Groups E and F were up for grabs on Wednesday afternoon with all four qualifying spots needing to be filled. In Group E, Costa Rica were the lone team that could not qualify for the knockout stages, while Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland were all vying for the final two spots. In Group F, all four teams were still able to qualify, with defending champions Germany very much on the brink of elimination and Mexico staring a top spot finish in the face.
As with every day of the tournament so far, it was a day filled with drama:
Brazil 2-0 Serbia
Heading into the final game, Brazil still needed to secure their spot in the Round of 16 and did so in fairly comfortable fashion. A well-worked opener from midfielder Paulinho broke the deadlock, before center-back Thiago Silva made it 2-0 with a powerful header. While Serbia did threaten with chances of their own, it never looked like Brazil were in too much trouble. The win for Brazil means they top their group and will face Mexico in the Round of 16.
Paulinho makes a GREAT run up the middle and pokes it over the keeper to put Brazil up 1-0! pic.twitter.com/vUvY8SHCKw— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 27, 2018
Switzerland 2-2 Costa Rica
Costa Rica were unable to repeat their magic from the 2014 World Cup and were eliminated prior to the final group game, but that didn’t stop them from troubling Switzerland. Blerim Dzemaili’s first half opener was cancelled out by Kendall Waston in the second half. A late goal from substitute Josip Drmic had all but sealed a win for Switzerland, until Joel Campbell was brought down in the area by Denis Zakaria. Bryan Ruiz stepped up to take the penalty, but his effort hit the post before richocheting into the net off of Yann Sommer. Switzerland are through despite the tie, but they’ll finish second in Group E and face Sweden in the Round of 16.
Kendall Waston scores Costa Rica's first goal of this FIFA World Cup!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 27, 2018
Los Ticos are now level with Switzerland 1-1. pic.twitter.com/yb5vT5CfUl
Group E Final Standings
Group E Standings
South Korea 2-0 Germany
In perhaps the biggest upset of the World Cup so far, South Korea managed a late 2-0 win over defending champions Germany. Joachim Low’s side needed a win to secure their passage into the Round of 16, but couldn’t break down a strong Korean defensive performance. A 92nd minute, VAR-reviewed goal from Kim Young-Gwon meant Germany were on their way out. As Germany (and Manuel Neuer) pushed for an equalizer, a long ball over the top allowed Son Heung-Min to tap into an empty net to seal Germany’s fate. The Germans became the third consecutive World Cup champions to be eliminated in the group stages the following tournament.
Germany had a glimmer of hope...— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 27, 2018
then South Korea scored twice in stoppage time. pic.twitter.com/3lFHRXsDuc
Sweden 3-0 Mexico
Both Mexico and Sweden had the chance to claim top spot in Group F, but both also could’ve been eliminated. After a quiet first half of few chances to write home about, the game sprung into life as Ludwig Augustinsson broke the deadlock five minutes in the second half. Andreas Granqvist made it 2-0 with half an hour remaining, meaning Mexico were in trouble of heading home. Edson Alvarez put it into his own net to make it 3-0 to Sweden, but thanks to South Korea’s victory, Mexico would still qualify. Sweden on the other hand, had taken control and their win meant they won Group F.
Sweden take the lead on Mexico!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 27, 2018
Augustinsson puts it away at the back post to make it 1-0 for the Swedes. pic.twitter.com/4NMRr6hbeN
Final Group F Standings
Group F Standings