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The group stage of the Football World Cup 2018 is in the books, and that means the field has been halved.

Gone are the feel-good stories of Iceland, Peru and Panama. Gone are all five African nations. Gone are the defending champions, Germany.

Now, after one of the more memorable first rounds in recent history, the World Cup is turned up a notch for the 16 teams remaining: win or go home.

In a must-win match, anything can happen and sometimes what teams accomplished in their first three games is of little consequence. But those contests have given us a better look at how the remaining nations stack up.

Here’s how we rank the last 16 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on the eve of the knockout stage.

1) Uruguay

Group stage record: 3-0-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 14

The only nation to not concede a goal in the group stage, Uruguay has the type of defensive solidity that we often see in World Cup champions. Couple that with two deadly strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, and we could see La Celeste make a deep run.

2) Croatia

Group stage record: 3-0-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 20

There were some serious questions coming into the tournament about Croatia, a squad full of talent but a country that had failed to impact a major tournament since a third-place finish at the 1998 World Cup. On the contrary, this Luka Modric-led side silenced all the doubters with a perfect group stage, showcasing a dominant midfield and impressive defence.

3) Brazil

Group stage record: 2-1-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 2

Outside of the brilliance of Philippe Coutinho, we’ve yet to see the best of what Brazil has to offer. The good news is the Seleção showed improvement in each of their three group stage matches, and a last-16 matchup against Mexico is very much in Brazil’s favour.

4) France

Group stage record: 2-1-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 7

Despite winning their group, the star-studded French lineup has yet to put together 90 complete minutes nor show fans the full potential of the young squad. If Didier Deschamps can’t bring it all together against Argentina, France might leave Russia much earlier than expected.

5) Belgium

Group stage record: 3-0-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 3

The Red Devils are one of just three teams to win all three group stage games, but aren’t grouped with Uruguay and Croatia so we don’t exactly know what Belgium is yet. Two wins over Panama and Tunisia, plus a 1-0 victory over the English B squad means Roberto Martinez’s team has yet to really be tested. That will remain true against Japan in the next round.

6) England

Group stage record: 2-0-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 12

Much like Belgium, the Three Lions are a tough team to evaluate given their first two opponents plus a tight loss in a reserves versus reserves showdown against those Red Devils. England’s loss to Belgium means their first knockout-round opponent, Colombia, offers a challenge for Gareth Southgate’s side, but put England on the easier half of the knockout bracket.

7) Spain

Group stage record: 1-2-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 10

Has the unexpected firing of Julen Lupetegui had a bigger impact than expected? Spain were poor in the group stage, but were incredibly lucky to draw Russia in the last 16 and, like England, fall on a side of the bracket they should be able to handle easily.

8) Portugal

Group stage record: 1-2-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 4

Portugal and its fans will be furious with the controversial decisions that moved its team to the heavyweight half of the bracket that Fernando Santos’s squad would’ve avoided if it won Group B. But we’ve seen Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. bounce back from disappointing group stages in the past…

9) Colombia

Group stage record: 2-0-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 16

Colombia bounced back nicely from a tough Matchday 1 loss to Japan with a dominant display against Poland and a grind-it-out victory over Senegal to top Group H. But Los Cafeteros will be in tough against England without star man James Rodriguez, who is dealing with an ongoing calf injury.

10) Switzerland

Group stage record: 1-2-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 6

Switzerland has shown plenty of guts through three games, coming from behind in their first two matches to get results against Brazil (1-1 draw) and Serbia (2-1 win) before an injury-time Yann Sommer own-goal saw the Swiss drop points on the final matchday. Vladimir Petković’s team doesn’t play the most attractive brand of football, but gets results and should be able to get past Sweden in the last 16.

11) Sweden

Group stage record: 2-0-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 24

Sweden’s finish atop Group F may be the biggest surprise so far in Russia — outside of Germany’s stunning exit. The Swedes scored just two goals in their first two games (just one from open play) before a three-goal outburst against Mexico tipped Group F in their favour. Their last-16 match with Switzerland is a toss up, but it’s hard to see Sweden getting past the quarterfinals.

12) Mexico

Group stage record: 2-0-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 15

An otherwise excellent group stage was marred by a pathetic 3-0 loss to Sweden on the final matchday of the group stage, but Germany’s loss was Mexico’s gain. It’s hard to like El Tri’s chances against Brazil in the Round of 16, but the Mexicans already have a history of knocking off giants in this tournament.

13) Argentina

Group stage record: 1-1-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 5

Argentina’s thrilling win against Nigeria could signal a momentum shift for Jorge Sampaoli’s side. What’s more likely, however, is La Albiceleste’s disorganization will continue against France in the last 16 and Leo Messi’s World Cup hopes are dashed one last time.

14) Russia

Group stage record: 2-0-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 70

After disposing of Saudi Arabia and Egypt with surprising ease, the hosts came crashing down to earth against Uruguay in the last group game. It doesn’t get any easier in the Round of 16 against Spain.

