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Belgium progressed into the 2018 FIFA World Cup knockout stages as Group H winners after they beat England 1-0 on Thursday thanks to a sweet Adnan Januzaj finish at the Kaliningrad Stadium.
The Red Devils edged in front to set up a round-of-16 clash with Japan, while the Three Lions will face Group H winners Colombia. Elsewhere in Group G, Panama ended their maiden World Cup appearance with a 2-1 defeat to Tunisia.
Colombia completed their Group H comeback and advanced to the round of 16 as pool winners after Thursday’s 1-0 win over Senegal, who were ousted from the tournament in Russia based on fair play.
El Tricolor lost their opening match of the competition but put together back-to-back clean-sheet wins to proceed at the top of their group.
Japan also lost 1-0 in their clash with Poland but proceed to the next round as Group H runners-up, having earned fewer yellow cards than Senegal, with whom they were equal on points, goal scored and goals conceded.
Read on for a roundup of Thursday’s results from the 2018 World Cup, complete with an updated round-of-16 schedule and group standings.
Thursday’s World Cup Results
Japan 0-1 Poland
Senegal 0-1 Colombia
England 0-1 Belgium
Panama 1-2 Tunisia
Current Standings (Goal Difference)
1. Belgium (a): 9 (+7)
2. England (a): 6 (+5)
3. Tunisia (e): 3 (-3)
4. Panama (e): 0 (-9)
1. Colombia (a): 6 (+3)
2. Japan (a)*: 4 (0)
3. Senegal (e): 4 (0)
4. Poland (e): 3 (-3)
(a) denotes a team that has qualified for the next round. (e) denotes a team that has been eliminated from the tournament. Visit the official FIFA website for the full standings. *Japan advance with a superior fair-play record to Senegal.
Saturday, June 30
France vs. Argentina, 5 p.m. local time/3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
Uruguay vs. Portugal, 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 1
Spain vs. Russia, 5 p.m. local time/3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
Croatia vs. Denmark, 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
Monday, July 2
Brazil vs. Mexico, 6 p.m. local time/3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
England vs. Japan, 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 3
Sweden vs. Switzerland, 5 p.m. local time/3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
Colombia vs. England, 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
It was hardly the spectacular end to the group stage we were hoping for in Russia as Group G took centre stage on Thursday evening, with England and Belgium’s lacklustre clash not the blockbuster some were hoping for.
England made eight changes from the side that beat Panama in their last outing while Belgium mad nine changes to their XI. While many would agree finishing second in Group G has given England an easier road, the Mirror‘s John Cross warned of the danger their next opponents, Colombia, represent:
Januzaj uncorked a champagne finish after 51 minutes, bamboozling Danny Rose and shifting in onto his left before wrapping a terrific curler inside Jordan Pickford’s far left post to send Belgium through as pool winners.
There was very little to play for in Group G’s other matchup between Panama and Tunisia, where Jose Luis Rodriguez’s shot deflected in off Yassine Meriah to give the Central Americans hope of a maiden World Cup win:
But it wasn’t to be as Wahbi Khazri inspired a 2-1 comeback for Tunisia, teeing up Fakhreddine Ben Youssef for their leveller before getting on the end of a cross to get on the score sheet himself.
Both teams bowed out of the contest as Tunisia collected just their second World Cup victory—and their first since 1978—while Ben Youssef collected a small piece of history for himself:
Colombia rode through an early storm of Senegalese pressure at the Samara Arena and were rewarded for their patience, advancing to the knockout stages of successive World Cups for the first time in their history.
Referee Milorad Mazic caused a stir when he gave Senegal a penalty for a supposed Davinson Sanchez foul on Sadio Mane. However, it was a good tackle, and the decision was rightly overturned with help from the video assistant referee.
Football writer Tom Williams predicted what the incident signals for the sport:
James Rodriguez’s withdrawal after 31 minutes was a big disappointment for Jose Pekerman’s men. What looked like a possible flare-up of the calf injury that kept him on the bench for Colombia’s first game put pressure on Juan Quintero to maintain his star form as chief playmaker.
And it was the River Plate midfielder—on loan from Porto—who delivered a sweet ball in for Mina to open the scoring for Colombia for the second time this tournament.
Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella lauded his international goal ratio:
Japan manager Akira Nishino made six changes to his XI for the meeting with Poland, which transpired to be a questionable decision after his men struggled to find their structure after a slowly paced first half in Volgograd.
Bednarek breathed some life into Thursday’s early fixtures when he got on the end of a Rafal Kurzawa free-kick to volley past Japan No. 1 Eiji Kawashima, joining the queue of debut scorers in Russia, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Group H has long looked likely to be dubbed the 2018 World Cup group of death, and it proved to be as the qualifiers were decided by the narrowest of margins on Thursday.
Japan suffered their first defeat in Russia but scrape through, having racked up two fewer yellows than Senegal, who exit the tournament as Africa’s last remaining chance to get a team into the knockout stages.