Mohammed Wahid Ullah Bakul
The greatest show on earth is going on with its first round climax where underdogs ahead of the favorites till the date as 36 matches have ended in the first round among the 32 teams of eight groups.
Seven teams -- Russia, Uruguay, France, Croatia, Mexico, England and Belgium -- confirmed their round of 16 berths till date.
The overall scenario of technic and tactics on the ground among the matches in this edition is found that the Tiki-taka or Tiqui-taca football of Argentina and Brazil for win or the single-man forceful straight-line efforts of Germany to break the opponents defending line are not working well, but Portugal saw fruitful end with their one touch game strategy.
Host side Russia and the two time champions [1930, 1950] Uruguay completed their round-16 mission from Group A, while the 2010 champions Spain and Portugal advanced from Group B.
The 1998 champion France reserved a seat in the round of 16 from Group C with one match to spare as Denmark and Australia are waiting for their last survival battles against France and Peru.
In the Group D, Croatia top of the list with six points from two wins, moving the next round while two time champions [1978, 1986] and a hot favourite side Argentina at the bottom with one point.
World star Lionel Messi’s side Argentina is still a way to go for a must-win game against the 2nd slot holders Nigeria and have to wait for the draw or loss of Iceland against Croatia on Tuesday-night. If Iceland can get a victory over Croatia, Argentina will be eliminated from the race.
The most five time champions [1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002] Brazil yet to confirm the knock out round, though dominating with the top spot in the Group E, having a matching four points with Switzerland, followed by Serbia with three points and Costa Rica.
Neymar Jr’s Brazil in a must-win situation against Serbia for the next round berth or it will depend on a loss of Switzerland against Costa Rica.
The Group F highlighted with the knock out round qualification of Mexico with all-win six points from two games while defending champions and another favorite side Germany hanging on a win against Korea Republic as Sweden to play another must-win game Mexico.
Germany and Sweden have matching three points from their two outings each and win-less Korea Republic at the bottom, of course eliminated from the race with no matter a win or a loss in their last game.
The year 1966 champions England and 4th place of 1986 edition Belgium moved into the knock out stage from Group G with all-win six points each from their two outings apiece. England and Belgium will take on each other in the next greoup battle to ensure the top slot of their group with a win.
Helpless Tunisia and Panama finished their campaign as they eliminated from the race and will play each other in a dead rubber game of Group G.
The equation for round of 16 berths in the Group H is showing that Japan will need a win against Poland while Senegal against Colombia. If, Colombia can get a win the fate of Senegal depending on Japans results.
In the knock out stage, Uruguay will face Portugal on June 30 while Spain to play Russia July 1.