For the first time since 1994, no team finished the group stage with maximum points. Teams like Brazil & France who confirmed qualification to the knockout stages after their second game couldn’t wrap up their last game with a win.
Tears & Disappointments
Belgium, Germany & Denmark disappointed at the world Cup as they failed to progress to the knockout phase. Ranked #2 in the World, I had predicted the Red Devils to reach the final but they were cast out of Group F by Morocco. The “Golden Generation” were below par with Lukaku missing a lot of chances in their final game. It is only fair that the team have parted ways with Roberto Martinez.
Germany finished 3rd in Group E with 4pts. Spain were only better on GD and reaped from the German victory over Costa Rica in the final group matches. Unfortunately Spain were stunned by Japan as the result didn’t favour their UEFA colleagues.
Denmark were poor and finished group D bottom of the table with just a point. They needed a win in their last game against Australia but the Australians stunned them with a 1-0 win. Serbia & Wales were the other European team that finished at the bottom.
Suarez was in tears as Uruguay failed to qualify despite beating Ghana 2-0 in the final game. Another goal would have pushed them through but they would head home in sadness.
Joy & Jubilation
Morocco & Senegal made Africa proud by reaching the last 16 of the competition. The former finished with 7pts in a group that had 2nd ranked Belgium, 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia & 2026 co-host Canada. The 2-0 victory over Belgium was a delight.
The Asian continent were in joyous mood as Japan, Korea and Australia scaled the hurdles of the group stage. Japan beat previous champions Spain & Germany in Group E.
Despite losing their opening game, Argentina finished top of group C. Brazil, England, Netherlands, France, Croatia & Portugal expectedly progressed.
Despite finishing bottom of Group H and failing to take revenge against Uruguay, Ghana would head home sipping the tears of Suarez & Uruguay as a consolation. They were both knocked out last night.
Aboubakar’s header in added time was enough as Cameroon defeated a second string Brazil 1-0. The Federation president Eto had predicted that his side would win the trophy but they would take the victory over Brazil as a consolation.
Saudi Arabia may have lost their last 2 matches but they head home with a chip on their shoulders for beating Argentina 2-1. Tunisia finished third but would be consoled by the 1-0 victory over defending champions France. Hosts Qatar would take the consolation of scoring a goal in the World Cup.
Last 16 Fixtures
One half of the knockout stage is made up of Europeans & Africans. The other half is Asian, American with 2 European teams. There is a possibility of having a South American semi final.
Ben White is back home for some personal reasons. Matt Turner, Bukayo Saka, Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saka, Martinelli & Jesus remain in Qatar.
The team in London is preparing for the Dubai Super Cup.