Group G and H of Russia 2018 reach gameweek three on Thursday, with a number of teams looking to confirm their spots in the knockout out stages of the competition. Here are the games taking place on Thursday:
Japan v Poland (Kick-off 3 PM)
Japan head into the third game top of Group H. However, the Blue Samurai are level on points with second place Senegal and just one point ahead of third-place Colombia.
A win would put the Asian nation through to the last 16. A draw could be enough if the result in the other game between Colombia and Senegal goes their way. If they wish to finish at the top of the group, then they have to win.
The Asian nation entered the World Cup on the back of just one win in their previous six outings.
Poland have exited the World Cup after poor defeats against Senegal and last time out Colombia. The Eastern European side will at least look to sign off at Russia 2018 with a victory.
Senegal v Colombia (Kick-off 3 PM)
Senegal have picked up four points from their group games so far. The African nation needs to better Japan’s result in the other match to win the group. However, a draw would be enough to seal qualification for the knockout stages.
Colombia were pre-tournament favourites to win this group. However, an opening game 2-1 defeat against Japan hindered their qualification chances. A win would seal their qualification and may be enough to win the group, but only if Japan fails to beat Poland in the Group H game.
In the attacking quartet of Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Quintero and James Rodriguez, Jose Pekerman’s side has pace, power and creativity.
Colombia win and over 2.5 goals
Panama v Tunisia (Kick-off 7 PM)
The two whipping boys of Group G meet on Thursday night. Both teams suffered defeats against Belgium and England in their opening group games to exit the competition.
Panama suffered an opening game 3-0 defeat against Belgium before suffering a 6-1 loss against England in their second group game. The World Cup debutants have been out of their depth against their European opponents.
Tunisia worked hard, but in the end, went down to a 2-1 defeat against England and a 5-2 hammering at the hands of Belgium in their second game. The north African side will see this game as the perfect chance to pick up an elusive World Cup stage victory.
England v Belgium (Kick-off 7 PM)
This game was labelled as one that was likely to decide who won Group H and it will be as both sides won their opening games at Russia 2018.
The two teams have identical points and goal difference. However, England sits top of the table by virtual of fewer yellow cards at World cup 218. The Three Lions 6-1 hammering of Panama last time out was their biggest ever victory at a World Cup.
Russia 2018 has also been the first time the Three Lions have won their opening two games at a World Cup since 2006. Gareth Southgate’s team will be keen to keep the winning momentum heading into the knockout stages of the competition. Striker Harry Kane has notched five goals in Russia 2018 and is currently leading the race for the Golden Boot.
Belgium have lived up to their billing as one of the most exciting teams in the world to watch. Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has scored braces in both of the group games so far. The former Everton star is breathing down Kane’s neck in the fight for the prestigious Golden Boot.
Who will record vital wins at the World Cup on Thursday?