Sun June 24: England v Panama (Group G) – Nizhny Novgorod, 1pm
For the first time in 12 years, England have started a FIFA World Cup™ campaign with a victory. They have their sights set on another three points against Panama, the aim being to seal – depending on the result in the other match in the group – their place in the last 16 and then, in all likelihood, battle it out with Belgium for top spot in their final game.
Panama will have other ideas, however. Though well aware they lack their opponents’ firepower, Los Canaleros intend to put up a fight and set up the same defensive blockade that kept the Belgians at bay in their first match. At the other end of the pitch, Hernan Gomez’s side are waiting for their maiden world finals goal. Will it come against England?
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Kieran Trippier, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young; Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane
Panama: Jaime Penedo; Roman Torres, Fidel Escobar, Michael Murillo, Eric Davis; Gabriel Gomez, Anibal Godoy, Armando Cooper, Edgar Barcenas, Jose Luis Rodriguez; Blas Perez
Sun June 24: Japan v Senegal (Group H) – Ekaterinburg, 4pm
Japan and Senegal head into a decisive encounter in Ekaterinburg which is key to not just their own Russia 2018 ambitions, but for the final outcome of Group H. For many, the pair’s shared grip on top spot is a surprise with both Colombia and Poland now having very little room for error.
Japan were impressive in their 2-1 win over Colombia, even if the vanquished played virtually the entire match with ten men. Any question marks raised by the eleventh-hour appointment of coach Akira Nishino were cast aside thanks to a confident showing from Samurai Blue.
Senegal were equally self-assured in a well-earned 2-1 victory over Poland. Another win here and Senegal will be on their way to replicating the glory forged by the nation’s iconic Class of 2002.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui; Yuya Osako.
Senegal: Khadim Ndiaye; Moussa Wague, Salif Sane, Kalidou Koulibaly, Lamine Gassama; Ismaila Sarr, Alfred Ndiaye, Idrissa Gane Gueye, Sadio Mane; Mame Diouf, Mbaye Niang.
Sun June 24: Poland v Colombia (Group H) – Kazan, 7pm
Both Poland and Colombia started the 2018 FIFA World Cup with painful defeats, losing to Senegal and Japan respectively in Group H. Now they meet for the first time ever at a global showpiece and go into their Matchday 11 clash in Kazan with their backs to the walls.
Both team are in need of a win to foster their hope of qualifying.
Poland: Wojciech Szczesny; Kamil Glik; Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek; Maciej Rybus, Jacek Goralski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Bartosz Bereszyniski; Kamil Grosicki, Piotr Zielinski, Robert Lewandowski
Colombia: David Ospina; Santiago Arias, Cristian Zapata, Oscar Murillo, Johan Mojica; Abel Aguilar, Wilmar Barrios; Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez, Luis Muriel; Radamel Falcao