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| by Editor | Posted in Betting Previews

After 15 days of action and 48 thrilling matches, the FIFA World Cup has gone from 32 hopeful and excited contenders representing their nations to just 16 contenders.

South American nations fared better by percentage with 4 out of 5 teams reaching the Round of 16, while Africa had all its representatives eliminated.

Only 3 teams qualified with 3 wins in 3 matches-  Uruguay (doing so without conceding a goal), Croatia and Belgium.

The hosts Russia started the party in style, scoring 5 to open the event against Saudi Arabia and adding another 3 in their next win against Egypt. Perhaps the most dramatic set of games came in Group B, which not only saw Spain and Portugal play out a 6-goal thriller equally shared, but the last games of the group ended with 2 wild draws that were decided by goals in second-half injury time.

Lionel Messi and Argentina’s group stage was a complicated one. A missed penalty and shock draw with Iceland gave way to a wonder goal and late win against Nigeria that saw them through Group D.

In contrast to Argentina, Germany seemed to have recovered from a stunning defeat to Mexico with a last-gasp win over Sweden only to be eliminated by a loss against the Korea Republic. This was the first group stage exit in their history which brings up the question of “Defending Champion Curse” – no defending champion has left the group stage of the World Cup since 1998.


Some Records Set

  • At 45 years and 161 days, Essam El Hadry became the oldest player in finals history.
  • The record for penalties awarded a World Cup was shattered in the group stage with 24 awarded. The previous record was 18.
  • 27 out of the 122 goals in the group stages were scored in the last 10 minutes plus injury time. Neymar’s goal against Costa Rica in the 90 7 minute was the latest-ever recorded goal in regular time.
  • Lionel Messi scored the 100th goal of the event in the win over Nigeria. It took until the 37th match of the group (Denmark vs France) for a goalless draw, and there was only 1 in the entire 48 matches.
  • The 2500th goal in the history of the World Cup came from the boot of Tunisia’s Fakhreddine Ben Youssef against Panama.


As they finished

  • Group A - Uruguay, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Group B – Spain, Portugal, Iran, Morocco
  • Group C – France, Denmark, Peru, Australia
  • Group D – Croatia, Argentina, Nigeria, Iceland
  • Group E – Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Costa Rica
  • Group F – Sweden, Mexico, South Korea, Germany
  • Group G – Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama
  • Group H – Colombia, Japan, Senegal, Poland


Top Scorers so far

  1. Harry Kane – 5
  2. Romelu Lukaku – 4
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo – 4
  4. Denis Cheryshev – 3
  5. Diego Costa – 3

It’s been a great tournament for these goal-scoring forwards as all their teams advanced to the Round of 16. Not since Diego Maradona at Mexico 1986 had someone scored two goals in back-to-back World Cup matches, but Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku did it within each other in Group G.

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