15) Denmark

Group stage record: 1-2-0
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 12

The Danes were stingy in the group stage, conceding just once, but scored only a pair of goals to earn second spot in Group C. Coming up against Croatia in the next round — who scored seven goals and won all three group games — Denmark will likely need to replicate Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with France, forcing penalties to allow Kasper Schmeichel to do his thing.

16) Japan

Group stage record: 1-1-1
Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 61

If group stage karma carries over to the last 16 like yellow cards, Japan don’t stand a chance of advancing past the Round of 16. The Samurai Blue played very negative football in their last group match, a 1-0 loss to Poland, banking on a result in the Colombia-Senegal clash to work in their favour. Karma aside, Japan are the weakest side in the knockout stage, and face little chance of getting past Belgium.

Saudi Arabia 0 vs Uruguay 1 : FIFA World Cup™ Day 7

90′: Corner for Saudi Arabia. Can they make something out of this? A decent delivery but the header from Kanno is weak and it’s a comfortable save for Muslera.

86′: As far as the game goes, nothing memorable to take note of except for Luis Suarez who found the back of the net in his 100th international match. Meanwhile Cavani with another chance to double Uruguay’s lead as he beats a couple of Saudi defenders but Al Owais rushes forward and snatches the ball. Should have scored.

85′: Into the final five minutes (plus the injury time). Saudi Arabia need to score or else their chances of making the next round die.

81′: Final substitution for Uruguay today. Sanchez makes way for Nahitan Nández

80′: CHANCE! Torreira fires in a shot from outside a box. Cavani with the deflection but the ball frustratingly goes wide of the left post.

78′: A free kick to Uruguay – the ball beats everyone and Cavani shoots but referee raises the offside flag. SUBSTITUTION for Saudi Arabia – Fahad Al Muwallad out, Mohammad Al Sahlawi in

76′: Uruguay are grinding it out today, Don’t seem to be in the mood for extraordinary.

75′: SUBSTITUTION by Saudi Arabia. Mohammed Kanoo walks in as Hattan Babhir hobbles out.

74′: A challenge on Edinson Cavani as he goes down. The referee doesn’t award the free kick. Cavani protests. He doesn’t look happy.

70′: Overall, Saudi Arabia have looked the more threatening of the two teams. On the other hand, Uruguay have made several attacks but they haven’t amounted to anything concrete. Saudi Arabia must be gutted that their one slip has proved so costly.

68′: A corner to Uruguay, Carlos Sanchez takes it. Martin Caceres leaps over Saudi defenders but his header over the cross bar.

66′: A free kick to Saudi Arabia from the left flank – just outside the box. Brilliant delivery from Hattan Bahbir but Luis Suarez in the wall heads it away. The ball again falls to a Saudi player – Al-Faraj – and this time his lob finds Muslers who gobbles the ball.

62′: A quick free-kick from Uruguay. Cacares sends the ball deep and Cavani is after it. He curls it to Sanchez at near the right post but his resulting header is over the crossbar. Mo

61′: Saudi Arabia have done well today when it comes to keeping the possession.

60′: Laxalt immediately leaving an imprint with an attempted volley for the goal.

59′: DOUBLE SUBSTITUTION for Uruguay. Rodriguez goes out, Diego Laxalt comes in. Matías Vecino replaced by Lucas Torreira

58′: Action concentrated to midfield before the ball is pushed ahead inside the Uruguayan box. Saudi need to do some defending.

57′: Godin wins a free kick against Fahad near Uruguay’s box.

54′: Al-Mogahwi runs after a pass on the right but the offside flag goes up.

51′: Mohammad Al-Breik receives a cross in front of Uruguay goal and he heads it into the hands of the ‘keeper who claims a comfortable catch.

49′: Free kick for Uruguay just outside Saudi box. Luis Suarez will attempt to double his tally. He shoots and it’s deflected dangerously forcing Al Owais to make a nervy save.

48′: A mixed start to the half both teams have made the move upfront with neither resulting in anything conclusive.

46′: Send half gets underway at Rostov Arena

HALF-TIME: Nothing of note in the added time as Uruguay hold on to their 1-0 lead thanks to a 23rd minute goal from Luis Suarez.

45’+2: Two minutes of added time in the first half.

44′: Al Tasir attempts but cannot continue and he has been substituted. A forced substitution for Saudi Arabia. Hussain Al Mogahwi comes in

40′:
Al Tasir goes down. Play has been halted. Physician pressed into action. Concerned faces all around. He stretched himself to win a ball but seems to have tweaked his hamstring. He’s hobbling off the pitch. Few yards from where Tasir went down, Suarez was involved in an incident with an Saudi player but he avoids the confrontation.

