The final day of the group stage in the World Cup has arrived,as things will be decided in Group G with the United States facing Germany and Portgual taking on Ghana, while we’ll see some decisions as well in Group H in matches between South Korea and Belgium and Algeria playing against Russia.
The United States have been very impressive so far in the tournament and if it wasn’t for a late goal by Portugal they’d be playing Germany for first place (which they are, also) and not just the right to be in the round of 16 for a second consecutive time. A very strong and dynamic midfield unit has been able to dominate against both Portugal and Ghana, although with a slightly different approach in each game.
Germany disappointed in their draw against Ghana. Not enough minutes of playing quick football on attack, and too few minutes of actually controlling the pace and direction of the match. The American side might not be as talented as the Africans of this group, but they have the ability to cause a lot of problems. In any case, a draw helps both teams qualify, while a win cements the place of one and complicates things for the other, especially if Germany are the winners thanks to the goal difference.
Portugal have been a massive disappointment which they are now trying to conceal by saying there shouldn’t have been any expectations. Injuries and suspensions have been piling up. Ghana have played well in both their matches but only have one point to show for it. While they’re probably a stronger side than Portugal, they can’t afford to be careless in their attempt to get a win they must have because of the danger Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani pose through counter attacks. A win for each team will give them a shot at qualifying, especially Ghana. Portugal will need some goal difference help. A draw doesn’t help anyone.
Things are quite simple for Belgium, who need a draw to claim first place or simply hear about Algeria not winning in the other match. South Korea have been a disappointment so far, especially in the way they’ve been defending. Their need for a win might open up things for Belgium which we didn’t see in previous matches, and see a lot more from Romelu Lukaku (if he actually plays), Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne. South Korea need a win, nothing but, to leave themselves a chance to qualify.
Of course, it depends on the match between Algeria and Russia. Even if South Korea wins, it might not be enough for them if we have a draw in the match at Curitiba. Total goals or goal difference might come into play. For Russia, it’s just about a win, and even then, it also depends if South Korea win or not and by how much. A draw or a loss and it’s once again over way too soon for a side that’s been failing miserably in the World Cup since the break of the USSR.