World Cup: Group G is all but settled and Colombia stay alive

In Sunday’s World Cup action, England (Three Lions) became the next team to clinch a spot in the Round of 16 by defeating Panama 6-1 in Nizhny Novgorod.

England captain Harry Kane scored three times to become only the third Englishman to score a hat-trick in the tournament, the first since Gary Lineker in Mexico 1986. Panama’s goal-scorer Felipe Baloy gave Panama something to cheer about as his tally gave the Central American side its first World Cup goal in history.

The Three Lions now look to Thursday where a face-off with joint-leaders of Group G Belgium looms in Kaliningrad. The winner of the game will take slot no. 1 of the group and will face the second place side in Group H.

With the loss, the Panamanians were eliminated from the tournament. With one game remaining, Tunisia, the other winless team in the group that’s also eliminated, is Panama’s last opponent. Both teams will look to head home on a high with a win in Saransk.

Japan, Senegal, Colombia to battle for two spots

In Group H action, group leaders Japan and Senegal played to a 2-2 tie in Ekaterinburg. Meanwhile, in Kazan, Poland were put to the sword after Colombia’s 3-0 win sent the European’s home early.

After Japan and Senegal’s draw, it was a must-win for Colombia (Los Cafeteros) and Poland due to the latter two’s opening day losses to the former pair.

At the Kazan Arena, it was Los Cafeteros James Rodriguez who managed to propel his side to victory. His two assists and dazzling play produced his teammates with fantastic set-ups, none better than his 35-yard curling pass into the path of Juan Cuadrado who went on to dispatch past Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

The results between the four teams set up an entertaining last fixture Thursday. In Samara, Senegal and Colombia face-off with the African side needing only a draw to secure a spot in the knockout stage.

A tie for Colombia means Los Ticos will need Japan vs Poland to end with a Polish win. The Asians will have to lose by a large margin if Los Ticos are to advance through goal-difference.

With Poland eliminated, Japan can advance with a win or a tie and a Senegalese win/draw.