38′: Saudi Arabia’s Al Dawsari goes for the glory from well outside the box but only manages to send the ball into the orbit

37′: A cross from Rodriguez as he searches for Cavani but Al Jassam intercepts it

35′: Certainly Saudi have been more probing of the two teams since that goal and indeed for the better part of this half so far. It’s a shame they don’t have a goal to show for. Uruguay know they cannot sit back and relax even though after being 1-0 up.

33′: Saudi Arabia with another move from the right. But leave it too late. The forwards have been overcrowded by the blue shirts.

29′: Al Shahrani supplies from the left and Godin makes a mess of the chance by sending the ball flying over the crossbar. Looks like he was caught unaware.

26′: Now Saudi Arabia are on the offensive. Hattan Bahbir from the right aims one at the goal mouth and Uruguayan custodian tips it over the crossbar. Corner for Saudi but it amounts to nothing.

23′: GOAL! Luis Suarez puts Uruguay in the lead with his 52nd international goal in his 100th match! Sanchez takes the corner and Saudi goalkeeper fails to clear it. The ball drops in front of Suarez who puts it in the bottom corner and tees off!

22′: Rodriguez wins a corner for Uruguay.

19′: Another good move from Uruguay. Rodriguez leads the move – sends the ball to Suarez who plays it to Cavani but his shot results in a corner.

17′: Saudi Arabia get a free kick in their own penalty zone after a hand ball from Vecino

16′: Suarez has been felled and he is unhappy. Referee blows the whistles.

15′: Guillermo Varela sprints from the right and gets hold of the ball before it crosses the byline and then diverts it for Suarez who attempts from an awkward angle but it goes wide. He wants a corner. Referee awards a goal kick.

13′: CHANCE! Edinson Cavani receives a delicious cross from Martin Caceres from the left but his attempt is way, way off the mark.

9′: Saudi Arabia have come out with a plan to be aggressive and get upfront early on. Good intent after a terrible start to their world cup campaign.

6′: A free kick to Saudi Arabia just outside the penalty zone. Mohammed Al-Breik will make the attempt. And the free kick crashes into the wall – deflected by an Uruguayan for a corner. Saudis are giving each other high fives but the short corner amounts to nothing.

5′: Saudi Arabia on the offensive now. Some work for the Uruguayan defenders early on. Godin and Gimenez combine to clear the threat.

3′: Patience seems to be the key word for both the sides. Don’t look in hurry. Slow and steady wins the race?

2′: First attempt of the match and it’s Luis Suarez who receives a long ball inside the box and then aims his shot but it’s deflected by Osama Hawsawi.

1′: And we’re underway! Uruguay in black and blue, Saudi Arabia in whites. Saudi Arabia need at least a draw to stay alive in the competition. This is Luis Suarez’s 100th international cap. Congratulations to him on the milestone.

Uruguay v Saudi Arabia World Cup line-ups

Uruguay (4-4-2)
Fernando Muslera; Guillermo Varela, Jose Gimenez, Diego Godin (capt), Martin Caceres; Carlos Sanchez, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Cristian Rodriguez; Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani

Coach: Oscar Tabarez (URU)

Saudi Arabia (4-5-1)
Mohammed Al-Owais; Mohammed Al-Burayk, Osama Hawsawi (capt), Ali Al-Bulayhi, Yasser Al-Shahrani; Hatan Bahbri, Salman Al-Faraj, Abdullah Otayf, Taiseer Al-Jassam, Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad

Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi (ESP)

Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from the FIFA World Cup 2018! In the second match of the day, Uruguay face Saudi Arabia

PREVIEW
Experience will be the key when Uruguay look to seal their place in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup against Saudi Arabia here on Wednesday.

Uruguay disappointed against a rugged Egypt side in their first game, needing a late header from Jose Gimenez to seal the win and veteran coach Oscar Tavarez is expected to make changes with Carlos Sanchez and ‘Cebolla’ Rodriguez expected to start.

Rodriguez is an excellent provider, while Sanchez is a box-to-box midfielder with a habit of getting into the rival penalty area at the right time, and the pair should give more punch to a side which struggled to create chances against Egypt as Luis Suarez looked heavy and off the pace.

As well as boosting his options in front of goal, Tavarez’s changes mean he will have seven players aged 30 or more in his starting 11 (Fernando Muslera (32), Diego Godin (32), Martin Caceres (31), Carlos Sanchez (33), Cristian Rodriguez (32), Luis Suarez (31) y Edinson Cavani (31)); and in theory Uruguay should be too strong for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia landed here after a frightening journey in which one of the engines on the aircraft which flew them in from Saint Petersburg caught fire.

Portugal vs Morocco final score: Another World Cup™ goal by Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal is closing in on booking a spot into the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup in Russia after hanging on to beat Morocco, 1-0, on Wednesday to move to four points in Group B. After drawing Spain in the opener, the Portuguese national team received another goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, this time to secure all three points. It wasn’t the greatest showing from the Portuguese, as Morocco controlled possession and created more chances, but the finishing was abysmal. In all, Morocco had 16 shots — six more than Portugal — but just four went on frame. Medhi Benatia, himself, had about three golden chances to score and wasted every single one.

