Iran nearly pulled off a major upset when, with a little help from VAR, they held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in their last game, while Spain needed a stoppage-time strike from Iago Aspas to avoid defeat against Morocco and win the group. "Indirectly, they've had a big bearing on what we're doing now".
Croatia are possible quarter-final opponents for Spain.
The team's security guards had their work cut out for them, though.
"We didn't deserve to win the title again, we didn't deserve to make the last 16".
The top half of the draw is crowded with nearly all the remaining traditional football powers, as twice-world champions Argentina, finalists in 2014, face 1998 champions France. "They have shown no will, it was all too slow". "We've not won a knockout game since 2006", he said.
"We didn't start in the best way".
A few months ago such scenarios would have been considered surreal but two weeks into this tournament of surprises, the prospect of lower-ranked nations competing in the sport's showcase match in Moscow on July 15 has gained more credence.
"I don't know if this is the darkest moment for German football, but it is definitely a very black one", Kroos said.
More likely, he is being true to his word. It seems that the head coach Jorge Sampaoli does not handle the situation in the team at all, and, as they say, all decisions are really taken by Messi. Costa Rica made an early exit but shared the points with Switzerland in their last match, which was enough for the Europeans to qualify for the knockout stage. "We tried hard to win, but we never earned the chance to take the lead". "We are in the fortunate position", Southgate said. "In the second round everybody would have liked to play against us. The World Cup is an unbelievable social event that brings the passion for football into limits, because we are speaking about countries, but innovations in the World Cup, I don't see it". I go back to the fact we're trying to develop a winning mentality and I can't imagine a situation where I talk to the players about anything else.