Tunisia vs Belgium (23, June 2018 by 1pm)
All African eyes would be on Tunisia today as they square up against a super talented Belgium side at the Spartak stadium in Russia, having watched helplessly as Egypt and Morocco limped to successive defeats in their respective groups to crash out of the ongoing World Cup, A win for Tunisia won’t be too much to dream for fans of Africa knowing anything short of that would mean the North African side will be joining their neighbors on a flight home. The Super Eagles of Nigeria did the continent proud in their second group game, two second half goals off the boots of Leicester forward, Ahmed Musa blew the group wide open and offered Argentina some hopes, Tunisia would look to fire in Russia today following their compatriots’ heroics against Iceland.
Belgium won’t come easy, they’re loaded with quality talents everywhere on the pitch but they weren’t so spectacular against Panama and could be caught unawares by Tunisia, on paper, the Red Devils should blow Tunisia away but this is the FIFA World Cup, where Argentina are on the brink of elimination, where Brazil were held by Switzerland, where Germany were stunned by Mexico, everything is possible with belief, precision and discipline.
No star name in the Tunisia squad as opposed to the gladiators on the Belgian side but it’s a game of football where names mean nothing, it would take virtually everything to get a result here for Tunisia, the silly defensive error that forced a corner for Harry Kane to score the winner in their opener against England must be effectively fixed, elements of luck would be needed too but they first must do their parts, miracle is indeed needed.
Verdict: Belgium to win
South Korea vs Mexico (23, June 2018 by 4pm)
Here’s a fixture of two tireless animals, the Mexico we saw against Germany shocked everyone, ran their socks off for the entire duration of the game, took their chance when they got one and could even have been more had they been clinical enough when they broke on the counter, it’s no cheap feat to beat Germany at this kind of stage, they deserved the result and definetly would relish it for a long time. South Korea weren’t so lucky against Sweden, the Scandinavian nation found a routine way to dump Korea and pick precious three points in a group that has wounded Germans, who needs this more? It ordinarily should be the Koreans but knowing that a loss here and a win for Germany put all four teams on three points and throwing it wide open, Mexico won’t take chances, their performance against Germany was worthy of the trophy, they will show it wasn’t a fluke.
South Korea have it all to play for here, no realistic mathematics would favour them if they fail to win here, regardless of whatever happens in the other fixture from the group, they have to keep their own fate in their hands and win here, this makes this a cracker of note. What went wrong for Korea in their opening game? Momentary loss of concentration and poor finishing, they have to fix this if they don’t want an early exit from the championship, strength, pace and gritty guts worked brilliantly for Mexico in their opener, more of that and they just might stroll to victory here.
Verdict: Mexico to win or draw
Germany vs Sweden (23, June 2018 by 7pm)
Bookmakers had a bad day last weekend when Mexico stunned Germany with a sleek performance of monstrous nature, you must love the Mexicans if you love football, power, pace and gut, the defending champions were blown away, and now the mission is simple, win or go home, if they draw here, Sweden would only need a point against Mexico on last group match day to advance, it would be embarrassing to say the least for the super talented defending champions to crash out in the group stage, not for the first time though, Spain didn’t make it past the group stages in Rio at the last edition. Sweden conquered South Korea in their opener, they were disciplined, defended deep when needed and threatened every time they were on the ball, now they have to fight for their lives, it’s very much in their hands, on paper they are very much inferior but they can get a point if they learn from Mexico, no point respecting anyone, take the battle to them and defend together, 90minutes of concentration is needed if you want a result. For Germany, it’s time for the stars to stand up and be counted, reports saying Ozil and Khedira are unfit to play aren’t confirmed yet, but worst case, they have enough fire power to replace them, Sweden have three players down to stomach bug too but that won’t be tenable as excuses, this is the World Cup.
Verdict: Germany to win
Strictly the writer’s opinion (@komptrolla on twitter)