The last set of group games were played on Thursday and we are now all set for the 2nd Stage of play at the World Cup. Here is a look into how Group G and Group H concluded and the teams that are advancing.
Portugal 2 – Ghana 1
Portugal may have had a disappointing World Cup performance, but after their 2-1 win against Ghana on Thursday, at least they won’t be leaving the tournament winless. The Portuguese team got a bit lucky to start things off in the game, when the ball bounced off Ghana’s John Boye at the 31’ mark and past Fatawu Dauda for an own-goal score. Ghana was then able to even things up when Asahmoah Gyan scored in the 57’ and it looked like we could be playing to a draw. But, as he did in the game against the USA last week, Cristiano Ronaldo had other plans as the game started to wind down. Against America, Ronaldo was influential on a pass that resulted in a goal in the final minute of play. On Thursday against Ghana, Ronaldo took matters into his own hands and scored the deciding goal at the 81’ mark. Before the tournament, Portugal was expected to make a run at a World Cup win, but now they’ll be heading home as they finish the tournament with a 1-1-1 record. Despite that being the same record as the Americans, Portugal’s four-goal loss to Germany in their first game means they had a -3 goal differential and the USA will advance as the second team in Group G.
Germany 1– USA 0
Those who had America losing to Germany but still advancing to the 2nd Stage of play of the World Cup will be incredibly happy with the way things concluded on Thursday. The American’s looked to struggle with Germany, as the latter held control of the ball for 67% of the game. That said, the Americans were able to keep Germany off the board in the first half. However, Thomas Müller found himself with the ball inside the box off a rebound and was able to put home a shot against America’s Tim Howard at the 55’ mark. Germany already knew that they would be advancing in the World Cup tournament and the win just solidified their group play efforts, where they did not lose in the first three games. The Americans started the tournament off with a huge retribution win against Ghana and looked good against Portugal. And even though they lost on Thursday, they finish group play with a 0-point goal differential and find themselves advancing from the group of death. Germany, who now has 4/1 odds to win the tournament, will now play against Algeria on July 1. America, who are at 80/1, will play Belgium on the following day.
Algeria 1 – Russia 1
Algeria has found themselves to be on of the surprising teams of the tournament and they will now advance to the 2nd stage with their 1-1 draw with Russia, concluding their first three games with four points and a 1-1-1 record. Russia got on the board early when Aleksandr Kokorin scored. It looked like things may be going Russia’s way and this team would sneak into the second spot with their first win of the tournament. However, Islam Slimani had other plans and was able to even things up at the 61’ mark. Algeria still has the lowest odds in the tournament at 200/1. However, is Slimani can keep things up in the next few games like he has in the previous two, they could have what it takes to pull out a few more surprises.
South Korea 0 – Belgium 1
Belgium has looked like one of the most dominating teams thus far in the tournament, as they won all three games in group play. Their 1-0 win over South Korea on Thursday not only sent the Korean’s home winless, but it also improved Belgium’s odds in the tournament to 20/1. Granted, things will get much more difficult for the Belgium team moving forward. Jan Vertonghen was the only one to score on Thursday, putting in a goal past Kim Seung-Gyu at the 78’ mark.