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[Live] Day 15 : England (0) vs Belgium (1), Tunisia (2) vs Panama (1)

[Live] Day 15 : England (0) vs Belgium (1), Tunisia (2) vs Panama (1)

Russia

The final group matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup kick off at the Mordovia Arena Saransk and Kaliningrad Stadium.

Senegal, Africa’s last hope, has been eliminated from the 2018 FIFA World Cup based on their fair play points.

Senegal, who were tied on four points with Japan, had two more yellow cards, having scored the same number of goals and conceded the same number of goals.

At a World Cup, everyone is here to win and nobody will roll over so we know it could be very difficult.

[Explainer] Understanding the fair play rule that eliminated Senegal from World Cup

Colombia takes the lead through Yerry Mina.

Poland takes the lead through Jan Bednarek.

It’s time.

Senegal hoists the African flag

Africans all over the continent will be praying that the only side remaining in the tournament, Senegal can overcome Colombia in their final group game of Group H.

Senegal won their opening game 2-1 against Poland, and were held to a 2-2 draw against Japan. The Teranga Lions need at least a draw against Colombia to qualify.

Colombia on the other hand will progress if they beat Senegal and a draw will suffice if Poland beat Japan.

In Group G, Belgium and England who have already qualified will be playing to earn the top slot, while African side Tunisia will be playing to leave the tournament with some pride against fellow eliminated side, Panama.

Senegal vs Colombia

Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse, who captained the 2002 side that made it to the quarter finals of the World Cup has given his team one instruction; win.

“We want to win, the instruction is to play to win,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Colombia’s James Rodriquez, the star of the World Cup in Brazil four years ago, will be the main man for his team that lost the opening game to Japan and then convincingly defeated Poland 3-0 in the second game.

Rodriquez’s scintillating form in Brazil four years ago took Colombia to the quarter-finals, secured him the Golden Boot and paved the way for a 71.5 million euros ($82.97 million) move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

But their coach, Jose Pekerman knows that the Senegalese will not be pushovers, considering the stakes for the only African side remaining in the tournament.

“At a World Cup, everyone is here to win and nobody will roll over so we know it could be very difficult,” warned the Argentine.

Senegal is happy to carry Africa’s hope at the World Cup

Japan vs Poland

A revived Japan go into Thursday’s decisive Group H match against an already-eliminated Poland knowing a draw would be sufficient to advance to the knockout rounds after they beat Colombia and drew with Senegal in their opening fixtures.

Although a draw would be enough, Japan’s philosophy under new coach Akira Nishino has been an attacking one and they are likely to go for the win against the disappointing Poles.

“Japan are not the kind of team that can aim for a point and go and carry that plan out,” captain Makoto Hasebe said on Monday.

Poland’s star Robert Lewandowski, who is a prolific striker in the German Bundesliga 106 Bundesliga goals in four seasons, and led Poland to the finals with 16 goals, including hat-tricks against Gibraltar, Georgia and Armenia, in 10 qualifiers to help take his total tally to 55, has struggled to impress in Russia.

England vs Belgium

While Belgium’s coach Roberto Martinez has said his side will not be desperate to win this clash, having already secured qualification, his counterpart, Gareth Southgate says England is determined to win.

“Tomorrow we want to perform well but the priority is not to win,” Martinez told a pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “The reality is we put ourselves in this situation we wanted to qualify and we have done that.

“We want to win the game, that would mean we would top the group, and we play who we play in the next round,” Southgate added.

Panama vs Tunisia

Debutants Panama, although already eliminated from the World Cup, aim to “write a page in history” by beating African side Tunisia in the final Group G match in Saransk on Thursday.

“We are still in the World Cup, we haven’t packed our bags yet and for us anything positive is important. To win, or even to get a point would be important for us and the whole country. We will be writing a page in the history books,” Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez.

“We need to score goals, I hope we can do so tomorrow,” Tunisia caoch Nabil Maaloul said. “We want to win but the players feel down. I have thanked them. They could not have done more. They have done everything.”

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