Portugal score in stoppage time to stave off eliminationComments
Substitute Silvestre Varela scored in stoppage time help Portugal salvage a 2-2 draw with the USA, who were seconds away from qualifying for the last 16 from Group G and eliminating the European heavyweights.
Jermain Jones cancelled out Nani’s fifth minute opener just after the hour mark with a delightful curling effort.
Clint Dempsey chested home what appeared to be the winner only for Varela to head home the equalizer to keep Portugal’s hopes of progressing alive.
It’s now finely balanced in the group with Germany and the USA only needing a draw against each other in their final fixture to both advance.
Portugal’s chances of progressing remain slim as they prop up the bottom of the table with a goal difference of minus four, meaning they will have to thrash Ghana in their last match and hope Germany and the USA avoid a draw.
Red Devils in seventh heaven
Belgium qualified for the knockout stages thanks to an eighty eighth-minute goal by Divock Origi in their Group H match against Russia in Rio.
Fabio Capello’s Russia grew in confidence throughout the game, but couldn’t quite hold off their Belgian opponents who won through 1-0.
On six points, Belgium remain in pole position to qualify top of the table.
Algeria take a step closer to next round
Algeria seriously boosted their chances of making it to the last 16 out of the same group with victory over South Korea.
Islam Slimani and Rafik Halliche scored in the space of two first half minutes – Abdelmoumene Djabou made it three just before the break.
Yasine Brahimi added a fourth and although Heung-Min Son and Ja-Cheol Koo pulled two back Algeria comfortably saw out the win.
The result puts the North Africans second in the group three points behind qualified Belgium and two clear of both South Korea and Russia who they play in their final match
It’s still wide open for three teams in Group A.
Already-eliminated Cameroon however could prove to be the party poopers for the host nation Brazil on Monday.
In Recife Croatia take on Mexico while in Sao Paulo, Chile and Netherlands will battle it out for top spot in Group B.
Win or bust for Croatia
Croatia coach Niko Kovac will hope his star striker Mario Mandzukic can once again inspire his side after coming back from suspension last week to scored twice in their 4-0 win over Cameroon.
Kovac will most likely field an identical team to last time out as they hunt to progress to the next phase for the first time since their third place finish in France 1998.
Captain Darijo Srna, meanwhile, is set to earn his 116th cap for The Blazers.
Mexico full of confidence
Mexico will be full of confidence after holding Brazil to a draw last week.
A win for the South Americans in Recife will see them through and could even see them finish above Brazil should the host nation slip against Cameroon in their final Group A fixture.
Coach Miguel Herrera will be hoping 28-year-old goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa can produce another sensational performance between the sticks as he did last time out.
Top spot up for grabs
So it’s all about topping Group B when the Netherlands take on fellow-qualified Chile in Sao Paulo.
Coach Luis Van Gaal will be without suspended Robin Van Persie who has picked up two yellow cards already – Klaas Jan Huntelaar should step in.
He could also be without central defender Bruno Martins Indi, who suffered a concussion in their win over Australia.
Van Gaal could also opt to rest Arjen Robben with the last 16 in mind leaving the very capable Memphis Depay to deputize.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli meanwhile might have to bench Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz for the tie.
Vidal has suffered slight damaged his right Achilles tendon while Aranguiz, who scored in their 2-0 win over Spain, has a minor sprain on his right knee.
On top of those injuries the pair have already picked up a yellow card during the tournament and Sampaoli might not take the risk knowing they are already through to the knockout stages.
We might be wrong
We might be wrong, and you know it, but we still try.
Here’s our predictions for those four matches on Monday.
Remember that you can send us yours, via the social networks, using #TheCornerScores.
So we predict the Dutch will head into the last 16 as Group B winners courtesy of a 2-1 win over Chile – We feel Spain will return home having at least one victory in their suitcase – thanks to a 2-1 win over Australia.
We predict Brazil will bounce back from their draw with Mexico and beat Cameroon 3-0 while we predict Mexico will join the hosts in the last 16 with of a 2-0 win over Croatia