As I write this I’m still glowing from the gutsy USA win. Tyler Adams ran 8 miles!?
Anyway, on to Groups E and F.
I know it’s technically still the Group Stage, but in essence these are knockout games. None of these teams have punched their tickets yet, and only Canada is out (though full respect to their performances).
In general, win and you’re in. Otherwise... who knows?
I - Love - This - Game!
Group-F kicks off at 15:00 GMT, and Group-E kicks off at 19:00 GMT,
Croatia vs Belgium
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
The two teams favored to win the group battle it out. A win gets either team through. A tie may be enough too, but neither will want to rely on the result of the other game.
Croatia drew 0-0 against Morocco before coming back with a vengeance against Canada. In a group where goal difference may matter, those goals are important. Croatia has the experience.
Belgium has underperformed in this Cup. Will KDB finally step up? Can Lukaku score? Or will the team that lost to Morocco also lose to Croatia?
Prediction: Croatia 2 - 1 Belgium
Canada vs Morocco
Al Thumama Stadium
Canada will be ruing the PK miss in Game One (and maybe choosing Alphonso Davies over Jonathan David to take it). There’s a chance to play spoiler here, and the experience will help season this team that will be back in 2026 on home turf. They have played fast and fearless, and often the best parts of you are your worst parts, as Croatia took advantage of these in the comeback win. A victory here would help ease the pain of crashing out... a little.
Morocco’s win against Belgium turned the group on its head — Or maybe it turned us right side up to reality. What a display from the African side! The win was fully deserved, and the Moroccans will think themselves favorites in this match, which isn’t a role they’ve had yet. They haven’t conceded yet either. A draw may be enough, but only maybe. They will want the win and to keep their momentum.
Canada has nothing to lose, so this will not be easy for Morocco.
Prediction: Canada 2 - Morocco 2
Japan vs Spain
Khalifa International Stadium
We’ve seen the good and bad of Japan. Their win versus Germany was a shocker, though deserved. But their inability to get even a point against a demoralized Costa Rica team means that they need they most likely need a win here. A tie could be enough, but that’s asking for a lot from the other game.
A tie gets Spain through, but they will want the win to keep a secure hold on the top spot in the group. I could see some rotation here, but with their depth, they shouldn’t miss a beat. Even against a tough German side they held 64% of the possession. Six different players have scored, so they will have confidence going into this one too.
Prediction: Japan 0 - 2 Spain
Costa Rica vs Germany
Al Bayt Stadium
It looked like both of these teams were going to struggle after first round losses. But here they are, each with at least a chance of moving forward.
Costa Rica go through with a tie and Spain win/Japan loss. Clearly that’s easier said than done. They got the full three points against Japan, but were destroyed by Spain. They will think they belong after gaining a win. Things will have to bounce their way too though.
Germany have to win, and it’s possible that even that won’t be enough. The Germans will come out on the front foot, which may leave them exposed. They will pressure the Costa Ricans from start to finish. They want to win. They need to win. They showed that they have the grit, and there is real quality there. An early goal would settle nerves, but if they can’t break down the Ticos or if they get scored on early, it’ll add to the nerves instead of calm them. They are the better team.
Prediction: Costa Rica 0 - 3 Germany
Things are starting to take shape for the knock out rounds. Is your team through? Will there be more upsets here? Will the big names steps up in the big games!?