The second round of the 2018 World Cup group stage matches will conclude with England hoping to beat Panama convincingly, Colombia and Poland attempting to bounce back from opening losses while Japan and Senegal go head to head for supremacy in Group H, perhaps even clinching a spot in the next round.
England vs Panama
While England looked dominant and some might say good during long portions of their win over Tunisia, it was still a victory that came in injury time. Panama, on paper, are a weaker opponent than the North African side, but presented plenty of frustrating moments for Belgium before they fell apart. In short – if England want to qualify, they must win this one and seal the deal. If they want to qualify from first place – this needs to be a big win.
Prediction – England win, but it’s not at all certain that the goals will flow freely.
Japan vs Senegal
An intriguing match between the two winners of the first day in Group H. Senegal, a team relying on Premier League talent, boast a very dominant spine with a centre back duo and trio of central midfielders that makes playing against them a very difficult ordeal. It’s hard to analyze Japan due to the 88-minute one man advantage they held against Colombia. They’ll have to watch for counter attacks, and especially where Sadio Mane is at all times, or if there’s a Senegali player coming off the bench to enter the match at an opportune moment.
Prediction – I don’t think Japan win this match. Beyond that? Hard to say. I’m leaning towards Senegal, but a draw won’t knock me off my feet.
Poland vs Colombia
From what we saw in the first match of both sides, Poland have a tactical problem, and especially a fragility in the back. Things shouldn’t be ideal there for Colombia either, so this could mean we’re going to see quite a few goals. Both sides don’t really believe in hanging back, which is good for those who like to see defensive mistakes and plenty of attacking flair.
Prediction – Poland just peaked too early in this World Cup cycle. Draw or a win for Colombia.