Friday morning, our time, it faces Costa Rica, and is tasked with doing what it has struggled so surprisingly hard to do in recent times: win.
A draw won’t be enough for the four-time World Cup winner and it would make it two straight World Cup campaigns prematurely ended at the group stage.
A far cry from the dominance to which we’ve grown accustomed from the European powerhouse over the years.
Story Credit: news.com.au