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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

World Cup 2018: Day 14 as it happened - Brazil through to last-16 after Germany crash out

Sweden and Mexico the sides to go through from Group F. Brazil v Serbia and Switzerland v Costa Rica at 10pm in Group E

Paulinho, left, scored a fine goal to open the scoring for Brazil in the 2-0 win over Serbia. Felipe Trueba / EPA
Paulinho, left, scored a fine goal to open the scoring for Brazil in the 2-0 win over Serbia. Felipe Trueba / EPA

12.20am: More drama on Day 15?

Wow, what a day at the 2018 World Cup. Germany are eliminated in the first round for 80 years and for the first ever time since the group stages were introduced.

In their place, Sweden and Mexico progress from Group F, while in the later fixtures, Brazil continued their bid for a sixth title by topping Group E. They will be joined by Switzerland in the last-16.

Day 15 is the turn of Group H to be decided. Apart from Poland, any of Senegal, Colombia and Japan can still qualify. Senegal face Colombia (kick-off 6pm) knowing a point is enough to secure their place in the last-16, while Japan also need only a draw against Poland to advance.

Then later, Group G will find out who will progress top when Belgium and England, locked on six points each, take each other on at 10pm. In the dead rubber of that group, Tunisia and Panama face off for bragging rights.

We're already looking forward to it. See you tomorrow!

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12.05am: Double celebration for Brazil

Brazil booked their place in the last-16 with a solid 2-0 win over Serbia, and it was a double celebration for the five-time champions after rivals Germany were eliminated in the earlier round of fixtures.

The same Germany that inflicted "the 7-1" four years ago - and widely considered Brazil's biggest challenge for the 2018 trophy - were sent packing by South Korea.

The Nationa;l's John McAuley was at the Spartak Stadium to witness Brazil's win over Serbia and you can enjoy his match report here.

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8pm: Sweden and Mexico through - Germany are out

For the first time since 1938, and the first time ever since group stages were introduced, Germany are out in the first round.

The world champions are gone. For the fourth time in five tournaments the defending champions have failed to make it out of the group stages.

Germany's 2-0 defeat to already eliminated South Korea has ended their hopes. They dominated the second half but were unable to find the goal they needed.

A 1-0 victory would have been enough to qualify but instead it is Sweden and Mexico who go through.

Mexico had started the day top of Group F, but despite losing 3-0 to the Swedes they still qualify, albeit in second spot.

The inquest will now begin for Joachim Low's side.

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3.55pm - World Cup a costly business for Germany

German fans watching their team’s decisive standoff with South Korea could cost Europe’s largest economy as much as €200 million.

The game begins at 4pm Berlin time, when around 30 per cent of German employees are still at work, according to the Cologne Institute for Economic Research. If every second person watches the game, with an average of one hour’s work being wasted, that could cost the economy between €130m and €200m, Bloomberg reported.

The calculations are based on estimates for labour and holiday costs in Germany, and applied to workers who - among other criteria - don’t already have part-time schedules or are on vacation.

The institute’s labour market expert Christoph Schroeder says there could also be positive effects for productivity. According to him, “it’s not always all about money, but also about team building.”

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3.40pm - Twenty-eight years since THAT Platt volley

It's England versus Belgium tomorrow, and who remembers that David Platt swivel and volley deep into extra-time when the two teams met at the 1990 World Cup?

Richard Jolly previews the encounter between Group G's top two teams who have both already qualified for the next stage.

For England, Dele Alli has been training again after missing the 6-1 drubbing of Panama with a thigh problem, while Harry Kane will be hungry for more goals.

Both sides could rest players, especially Belgium who have Thomas Meunier, Jan Vertonghen and Kevin de Bruyne on yellow cards.

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2.25pm - I'm done with Mexican food if we lose, says Sweden's 'Taco'

Former Sweden international Anders "Taco" Svensson has vowed to give up the favourite food that gave him his nickname if Mexico stop the Swedes from advancing to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Svensson, who scored a stunning free kick against Argentina at the 2002 World Cup and is his country's record cap holder, posted a video on his Instagram account of himself wearing a Sweden shirt from one of his 148 internationals.

Sitting at a table of guacamole, salsa and nachos ahead of Sweden's final group game against Mexico on Wednesday, which the Swedes need to win to give themselves the best chance of progressing, the 41 year old makes a plea to the current squad.

"I've bunkered up with some Mexican grub, and it's the last time I'll eat it if Mexico knock Sweden out. It's a huge sacrifice from me, so make sure you eat them [the Mexicans] up. Best of luck!" he says in the video.

The midfielder, who played for English Premier League side Southampton and won the Swedish league twice with Elfsborg, tagged several current members of the squad in his Instagram post.

Mexico lead Group F on six points while Germany, who face bottom side South Korea in their final group game later on Wednesday , and Sweden both have three points.

Interactive wall chart

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12.44pm - Egypt FA set to clarify Cuper's position

Hector Cuper's future as Egypt manager is set to be clarified on Wednesday, two days after they ended their World Cup campaign bottom of Group A, but the country’s football association has already dropped a broad hint that he is on his way.

With Cuper’s contract at an end, the Egyptian Football Association seemed to confirm they would not be renewing it after a post on their Twitter feed thanked "the technical staff following the end of its contract".

"We will hold a news conference on Wednesday to answer all the questions," it added.

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10.48am - Emotional scenes following Argentina win

Players on both sides were crying on the pitch, Diego Maradona had to be helped from his seat in the stands, and the streets of Buenos Aires were going bonkers.

This was the night that World Cup 2018 truly came alive.

Argentina made it through to the knockout stage after a dramatic climax to Group D in Saint Petersburg, where a late Marcus Rojo goal created scenes of delirium among the South Americans.