If you plan on going deep in this tournament, you have to capitalize on your chances. Portugal did just that early on. Ronaldo scored in the fourth minute of the match to become the highest-scoring European player in international soccer history. It was his fourth goal of the Cup:

And it was all his side needed to secure three vital points. Portugal tried to bunker down defensively late with big saves from Rui Patricio and managed to get the victory when it looked like Morocco equalize.

Now Portugal faces Iran with a chance to win the group on Monday, while Morocco is certainly headed home after the group stage. You can stream the match online on fuboTV (Try for free).

Cristiano Ronaldo beats Morocco, but Portugal teammates need to step up

MOSCOW — It was roughly five minutes in and Cristiano Ronaldo was done celebrating. He had just scored his 85th international goal, leaving him 24 shy of Ali Daei’s record. (At age 33, and with the number of cream-puff opponents in UEFA qualifying, it’s no longer an unassailable mark.) More importantly, Ronaldo had broken the ice against Morocco in a match where everyone knew that three points de facto equalled a place in the round of 16.

He stood, elbows out, tapping his index fingers against his temple with wide, exaggerated gestures, the sort you make when you want everyone to see you and take notice. Think. Use your brain. Reason your way through.

It’s perhaps as apt a metaphor as any for Ronaldo’s own performance against Morocco. Against an opponent that had Portugal on the ropes for much of the match, it soon became apparent that Fernando Santos’ crew were going to need every shred of experience, bravery, intelligence, nastiness and sheer guts they could muster.

This was evident when they took the lead. As Goncalo Guedes’ cross came in, Pepe rumbled across the box from left to right, jamming his big body into Khalid Boutaib like a pulling guard lead-blocking and pancaking safeties in the NFL. The ball made its way to Ronaldo, who peeled away from Manuel Da Costa and directed a diving header past the keeper, his face inches from Karim El Ahmadi’s boot.

Cynicism (Pepe) and bravery (Ronaldo) will get you far, if used in the right combination, though as you’d expect, Morocco boss Herve Renard was less than impressed.

“I’m not going to say what I think because I don’t want to get in trouble,” he said. “But look at what [Pepe] does on the corner … it was a foul.”

Referee Mark Geiger’s counter said otherwise and so did the video assistant referee. From that point, it was a question of Portugal trying to defend their lead and add to it. Playing a goal up, especially against a side in a do-or-die situation like Morocco — is supposed to be easier. Not so.

“It was so difficult for us,” said Santos, the Portugal boss. “We just could not keep the ball, we couldn’t play, we couldn’t deal with the press. We found ourselves running after the opponent and we ran out of lungs. We had to make tactical changes to regain control but it was so, so difficult.”

Ronaldo did what he could. He retreated into midfield to help relieve the press and then faded wide, leaving Joao Mario to join Guedes through the middle. Da Costa, and Benatia in particular, made sure he wasn’t left unattended. The Juventus center back, perhaps all too aware of Ronaldo’s aerial heroics in the Champions League, crunched his ankle from behind, adding a two-handed push for good measure. Moroccan fans — some of whom, said Renard, had driven to Moscow all the way from Casablanca, a 3,000-mile-plus and 51-hour journey,

“MESSI! MESSI! MESSI!” rose the chant, imperious, from behind Rui Patricio’s goal. Whether or not Ronaldo heard it, let alone whether it fazed him, is unclear but you can be sure the opposing players heard it. And you can imagine they appreciated whatever contribution it may have made.

By that point in the match, closing in on half-time, Ronaldo was being forced to migrate wider in his prospecting for the footballing equivalent of gold: a sliver of pitch where he could make a difference. He found it in the 40th minute, conjuring a delightful chipped assist with which Guedes should have done better. His reward? Another Benatia special that left him momentarily in a crumpled heap. Ronaldo had taken one for the team: Geiger booked Benatia, meaning he’d need to be careful from there on out.

Early in the second half, more Ronaldo and again, he was on the receiving end of a foul. This time, not realizing Geiger had played advantage, he waved his arms angrily in the middle of the pitch even as Portugal counterattacked down the left with Bernardo Silva. But seemingly a split-second later, Ronaldo had road-runnered his way into the Moroccan box, ready to fire at goal as Guedes’ shanked finish off Silva’s cross fell at his feet. The only downer was that his shot sailed way above the crossbar. He shook his head, knowing it was the sort of chance he is expected to bury.

This too is Ronaldo. The remonstration after the foul? We can only speculate but it may well have been a way of planting seeds of doubt in Geiger’s head: He’s far from an inexperienced referee, as this is his second World Cup, but he too is human, or as human, as match officials can be. But the minute he sensed there was even the tiniest chance that Silva would find Guedes, he was gone, 30 yards up the field, ready to pounce upon a rebound or, as it happened, a wonky finish.

