World Cup breaks penalty record with help of VAR

World Cup breaks penalty record with help of VAR”

A very interesting encounter is at hand at the 45,000 -capacity Mordovia Arena with Portugal, joint leaders of Group B with Spain on four points and plus one goal advantage each, sure to face a stern test from the hard fighting Iranians.

With a win from two games, Portugal are placed second in the group with four points while Iran, who pipped Morocco 1-0 before falling against Spain, lie in third place with three points. Spain are nearly certain to progress unless Iran beat Portugal and Spain lose to Morocco by a wider margin.

Their final match will determine who tops the group. Iran would secure their spot with a win and could also go through with a draw if Spain lose to Morocco.

If they stay on the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded, it will come down to Fair Play points.

In order for Australia to qualify they must beat Peru, hope Denmark lose and also better the Danes' goal difference. Australia must win to stand a chance, but surely fear that France and Denmark will play out a tepid draw like the Disgrace of Gijón.

Croatia are through. Argentina, Iceland or Nigeria could all join them in the next round. A point would be enough if Iceland do not beat Croatia. The Argentines would survive with a win and an Iceland loss or draw. Switzerland know they need only a point against Costa Rica to progress. They will also go through with any win should Sweden fail to beat Mexico. If it's Mexico, then Brazil might be happy with a draw against Serbia, as that would take them through second if Switzerland win against winless Costa Rica, setting up a likely round of 16 tie against the Central American nation, rather than Germany. Iceland need Argentina and Nigeria to draw, and then if they can beat Croatia by two goals or more they can just about edge out Nigeria.

Mexico, on six points, are in the driving seat, with Germany and Sweden both on three.

South Korea can qualify if they beat Germany and Sweden lose by a bigger margin than South Korea win.

Another scenario could see Germany advancing on a better goal difference with a victory over South Korea even if Sweden beat Mexico. A draw takes both sides through as they are, while Denmark can leapfrog France with a win.

England and Belgium are guaranteed to progress but their finishing positions will be decided by their meeting on Thursday. As they have identical records so far, if their final match is drawn, the team with the better disciplinary record (currently England with two yellow cards as opposed to Belgium's three) will top the group.

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