The pressure on Lionel Messi and his team was huge going into the match, and the release once Rojo's volley hit the back of the net was palpable.

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9.40am - Group F permutations

Looking ahead to today's action, Sweden are battling it out with Germany in Group F to join Mexico in the knockout round.

The Swedes, who take on the group leaders Mexico in Ekateringburg, are level with the world champions Germany, who face South Korea in Kazan on three points.

Here are the group permutations:

  • If Mexico draw against Sweden they will qualify as group winners.
  • If Germany fail to beat South Korea Mexico will qualify.
  • If Sweden better Germany's result they will qualify and will top the group if they beat Mexico.
  • South Korea can still qualify but it is a long shot - they need to beat Germany, Sweden need to lose to Mexico and they would need a better goal difference than both.

Ahead of the Group F matches (both 6pm UAE kick offs) we have some previews for you.

John McAuley has done a profile of Sweden striker Marcus Berg. Berg, prolific at Al Ain, helping the Garden City club to both the Arabian Gulf League title and President's Cup in his debut campaign, has yet to register a goal at this World Cup but, as McAuley points out, what he brings to this Sweden squad can be measured in more than just goals.

Sweden's Marcus Berg collides with Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during a 2-1 defeat to the world champions. Francois Lenoir / Reuters
Sweden's Marcus Berg collides with Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during a 2-1 defeat to the world champions. Francois Lenoir / Reuters

'Never write us off'

Germany find themselves in an unfamiliar situation, with their place in the last 16 anything but assured.

Beat South Korea by a two-goal margin and they are guaranteed a place in the last 16. Anything else and the equation could get more complicated. Their habitual place in the knockout stages may beckon, but they could yet suffer a first opening-round exit since 1938. Germany specialise in making history; just not usually in unwanted fashion.

Germany may go on to book a spot in the last eight for the 17th consecutive World Cup. Or they could emulate Italy and Spain, the last two holders whose defence of their title ended ignominiously in the group stages.

Read Richard Jolly's preview on the match here.

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8.45am - Maradona health scare

Good morning. We have another action-packed day of World Cup football for you with four live games.

In the 6pm (UAE) kick offs Group F leaders Mexico will look to cement their place in the last 16 while world champions Germany need to beat South Korea by at least two goals if they hope to plot a straightforward path to the knockout rounds.

In the late kick offs (10pm), Switzerland can advance with a point against already eliminated Costa Rica in Group E while Brazil will look to do likewise against Serbia.

Firstly, an update on the condition of Diego Maradona.

The Argentine legend has responded to concerns for his health after he appeared to fall ill at the World Cup following Tuesday night's 2-1 win over Nigeria in Saint Petersburg.

The former Al Ahli and Fujairah manager declared "I am fine" in a post on Instagram, sharing a photo of himself being attended to by a medic.

Fears had been raised over the 57 year old's health after he was filmed being helped away from his seat after the match between Argentina and Nigeria.

He said: "I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, neither was I interned. In the hal ftime of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot and I suffered a decompensation.

"I was checked by a doctor and he recommended me to go home before the second half, but I wanted to stay because we were risking it all. How could I leave? I send a kiss to everyone, thanks for the support!"

Throughout Argentina's nerve-shredding 2-1 victory, which secured the South American giants' passage into the last 16, the host broadcaster television feed regularly cut to images of Maradona as the tension mounted.

Jubilation at Marcos Rojo's late winner turned to alarm soon after the final whistle when a video emerged on social media of Maradona walking with difficulty and being guided into the dining room of the VIP section by two friends.

Other photographs showed two uniformed paramedics attending to him, with one appearing to take his pulse.

Argentina media reported that Maradona had suffered a spike in his blood pressure. Argentinian newspaper Ole later reported that Maradona was able to walk and had gone to his hotel.

Following the game, Maradona had been pictured looking in far better health by Patricia Villegas, president of Latin American broadcaster teleSUR.

She reported Maradona had boarded a flight to Moscow, sharing a picture of him on what looked to be a luxury jet.

She wrote: "1:41 am Russia. About to [fly]. Diego: Are you in hospital?"

The health fears came amid criticism for Maradona over his crude celebration of Argentina's winner against Nigeria.

Seconds after Rojo's 86th-minute strike hit the back of Nigeria's net, television cameras showed Maradona thrust middle-finger gestures with both hands.

Interactive wall chart

Argentina's escape came after Rojo came close to having a penalty awarded against for handball minutes earlier until he was saved by a controversial VAR review.

"It is marvellous to have won it in this manner. It is a deserved joy," Messi said in quotes on Argentina's official Twitter account.

"We knew God was with us and wasn't going to let us go out.

"I thank all the fans that are here, for all their sacrifice and to all those in Argentina that were always with us."

In Group D's other match, Croatia continued their impressive World Cup campaign by beating Iceland 2-1 to finish top of the group but manager Zlatko Dalic warned his side against patting themselves on the back and urged them to focus on their last-16 tie against Denmark.

"What is done is done, we have to put these matches in the archives and focus on Denmark, that's our moment of truth and what we're waiting for," Dalic told a news conference after Tuesday's win gave them a perfect record in the group stage.

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Read more on World Cup 2018:

In pictures: Maradona, tears and pandemonium as Argentina knock Nigeria out of World Cup

Zlatko Dalic exclusive: Croatia manager moved by messages of support from UAE

World Cup 2018: As it happened - Argentina beat Nigeria to advance to last 16

Profile: Marcus Berg, the self-deprecating successor to Ibrahimovic who Sweden rely on for more than just goals

'Never write us off': Germany in unfamiliar World Cup territory, but their strength lies in being Germany

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