France, Switzerland and Nigeria book last 16 spotsComments
France locked down top spot in Group E with a goalless stalemate against a 10-man Ecuador at the Maracana Stadium in Rio on Wednesday.
There was little pressure on Didier Deschamps men who were all but assured a place in the second round after two earlier victories.
Both side’s came close to breaking the deadlock but the winner failed to materialize as France booked a last 16 showdown with Nigeria.
Switzerland grabbed the second berth into the last 16 following their 3-0 win over the group’s whipping boys Honduras.
Xherdan Shaqiri proved to be the hero of the night as the Bayern Munich player hit a superb hat-trick in the sweltering conditions of Manaus.
The victory has now set up a thrilling second round tie with one of the tournament favourites Argentina in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
Ecuador meanwhile become the only one of the six South American sides not to progress.
Super Eagles in last 16 for first time
Lionel Messi helped fired Argentina to victory but Nigeria were celebrating as they qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time since France 1998 despite losing their final Group F match 3-2.
Although The Super Eagles scored twice through Ahmed Musa they were undone by a Messi double and a 50th minute Marcos Rojo goal.
But they still became the first African side to qualify so far this edition when their principle group rivals Iran suffered a 3-1 loss against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Argentina had already qualified before the final round of group matches.
Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Avdija Vrsajevic all hit the mark in Salvador making sure the World Cup debutants go home with at least one win in their suitcase.
Iran meanwhile went from last 16 hopefuls on the final day of Group F fixtures to ending their campaign bottom of the pile.
Ready for history
Algeria are just 90 minutes away from history and reaching the knockout stages for the first time.
The Desert Warriors need to avoid defeat Russia who are also looking to make history in reaching the last 16.
Germany play the United States in Group G’s final match, USA coach Jurgen Klinsman takes on his former Germany assistant coach Joachim Loew, who is now at the helm of Die Mannschaft.
A draw for Germany and the USA in Recife will see both teams advance to the last 16.
Both coaches have had to fend off questions of a possible gentleman’s agreement but have sharply rejected any suggestions of a deal to offer up safe passage.
Loew has a fully fit squad after defender Jerome Boateng and midfielder Sami Khedira recovered from the knocks they picked up against Ghana.
Klinsmann however will still be without striker Jozy Altidore as he recovers from a hamstring strain.
Against Portugal Klinsmann responded by inserting Graham Zusi into the midfield whilst leaving veteran striker Clint Dempsey all alone up front to do the damage.
It’s a system Klinsmann is expected to stick with for their final Group match.
There are many permutations for this group but simply put a draw between USA and Germany will send Ghana and Portugal home – whatever the result in Brasilia.
Both Algeria and Russia are hunting a maiden appearance in the last 16 of the World Cup but as Belgium have already qualified there’s one spot left for grabs.
The North Africans will be full of confidence after their 4-2 win over South Korea last time out.
Coach Vahid Halilhodzic has no injury nor suspensions concerns and is expected to field an identical team from five days ago.
Russia need to win this one to have a chance.
Boss Fabio Capello could be without Dynamo Moscow right-back Aleksei Kozlov who suffered a knock in the Belgium defeat.
Striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov is one goal away from being Russia’s all-time top scorer – what better game to do it in than a do or die World Cup fixture.
A win for Algeria and they’re through – Russia need a little help as they need to win and hope Belgium beat South Korea who haven’t won a match so far.
Being eliminated at the group stage for a second consecutive time hit Italy like an earthquake.
His country demanded a fifth world cup title – instead it was the early exit door once again.
The final straw was the one nil defeat by Uruguay which sealed their fate.
Prandelli was not the only man to fall on his sword as Italian Federation president Giancarlo Abete also stepped down.
42-year-old former France international Sabri Lamouchi also quit his role as coach of the Cote d’Ivoire after the Elephants lost 2-1 in the dying seconds to Greece in their final Group C game, leaving the African side eliminated.
Lamouchi’s contract ran out at the end of the tournament.
Another coach to fall by the wayside is Japan’s Italian boss Alberto Zaccheroni has also vacated his position after his side failed to qualify for the knockout stages.
Suarez bites off more than he can chew
Luis Suarez biting Italian Giorgio has been a major talking point recently at the World Cup.
It’s not the first time for the prolific goalscorer has acted out like this.
FIFA confirmed that it will review the case and give a ruling before Uruguay’s next match against Colombia in the last 16.
FIFA’s head of media Delia Fischer said: “The Disciplinary Committee understands the urgency of the matter, is working to get all and assess all elements in order to make a decision as early as possible, particularly given that Uruguay is still in the tournament.”
If found guilty Suarez, who has twice before been punished for similar offences, could be facing a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years.
We might be wrong
It’s time for the Euronews sports team’s predictions, we might be wrong, but we’ll have a go anyway.
Send us your predictions and comments via the social networks using #TheCornerScores.
Well here there are, we see Portugal beating Ghana 2-1 but predict it won’t be enough as we believe, despite what the coaches say, the USA and Germany will draw and both progress to the last 16.
We predict that Algeria and Russia will share the spoils at one all and Belgium to comfortably beat South Korea 3-1 – meaning we feel Algeria will join Belgium in the next phase.