Day 5 of the 2018 World Cup completes the action in Group F with Sweden facing South Korea as both sides draw hope from the other result in the group. Group H presents two potentially one-sided affairs: Belgium facing Panama and England taking on Tunisia.
Sweden vs South Korea
Before the tournament, these two teams were considered the weak links in Group F. However, following Germany’s loss to Mexico, everything is up for grabs. The Swedes are in the tournament without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but with most of the side that knocked out Italy in the playoffs, relying on very physical football alongside long balls to Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen. South Korea are the antithesis to Sweden in more than just their size, relying more on quick passing near the goal, hoping that Son Heung-Min carries his form from Tottenham to the biggest international stage.
Prediction: Sweden might not be brilliant, but their no nonsense approach and focus on a style that is exactly the biggest weakness South Korea has should see them join Mexico at the top of the group.
Belgium vs Panama
While results are never easy to predict, the dynamic of a match is. This one will be 90 minutes of pressure from Belgium on the Panamanian goal, and it only remains to be seen just how attacking Roberto Martinez will choose to be in this match. Romelu Lukaku will start, and he’ll have plenty of support to break down a tight defense, but one that Belgium have the tools to beat, both in terms of long range shooters and close-space dribblers and passers.
Prediction: Big win for Belgium
Tunisia vs England
Even if the expectations from England aren’t as high as in years past, the pressure is always there, maybe even more so against sides Gareth Southgate’s players are supposed to beat. Tunisia, unlike their neighbours from Morocco, approach the match a bit more pragmatically, which means defense first and thinking about a draw instead of winning. All eyes will be on Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, those flagged as England’s key players with impressive club seasons that need replicating during the summertime.
Prediction: Not pretty, but still a win for England.