With the group stages complete we’re getting down to the business end of the World Cup. The tournament in Russia has thrown up some shocks already at the mid-way point in the competition and there’s plenty more where that come from as we look at the best Hublot Moments from each day of the knockout phase.
Saturday 30th June
France 4 – 3 Argentina
Uruguary 2 – 1 Portugal
Sunday 1st July
Spain 1 – 1 Russia (Russia win 4-3 on penalties)
Croatia 1 – 1 Denmark (Croatia win 3 – 2 on penalties)
Monday 2nd July
Brazil 2 – 0 Mexico
Belgium 3 – 2 Japan
Tuesday 3rd July
Colombia 1 – 1 England (England win 4 – 3 penalties)
Sweden 1 – 0 Switzerland
Friday 6th July
Uruguay 0 – 2 France
Brazil 1 – 2 Belgium
Saturday 7th July
Sweden 0 – 2 England
Russia 2 – 2 Croatia (Croatia win 4 – 3 on penalties)
Tuesday 10th July
France 1 – 0 Belgium
Wednesday 11th July
Croatia 2 – 1 England
Saturday 14th July
Belgium 2 – 0 England
Sunday 15th July
France 4 – 2 Croatia
Good morning, Denzil Pinto here with everything you need to know in the world of sport.
The anticipation is building and the clock is ticking as the World Cup enters the knockout stages. This evening’s last-16 games are a football treat as Paul Pogba and his France team-mates take on Lionel Messi’s Argentina (18:00 UAE time). Read the main talking points from the game here, as well as the key battles.
Later in the evening, Luis Suarez meets Cristiano Ronaldo on the international stage when Uruguay face Portugal (22:00 UAE time). We look at the burning issues and key areas where the game can be won and lost.
Away from Russia, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will make his decision over his future after the World Cup. The 30-year-old is part of Belgium’s squad and hasn’t played for the Reds since January.
In Italy, Serie A champions Juventus received a big boost when defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli agreed to contract extensions. Chiellini, 33, has signed a deal until 2020, while Barzagli, 37, will remain at Allianz Stadium until next summer at least.
In international cricket, India recorded an easy win against the Irish after thrashing them by 143 runs to seal the T20I series in Dublin on Friday.
FEATURE OF THE DAY
Our man Stuart Appleby gives his verdict on the remaining 16 nations based on their campaign at the World Cup. Read here to see where he ranks your favourite team.
SOCIAL MEDIA-ROUND UP
WHAT’S ON TODAY
World Cup last 16: France v Argentina, 18:00
Uruguay v Portugal, 22:00
Formula One: Austrian Qualifying, 17:10
Holders Germany are stunned as they are eliminated following just one win from their three group games.
We’ve seen a lot of drama in Russia with a few shocks already during the World Cup. Russia’s opening day victory over Saudi Arabia ensured the tournament got off to a flying start, the introduction of VAR has caused numerous talking points – some like it, others loathe it. We’ve seen a record number of penalties dished out at this World Cup, largely thanks to the new technology. Argentina’s dramatic late winner against Nigeria was enough to see them through having stared elimination in the face, but the biggest surprise of the group stage has to be the elimination of Germany. The World Cup holders finished bottom of Group F with South Korea putting the final nail in the coffin with a shock 2-0 result on Wednesday evening.
This is the first time since Euro 2004 that Germany won’t reach the semi-finals of an international tournament. That’s six straight tournaments where fourth-best was the worst it got. In Russia, they’ve finished bottom of a group that included Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea. With all due respect to those three sides, that’s unforgivable.
Much will be made of the fact that Germany have become the third straight World Cup holders to crash out at the group stage, and fourth straight champion from Europe to do so, after France in 2002, Italy in 2010, and Spain in 2014.
Comparisons to Spain are the most valid, simply for how clueless a side that had been dominant four years earlier looked as the world caught up to them. The sides are so similar stylistically – relentless possession, precision passing, and ruthless finishing – that the Germany of 2014-17 essentially looked like the next stage of evolution of Spain from 2008-13.
Instead it’s Mexico and Sweden who advance to the knockout stages from Germany’s group, in a World Cup, which will no doubt throw up a few more surprises en route to the final on July 15th.