By the hour mark, Portugal were in full tortoise formation: a 4-5-1 with Ronaldo on his own, miles away and returning only to defend set-pieces, something he continues to do very well. (It’s an oft-overlooked part of his game).

“[At that stage] Ronaldo was playing in a position that was not the best for him,” Santos said. “But it was about trying to help the team even though, of course, it left him isolated.”

Later still, we saw him boot the ball away in frustration after a foul in a dangerous area gave Morocco their umpteenth free-kick: He knew all too well how Portugal were under perpetual aerial threat. And five minutes from time, when he looked physically and emotionally spent, he scraped his innards to find the strength for a forward burst that resulted in him winning a (soft) free-kick on the edge of the box, the kind that raises the possibility of heroics like those against Spain (not on this day) and, in any case, milks the clock even further (which it did).

Those “distance covered” numbers that FIFA disseminates can often be misleading, but not on Wednesday. The 8.81 kilometers Ronaldo managed were considerably less than any outfield player and a full 1.5 km less than Guedes. But it wasn’t a question of how much — there are limits even to his physiology — but when and how. When it mattered, he was there; the only blot on his day was the chance he missed early in the second half.

Santos, who is normally known for his morose demeanor, actually cracked a joke when asked how Ronaldo does it. “He has a very good coach,” he said, stone-faced, before breaking into a guffaw.

Then, he turned serious. “[Ronaldo] refines his capacity; it’s like when a Port wine ages. He’s constantly evolving, unlike other players. He knows what he can do, he knows what he can’t do. He knows his body better than anyone. He doesn’t want to do today what he did four or five years ago and in two or three years, he won’t be doing what he does now.”

Put differently, on a day when (almost) everything went wrong for Portugal — Santos himself said it was “an unfair result” — Ronaldo was at his efficient, minimalist best. He squeezed all he could out of his body, he maximized every ounce of energy, he led when he needed to lead, he rested when it was safe to do so.

This is what he brings, this is his way of carrying Portugal. What’s obvious, though, is that his teammates need to step up.

“The dynamics were slow, we were filled with anxiety … we need to do better, we need more out of ourselves,” Santos said.

He knew Portugal got away with it against Morocco. And that while Ronaldo did his part, with service (or more aptly, lack of service) like this, this is all you can expect from him: an efficiently minimalist performance that’s enough to s

Saudi Arabia vs Uruguay Live stream : Football World Cup 2018

It’s the second round of games in Group A as Saudi Arabia look to regain a semblance of dignity against Uruguay following their opening game embarrassment.

Russia thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament at the Luzhniki last week and Uruguay, who are considered one of the strongest teams in the group, will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing that shaky defence.

Uruguay will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent record and make sure of a place in the Round of 16 with victory, after a last-minute win over Egypt last time out.

What time is it?

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia kicks off at 4pm.

Where can I watch it?

The game will be shown live on BBC One.

Odds

Uruguay: 1/7

Saudi Arabia: 19/1

Draw: 13/2

Prediction

Uruguay 6-0 Saudi Arabia. It may look extreme but Russia were dubbed the worst team in the tournament going into the World Cup – and they scored five. Uruguay, with Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani et al., are considered the dark horses this summer so, maybe, 6-0 might be fairly conservative.

Morocco vs Portugal odds, predictions, team news, line-ups and more

Victory today is a must and would knock Morocco out of the tournament following the North Africans’ late defeat to Iran on Friday.

The nation expects: Winning the Euros two years ago means Portugal can no longer rely on a ‘dark horses’ tag.

Their fans expect Fernando Santos’ side to go far in the tournament and that means dispatching the likes of Morocco relatively comfortably.

Key battles/Star men: Morocco were the only African side not to concede a goal in qualifying.

But how well Romain Saiss – who plays at centre-back for his country as opposed to midfield for Wolves – will cope with power, pace and footballing genius of Ronaldo is a worry.

Weakest links: Goalkeeper Munir is a concern for the Atlas Lions. He barely played for for Spanish second-tier side Numancia this season and is not great coming for high balls.

The middle of Portugal’s defence is also not what it was two years ago.

Pepe is past his prime while Rangers’ Bruno Alves and ex-West Ham flop Jose Fonte have struggled.

Likely line-ups and Team Talk: Santos should have a full squad of players to pick from and could well stick with the team that played Spain.

He will be hoping a few of his other players step up though and be a little less reliant on Ronaldo, who now has a staggering 84 goals in 151 games for his country.

Probable team: Rui Patricio; Cedric Soares, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro; Bernado Silva, Joao Moutinho, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes; Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fans have been swooning over Morocco’s heartthrob boss Herve Renard – who once bossed Cambridge United – and the Frenchman will hope his side are as good-looking on the pitch as supporters think he is off it.

