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FIFA Fever: Argentina in last 16; All eyes on Neymar & Brazil today

David Beckham’s prediction of an Argentina-England clash in the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals might be a possibility after all as Argentina just about managed to scrap through to knockout stage. In its tie against Nigeria, Lionel Messi and Marcos Rojo scored to give Argentina a 2-1 win. But till about 5 minutes short of the final whistle, both teams were tied 1-1 till Rojo’s goal sent the blue and white clad fans to a celebratory frenzy. 

Though France was held to a goalless draw by Denmark, it topped Group C with 7 points and entered the last 16. France will meet Argentina on June 30 in their knockout stage tie. Denmark is now placed second in the Group, thus entering the last 16. The team will meet the strong Croatia on July 1. 

Croatia has remained unbeaten in this World Cup so far and tops Group D with 9 points. The team beat Iceland 2-1, with goals scored by Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic in the second half. For Iceland, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the lone goal. 

Meanwhile, Peru registered its first win in this WC by defeating Australia 2-0. The team is placed third in Group C, with Australia at the bottom of the group. 

There are rare moments in football when the concerted efforts of a team to make headway in a match fail, but a single moment of excellence from an individual can tip the scales in favour. In this WC, the first such instance was the free kick by Cristiano Ronaldo that tore Portugal away from the clutches of defeat in their match against Spain. Another such moment was the masterful free kick by Toni Kroos that delivered the reigning champions Germany from a draw with Sweden that many would consider a defeat. This performance by Kroos has lifted him to the respect and admiration of football fans around the globe. Germany that prefers to rely on a team centric strategy rather than bet on the strength of a single player might reconsider their thinking in the aftermath of their recent performance. 

Korea Republic has lost two matches and has been ousted from the WC. Despite this, fans of the team may have something to cheer for as striker Son Heung-Min scored their first goal in the tournament against Mexico. Since the pressure of qualifying has been lifted from their shoulders, we might see Korea Republic deploy more dangerous tactics against Germany. Die Mannshaft may face difficulty trying to keep up with Korea’s pace. The match will be aired at 7.30 pm (IST). 

Viewers can now enjoy all the sporting action on their personal devices anywhere, anytime with SonyLIV. SonyLIV presents the ‘Super Sports’ pack at just Rs.199 for 6 months. 

Also airing at 7.30 pm will be the match between Mexico and Sweden. Mexico will face their toughest challenger in Group E – Sweden. Sweden still has a slight chance of making it to the knockout stage if they defeat Mexico. After the exit of Zlatan Ibrahmovic, it was striker Marcus Berg who became essential to Sweden’s offense. Now with his team skirting the edges of elimination, the pressure will be on him to score for his team. 

From the Mexican side we expect the veteran Javier Hernandez and “Nacho” Hirving Lozano to exploit the chinks in Sweden’s defense. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio has guided his team successfully in their previous games will grapple with the difficult task of balancing their offense and defense against Sweden. 

In the latter half of the day’s matches starting at 11.30 pm IST, Switzerland will face Costa Rica, while Brazil will take on Serbia to determine the successful teams of Group E. Brazil and Switzerland, who have clocked one win and one draw each, stand the best chance of qualifying. Serbia with one win and one defeat will hope for an upset against Brazil, relying on Aleksandar Mitrovic to deliver the winning goal. 

SonyLIV is the official mobile and internet broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup 2018. Check out Match Centre on SonyLIV, where viewers can see live scores, player positions, team data, match statistics and live commentary. For a more engaging experience, users can set reminders or view the entire schedule, while the points table gives a quick update on the standings, scores, etc. Additionally, SonyLIV has also created a fan-zone on second screen that users can access on their mobile phones or tablets and experience features like match predictions, emotion meter, polls and contests, even as they watch the game in real-time. 

Other features include, viewing missed games with snippets and clips of key moments from every match along with highlights. To cater to the widest possible range of viewers, SonyLIV will be available in six simultaneous audio feeds - Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and English.

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