The last of the second round of games take place tonight as teams from Group G and Group H look to take another step towards progressing to the round of 16.
Group G: England vs Panama
After narrowly winning their previous game against a resilient Tunisia, England can seal their place in the next round with a win over Panama, who they face for the very first time. Hopefully the controversy with the media leaking their probable team sheet for the match doesn’t take the focus away from the English team. While Panama hope to gasp at the very small chance of remaining alive in the competition, it should be an easy win for Gareth Southgate’s men at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
Watch out for Jesse Lingard – with Dele Alli expected to be on the bench with a thigh injury, it could very well be the time for the Manchester United starlet to shine through on the international stage and provide Kane and co. with the much-needed quality service.
Group H: Japan vs Senegal
Both teams will be looking to confirm their place in the knockout stages after winning their respective opening games. Senegal have never lost to Japan in the three previous meetings (all friendlies) they have had, but have also never faced an Asian side in the World Cup. Japan remain hopeful of making it through even with an injury to the experienced Keisuke Honda, and thus become the first Asian team to win both their opening two games in a World Cup.
Watch out for Sadio Mane – the Liverpool speedster has bamboozled many defenses in the Premier League with his pace and guile, and his form will be key to unlocking a usually disciplined Japan defense.
Group H: Poland vs Colombia
Both the favorites for the group now face an uphill task as defeat in this game would mean the end of any qualification hopes. This last of the second-round matches will take place in the majestic Kazan arena, and the 45000 odd in attendance can expect some entertainment, particularly as Colombia have never played a goalless game in the World Cup and the match will feature some top-quality attackers such as Robert Lewandowski and Radamel Falcao.
Watch out for James Rodriguez – the Colombian midfielder with a wand of a left foot lit up the last World Cup, and after starting previous game on the bench due to a calf issue, Colombia will be dependent on him to provide the necessary spark that can help the strikers.