In the defeat to Iran, Renard subbed Watford’s Nordin Amrabat for sibling Sofyan Amrabat – the first time in World Cup history a player has come on for his brother – but Nordin will miss this game due to concussion.

Probable team: Munir; Achraf Hakimi, Medhi Benatia, Romain Saiss, Hamza Mendyl; Karim El Ahmadi, Mbark Boussoufa; Hakim Ziyech, Younes Belhanda, Amine Harit; Ayoub El Kaabi.

Prem Tsar in the making: Hakim Ziyech is the outstanding creative talent in the Morocco ranks and helped Ajax reach the Europa League final in 2017.

Best Bet

Cristiano Ronaldo was the hat-trick hero for Portugal against Spain, and Betway’s price of 16-1 to repeat the trick against Morocco is appealing.

Fact Me

  • Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter, in the group stages of the 1986 World Cup. It was Morocco’s first ever win at the tournament.
  • Portugal’s only defeat against African opposition at the World Cup came against Morocco in 1986 (1-3) – they’ve won two and drawn one of their subsequent three games against them.
  • Portugal have not lost against a non-European nation at the World Cup since June 2002, when they lost 1-0 to South Korea (W5 D3 since).
  • Portugal have lost only one of their last 10 World Cup group games (0-4 v Germany in 2014), winning five and drawing the other four.
  • Morocco did not face a single shot in the second half of their opening match against Iran.
  • Morocco had 68% possession in their 1-0 defeat to Iran, the most by a losing team in a World Cup match since June 2010, when Spain had 73% possession against Switzerland but lost 1-0.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo’s three goals for Portugal against Spain made him the oldest hat-trick scorer in the history of the World Cup (33y 130d). His third goal in that game was also the first time he’d scored from direct free-kick in a major international tournament, at the 45th attempt.
  • Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Spain in their opening match, making him just the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments, after Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo had scored three goals from 70 shots in his previous three World Cup tournaments combined for Portugal (2006, 2010 and 2014) – at the 2018 World Cup, he has scored three goals from just four shots.
  • Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own-goal against Iran in their opening match, becoming just the third substitute to score an own-goal in a World Cup match, after Laszlo Dajka in 1986 (Hungary v USSR) and Petit in 2006 (Portugal v Germany).
  • Current Portugal manager Fernando Santos has only won one World Cup match (P5 W1 D3 L1), but it did come in his only previous game against African opponents, with his Greece side winning 2-1 against Ivory Coast in June 2014.

Russia move to brink of qualification for knockout rounds after second-half blitz sees off Egypt

Eight goals in two games have averted Russia’s nightmare of spending tens of millions of dollars on a World Cup only to go out in the group stage. Mohamed Salah meanwhile has been restricted to a penalty, lots of physio on his injured shoulder and an awkward meeting with Chechnya’s warlord.

Salah’s penalty kick when Egypt already trailed 3-0 was a small reward for his hard work in the treatment room and gym. It pales, though, beside the potential dividend for Russia from 5-0 and 3-1 victories against two of the tournament’s weaker sides. If all the hosts could hope for was to string their presence out to the point of respectability, their supporters now have something to be excited about beyond the stardust spread by other countries. If Saudi Arabia fail to beat Uruguay (and who would back them to win?) Russia will advance to the knock-out rounds for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Saint Petersburg Stadium was not full for this second home triumph, but the 64,468 here were giddy as three second-half goals flew in inside 15 minutes (the first, a ludicrous own goal).

Salah performed honourably after missing the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay, but to expect him to walk straight back in and rescue Egypt was fanciful, especially as he lacks team-mates of the quality of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. His goal came in the 73rd minute after he was pulled down by the arm (this is becoming a pattern), apparently outside the Russia penalty box, until VAR showed it to be penalty.

These Russia players are pretty much equal and indistinguishable. The Soviet system would have been proud of this mechanical team. It’s as if their training stopped at pass and run, which they do well, and dispensed with the subtleties of the game, such as ingenuity and vision around the penalty box. Denis Cheryshev has been the best of them, and their energy and commitment ought to be acknowledged. Not that they will feel they had much choice in those respects.

They are all Russia have, and were cast into a home World Cup as the lowest-ranked team in the tournament with the unenviable task of matching the grandeur of the stadiums. Plainly this is going to be beyond them, however uplifting their 5-0 opening night win against Saudi Arabia –  the biggest curtain-raising victory by a host country since 1934 – and this own-goal assisted win over Salah and company.

Standing between the new Russian empire and progress to the Round of 16 was an Egypt side now emotionally dependent on Salah. The lauding of him before the game was at a level not even Liverpool fans could hope to match. His name was cheered at least three times louder than any other Egypt player, and each glimpse of him on the big screen ignited a new Egyptian party.

In the game, Salah started wide-right, dispensing with defensive duties to try his luck against Yury Zhirkov, an old hand steeled for the fight.

