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FIFA Fever: Portugal faces a resurgent Iran as WC moves towards knockout stage

Panama showed the world how to celebrate even a loss. Though the team received a 6-1 drubbing in its tie against England, Panamanian fans loudly cheered their country’s first ever goal in a FIFA World Cup match. The English team methodically kept scoring goals throughout the match – Harry Kane (scored a hattrick), John Stones (2 goals) and Jesse Lingard (1 goal). Felipe Baloy, Panama team’s oldest player, brought cheer to the huge contingent of fans present at the stadium when he scored a goal in the 78th minute. 

In the preceding match between Japan and Senegal, Japan’s goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima made an error of judgement while making a save by pushing the ball towards Senegal’s Sadio Mane, who swiftly put the ball behind the net. However, Japan made a quick comeback with a curling shot by Takashi Inui. Their stalemate continued till the 2nd half, where in the 71st minute M Wague of Senegal scored immediately followed by a goal from Japan’s Keisuke’s Honda. The 32-year old Honda has been responsible for 6 out of 8 WC goals for Japan. The final score Japan 2 – Senegal 2. 

Saving the best for last, Colombia outplayed Poland 3-0 and ended their aspirations for the WC. Scoring for the Colombians were Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao, and Juan Cuadrado. Colombia’s tremendous victory also broke the previous day’s record for most goals scored in a day by a small margin. 

The third week of the FIFA World Cup Russia has commenced with Round 2 of the Group qualifiers coming to an end on Sunday. By winning two consecutive matches, Russia, Uruguay, France, Belgium, Mexico, and England have already secured their place in the top 16 knockout stage. Only a single victory is holding back Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan, and Senegal from joining the top 16. Colombia, with one win and one loss, might also have a chance. 

The teams whose futures in this WC dangle by a thread are Argentina, Iceland, Germany, and Sweden. Argentina will be in a position to enter the knockout stages only if they defeat their next opponents, Nigeria. On the other hand, Iceland will be facing Croatia who are in great shape this WC. A victory against Nigeria in their previous game would have clinched Iceland’s chances of making it to the knockout stage, but that was not to be and now they will have to contend with the toughest team in their Group to qualify. 

In Group F, with Mexico in the lead, Germany who defeated Sweden, stand the best chance of qualifying. It would be a shame if the defending champion’s run in the WC ends in the Group stage itself. We expect to see a lot more of them ahead. 

Day 12 of the FIFA World Cup Russia will commence with the simultaneous games of Egypt vs Saudi Arabia and Russia vs Uruguay. Neither of the pairs has much on the line except their pride and we look forward to see what kind of performance Russia will put up against Uruguay, a strong team in this WC. Till now Russia has won easy victories against the weaker teams in their Group. Uruguay will be the real test to see if Russia has what it takes to go far in this WC. Similarly, Uruguay hasn’t put up much of a performance in their last two games, scoring 1 goal in each match against their opponents.. The game against Russia will give them a real chance to prove their fitness. 

Later in the day we will have to choose between the matches between Portugal vs Iran and Spain vs Morocco. Morocco, which has already registered two losses in this WC, is unlikely to make a comeback in their 3rd match against Spain, one of the toughest teams in Group B. Thus, our eyes will be glued to the match between Portugal and Iran. Iran is in a better position to put up a good fight against Portugal. However, we are more interested to see how many goals Ronaldo will score in the game. 

SonyLIV is one of the premium OTT platforms in India and the official mobile and internet broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup 2018. It is the go to destination for all football fanatics. 

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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