Day 15 – the Group Stage ends with a whimper and African drought


Johan Mojica, David Ospina and Davinson Sanchez are joyful after the Colombia win
Photo Getty courtesy of

DAY 15 – JUNE  28. The Group Stage ends with a whimper and African drought
The group stages ended today after 48 matches in eight groups. Only three sides; Belgium, Uruguay and Cratia won all three games. Only Egypt and Panama lost all three with the Canal Men finishing in last place with the worst goal difference.

Every team scored at least one goal. Only Uruguay kept three clean sheets. Of the 16 teams qualified, ten are from Europe, four from South America with Mexico and Japan making up the 16. All five African sides are eliminated.

The last day had far less drama than the previous one. In Group H, it was already confirmed that Belgium and England would qualify.  In Group G, Poland were already out so it was to from three.  In the end, it was Colombia and Japan who emerged, the latter only ahead of Senegal on the Fair Play tiebreaker.

Poland 1 : 0 Japan
Southampton’s Jan Bednarek scored the only goal in the 59th minute to at least give Poland their first points of a disappointing tournament. Japan were saved from elimination by that Colombia goal in the other game. They advance on Fair Play points and will play Belgium at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on July 2nd.

Colombia 1 : 0 Senegal
Barcelona’s Yerry Mina scored the winner with a header from a corner, the second of the tournament for the centre half. Senegal had less of the ball but were probably the better side. Sadly for Colombia, James Rodriguez was taken off injured in the first half and the country will hold its breath on his fitness for the next game. His replacement Luis Muriel missed several chances. Colombia now face England on July 3rd at the Otkrytie Arena in Moscow.

England 0 : 1 Belgium 
Real Sociedad’s Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal of the game which secured a match with Japan for the Red Devils. The sides made 17 changes overall but the match understandably never really caught fire. England will play Colombia who are sweating on the fitness of James.

Panama 1 : 2 Tunisia
The Carthage Eagles came back from a half time deficit to record just Africa’s third win of the Finals against the statistically worst side in the Cup. Panama didn’t actually manage a goal. Their opener was an own goal scored by Yassine Meriah in the 33rd minute. After the interval Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (51′) and Wahbi Khazri (66′) secured the win for Tunisia.


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