It took Zhirkov 21 minutes to land a bang on the shoulder Salah injured in a tangle with Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final in Kiev. The challenge was fair, but spun Salah round, and soon the Premier League’s golden boot winner moved to play more centrally. He was more effective there, his first real chance on goal coming with a turn and swivel on the edge of Russia’s penalty box. But the shot from the pirouette slid wide.

Egypt’s campaign, though was about to take a comical turn, two minutes after the break, when Roman Zobnin miscued a shot after a bad punch by the goalkeeper, and Ahmed Fathy, the Egyptian captain, under pressure from Artem Dzyuba, took a wild swing at it and swiped it into his own net. Bare-chested Egyptian fans in Pharoah headgear looked on miserably. Egypt’s defence, like Saudi Arabia’s, disintegrated, conceding three times, twice abjectly .

With Salah’s team still reeling from the own goal, Mario Fernandes cut a cross back for Cheryshev to double the lead, and then Ali Gabr failed to control a dropping ball on the edge of his box and allowed it to run to Dzyuba, the former star Russian striker who lost his way. Dzyuba’s military salute for the goal was in tune with his combative work in unsettling Egypt’s back four.

The defensive ineptitude of opponents is helping Russia, but their probable advance will help maintain the interest of those who are ultimately paying for most of it – the Russian public, who have been treated to eight goals and plenty of workmanlike enterprise from their team. Salah, in effect, lost his World Cup campaign in the Champions League final, though he fought his way back to leave a small mark here.

FIFA World Cup™ 2018 || Russia beat Egypt 3-1

Russia are virtually in the round of 16 after registering their second successive win in the tournament. Russia outclassed Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 3-1 in their second Group A match to consolidate their top position at the points table. All the four goals came in the second half, after the two sides played out a goalless first half.

90′ – Four minutes added as stoppage time

90′ – Amr Warda shot it wide of the Russian goal from the top of the box

89′ – Corner for Russia. Egypt cleared it comfortably

88′ – Salah miscued it wide of the Russian goal from top of the box. Final chance of the match for the Liverpool star?

86′ – Substitution! Yuri Zhirkov is replaced by Fedor Kudryashov for Russia

84′ – Yellow Card! Russian substitute Fedor Smolov is booked

82′ – Substitution! Marwan Mohsen is replaced by Kahraba for Egypt

81′ – Aleksandr Golovin got a good chance inside the Egypt box, he took too long to decide his mind – to shoot or not. Chance missed after a good move

79′ – Substitution! Artem Dzyuba is replaced by Fedor Smolov for Russia. Both the goalscorers are off the field now for the hosts

74′ – Substitution! First change for Russia. Denis Cheryshev is replaced by Daler Kuzyaev

73′ – GOAL! Salah converted the penalty to pull one back for Egypt

Comeback-man Mohamed Salah scored as he hammered high into the net.

72′ – PENALTY! Salah was brought down. VAR used and the decision stayed. It’s a penalty for Egypt.

70′ – Abdallah El Said’s long ranger went well over the Russian goal

68′ – Substitution! Another change for Egypt. Trezeguet is replaced by Ramadan Sobhi

64′ – Substitution! Mohamed Elneny is replaced by Amr Warda for Egypt

62′ – GOAL! Artem Dzyuba made it 3-0 for Russia

What a goal! Dzyuba chest down the ball at the edge of the area, turned and shot a thunderous strike into the net.

59′ – GOAL! Denis Cheryshev doubled the lead for Russia

A brilliant team goal by the Russians. The move from the right flank was collected by Fernandes and nicely pull back in front of the Egypt goal. Cheryshev cleared himself from the markers and shot it low into the net from close range

57′ – Yellow Card! Egypt’s Trezeguet got the first booking of the night

56′ – Another Salah’s left-foot attempt, this time a deflection gave Egypt a corner. And the delivery found no takers and the ball went pass the Russian goal untouched.

55′ – Back-to-back corners for Russia. But it was easily cleared by the Egyptians

53′ – Another Russian attack from the left flank. It resulted in a corner for the hosts.

47′ – GOAL! Own goal gave Russia the lead

UNLUCKY! The ball deflected from Ahmed Fathy’s knee into the goal. Believe it or not, it’s the fifth own goal of the tournament so far. In the last edition of the FIFA World Cup, a total of only five own goals were scored. And the record is six own goals during 1998 World Cup. Some stats.

Second half begins…Who will break the deadlock – Russia or Egypt?

HT – It’s goalless at the half-time break in St Petersburg

45′ – No stoppage time added in the first half

42′ – First clear chance for Salah, he turned around to beat his marker and shot with his left-foot from top of the Russian box. The strike went just wide of goal though. Good effort.

41′ – Artem Dzyuba head it over the Egypt crossbar.

