Chris Hatherall previews Wednesday’s World Cup action as the tournamnet heats up.
South Korea v Germany, Kazan, 3pm
This one is a must-see for anyone who has followed the German story so far.
Tony Kroos’ last-minute winner against Sweden was pure box office but the holders aren’t off the hook yet.
They so nearly went from dead frogs to dead ducks in this group and there’s still a scenario where they could go out.
A draw would be enough for the last 16 if Mexico beat Sweden – but if the Swedes win then Germany need to better their result. Mesut Ozil will be a nervous man waiting for the team sheet; dropped for the Sweden game, it might be a long way back for him.
Mexico v Sweden, Yekaterinburg, 3pm
You get knocked down, you get up again, is probably the Swedish mantra in Ekaterinburg after their disappointment in Sochi. But it will be Mexico who feel like Chumbawambas if they waste this opportunity to reach the last 16 — especially as they seemed to celebrate being there already after beating South Korea. What’s German for ‘You started singing too soon’? The official line is that all four teams in this group have a chance of progressing.
Mexico going out would still be a big surprise, though.
Serbia v Brazil, Spartak Stadium, Moscow, 7pm
Watch out for close-ups of Neymar weeping if Brazil make it through in Moscow, which surely they will.
He got some terrible stick back home for collapsing on the pitch in tears after scoring in the 97th minute against Costa Rica. Apparently it showed weakness according to the Brazilian press. Teammate Fagner has called for a truce as they bid to reach the last 16. “Every athlete is a human being who has feelings,” he said. “We’re all supporting him.”
A point should be enough for Brazil but the world is hoping for a bit more Samba style.
Switzerland v Costa Rica, Nizhny Novgorod, 7pm
If you’re watching this one instead of Brazil there’s been a football malfunction; but still worth keeping an eye on Xherdan Shaqiri’s goal celebrations.
Doing the ‘Albanian eagle’ got the Kosova-born midfielder into hot water in Switzerland’s impressive victory over Serbia.
Defender Michael Lang says the controversy has only brought his team closer together, however, and the Swiss could be dark horses.
A win in Nizhny Novgorod would definitely take them through and a draw could prove enough, too.
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