While Group E provided us with little drama as Brazil beat Serbia and Switzerland drew with Costa Rica to qualify from the top two spots, the earlier matches in Group F were truly stunning: South Korea beat Germany 2-0 to send the world champions after three matches, despite getting a huge favor from Sweden, stunning Mexico with a 3-0 win.
Mexico, through from second place despite the loss, will face Brazil in the round of 16, while Sweden play a difficult European foe in Switzerland.
South Korea 2 Germany 0
Final in 2002. Semi final in 2006. Semi Final in 2010. Champions in 2014. A golden era is over for the German national side, crashing out of the group stage for the first time ever. A lackluster, feeble and almost apathetic at times, resulted in South Korea snatching a 2-0 win in the final minutes with historic goals by Kim Young-Gwon and Son Heung-Min, making the most of Manuel Neuer going on a needless adventure far from goal. The surprising fact in this match was also the lack of urgency or ability by the Germans despite knowing that Mexico was trailing against Sweden.
Sweden 3 Mexico 0
The ending to this stunning match provided one of the more surreal scenes of the tournament: Mexican fans celebrating after being petrified since the moment El Tri went down by one goal, while Swedish players were celebrating one of the side’s greatest World Cup wins, all that without the jealous Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Sweden was prepared for Mexico’s counter attacking approach, deploying a direct and physical style of their own which was too much for Osorio’s player. In the end, both sides go through to the next round, although it’s clear which one is happier.
Group F Table
Mexico go through second place with two wins but a surprising negative goal difference. Sweden finish first thanks to their impressive win over the Mexicans while Germany, more than not qualifying, finish in shocking last place.
Serbia 0 Brazil 2
Brazil complete another win to finish first in Group E and set themselves a meeting with Mexico, a familiar foe. Goals from Paulinho and Thiago Silva meant the Brazilians didn’t have to really worry, despite short stretches of defensive confusion and Serbia pressure. Serbia, despite winning their opener and dominating Switzerland for about a half, fail to leave a mark in their first World Cup since 2010, going home following the group stage with just 3 points and 2 goals.
Switzerland 2 Costa Rica 2
In a match few believed would yield a surprise, Costa Rica actually got their first goals and point of the tournament thanks to an own goal by Switzerland’s goalkeeper deep into injury time, but Switzerland’s place in the round of 16, pretty much a tradition by now, was never in real doubt, both due to their leads and thanks to Brazil’s promising lead over Serbia.
Group E Table
No big surprises as Brazil finish first after two consecutive 2-0 wins, while Switzerland follow, finishing the group stage undefeated. Serbia lost their grip on one of the two tickets the moment they lost their lead against Switzerland in the previous match. Costa Rica can claim they didn’t go 0-for-3 without any goals in the tournament, although they fall short of their performance four years ago.
Goal of the Day – Son Heung-Min, South Korea
The Tottenham star put the final nail in Germany’s World Cup hopes and dreams with a goal that will be mostly remembered for Manuel Neuer losing the ball so far away from goal.
5 goals: Harry Kane (England)
4 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
3 goals: Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain)
2 goals: Artem Dzyuba (Russia), Mile Jedinak (Australia), Luka Modric (Croatia), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), Eden Hazard (Belgium), John Stones (England), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Son Heung-Min (South Korea), Andreas Granqvist (Sweden)
1 goal: Yuri Gazinsky, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Jose Maria Gimenez, Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Nacho, Isco, Iago Aspas (Spain), Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe (France), Sergio Agüero, Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo (Argentina), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Christian Eriksen,Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark), Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela, Chicharito (México), Neymar, Paulinho, Thiago Silva (Brazil), Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Blerim Dzemaili, Josip Drmic (Switzerland), Ola Toivonen, Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden), Dries Mertens, Michy Batshuayi (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi, Dylan Bronn, Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osaka, Takashi Inui, Keisuke Honda (Japan), Juan Quintero, Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado (Colombia), M’Baye Niang, Sadio Mane, Moussa Wague (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland), Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic (Croatia), Kim Young-Gwon (South Korea), Marco Reus (Germany), Jesse Lingard (England), Felipe Baloy (Panama), Salman Al Faraj, Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia), Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal), Khalid Boutaib, Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco), Karim Ansarifard (Irán), Andre Carrillo, Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Kendall Watson (Costa Rica)
Day 15 Matches:
Japan vs Poland (Group H)
Senegal vs Colombia (Group H)
England vs Belgium (Group G)
Panama vs Tunisia (Group G)