Most Dramatic Moments From The Group Stage

Dean Simpson
June 30, 2018

The stoppage time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min which gave Korea their first win in this World Cup after two defeats sparked jubilant scenes among Korea's players and Cho said he and his team mates thought they were going through until they learned of the result from Yekaterinburg. Costa Rica made an early exit but shared the points with Switzerland in their last match, which was enough for the Europeans to qualify for the knockout stage. It wasn't my impression when I spoke to the team before that they were under pressure before the match because the Sweden game was on at the same time. Mexico have gone out at the last-16 stage at six successive World Cups, so this round may be as far as they can go in Russian Federation.

Defending champions Germany provided the biggest shock of the tournament by becoming the fourth holders in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage. Having lost to Uruguay 3:0 Russian Federation still made it to the 1/8 finals where it is going to face the Spanish team.

Germany had needed a clear win to move into the last 16, but a series of wasted chances saw the team finish last in Group F. They won all three group games, and a run to the semis like in 1998 is not beyond them, although coach Zlatko Dalic had a warning for his team before facing Denmark.

There is a huge amount of education and information embedded in the performances of every team in the 2018 World Cup, simply because the general standard of play all across the board has risen.

Ronaldo needs just two goals to draw level with Eusebio as his country's all-time leading World Cup goalscorer, and that missed spot-kick against Iran might provide all the motivation he needs to get on the scoresheet against Uruguay.

In Russia, the Germans got off to a bad start with a 1-0 loss to Mexico, and their campaign ended on an even more bitter note after a stoppage-time victor from Toni Kroos against Sweden gave the false impression they had finally kick-started their tournament.

Key battle: Neymar is yet to hit top gear at the finals, with 20-year-old right-back Edson Alvarez likely to be charged with keeping the world's most expensive player quiet.

He said beating Germany was by far his favorite memory from his second World Cup appearance.

"It's a historic disgrace", Der Spiegel weekly said, decrying Germany's "weak game" against a plucky South Korea.

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