37′ – Denis Cheryshev’s tantalising cross-in from the left flank found no takers inside the Egypt box

34′ – Timely clearance from Yuri Zhirkov. Salah was lurking just behind him. Nothing substantial came off the resultant Egypt corner

31′ – Russia have dominated the proceedings so far. Egypt losing the ball quite easily in the middle

28′ – Another Russian attack from the left flank. Aleksandr Golovin’s cross-in for Artem Dzyuba was cleared out by Egypt defender

26′ – Egypt defender head it out of his own goalkeeper’s hand. It could have cost them dearly, but somehow Mohamed El-Shenawy hold on with the ball during the second cross-in from Russia.

23′ – Yuri Gazinskiy’s cross-in from the left flank was little high for the jumping Artem Dzyuba in front of Egypt goal

19′ – Denis Cheryshev effort from the distance went over the Egypt crossbar

16′ – WIDE! Trezeguet tried to curl an effort into the right-hand corner of Akinfeev’s net but it’s just wide off the mark.

14′ – Corner for Egypt, first of the match for them. Mohsen’s header from the edge of the six-yard box was deflected. Another corner for Egypt.

8′ – Free-kick for Russia. It ended with another corner for the Russians, which they took short but nothing came of it.

7′ – Egypt’s Elneny gave the ball away sloppily, and Golovin dragged his shot wide of Egypt goal from 20 yards.

5′ – Corner for Russia. Short corner taken and the final header from veteran defender Sergei Ignashevich was straight to Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy

2′ – Early chance for Russia, Denis Cheryshev’s through ball was just ahead of his team-mate Artem Dzyuba

Here we go… KICK-OFF TIME

*Time for National Anthems*

Starting line-ups

Russia: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov; Yuri Gazinskiy, Roman Zobnin; Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev; Artem Dzyuba.

Egypt: Mohamed El-Shenawy; Ahmed Fathy, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Shafy; Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed; Mohamed Salah, Abdallah El Said, Trezeguet; Marwan Mohsen.

TEAM NEWS

Egypt’s talismanic striker Mohamed Salah was named in their starting line-up for their second World Cup Group A match against Russia in St Petersburg on Tuesday. Salah missed Egypt’s 0-1 defeat by Uruguay in their first game and replaces Amr Warda in the only change made by coach Hector Cuper.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov made two changes to the team that thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament, with winger Denis Cheryshev, who scored twice in that match, replacing injured midfielder Alan Dzagoev. Forward Artem Dzyuba, who scored a minute after coming on from the bench in the second half, is the other change and starts in place of striker Fyodor Smolov.

Hello and welcome to the live coverage of Group A match between Russia and Egypt. The match starts at 23:30 IST,

Senegal vs Poland: FIFA World Cup 2018 Live

The final two teams of the 2018 World Cup take the field, with the Robert Lewandowski-led Poland taking on Senegal.

• Earlier, Japan beat Colombia, 2-1, in a frantic Group H match.

• Here’s the 2018 World Cup schedule.

How to watch: In the U.S., Fox and Telemundo have the broadcast at 11 a.m., but you can stream it here.

Senegal vs. Poland Top Story Lines

• Group H is the most wide-open in the tournament, with Colombia, Poland, Senegal and Japan all given a puncher’s chance. It could well come down to the last day of the group stage, June 28.

• Africa has fared poorly at the World Cup so far, going 0-4.

• Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich is the world-class striker in the middle for Poland. He had a European-leading 16 goals in 10 games during qualifying.

• Poland isn’t usually thought of as part of Europe’s elite. But it cruised through its qualification group with one loss and one draw in 10 games. Left 5 points behind was Denmark, which already has a win in the Cup.

• Lewandowski is 29, keeper Lukasz Fabianski is 31 and defender Lukasz Piszczek is 32, making Poland a veteran team.

• Youth is served by Piotr Zielinski of Napoli, a 23-year-old midfielder who plays just behind the striker.

• For scoring punch on Senegal, look to Sadio Mane of Liverpool, who had 20 goals this season.

• It is Senegal’s first World Cup since 2002, when they were surprise quarterfinalists. They won a group that included Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and an out-of-sorts South Africa team.

World Cup 2018: Russia vs Egypt Live stream TV channel

Russia and Egypt will play their second match at the 2018 World Cup when they meet on Tuesday in Saint Petersburg. In Group A, Russia has three points while Egypt is facing a likely must-win after a heartbreak defeat to Uruguay in the opener.

Russia is flying high after crushing Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the cup opener, while Egypt has some pressure after allowing a late goal and falling to Uruguay 1-0.

Russia enters the match healthy and may turn to more veteran players in the midfield after struggling a bit in the first game, while all eyes will be on Egypt start Mohamed Salah who didn’t play against Uruguay, but likely starts here.

Here’s how you can watch the match and more. And be sure to return a half an hour before kickoff for our live blog of the game:

How to watch FIFA World Cup 2018

When: Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Stadion Krestovskyi
TV: Fox and Telemundo
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App

Prediction

Egypt starts Mohamed Salah and gets a crucial win to tighten things up in Group A. Egypt 2, Russia 1.