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World Cup Recap: Groups G & H

Today’s matches finalized the group stage and provided the final four participants in the round of 16.

Group G

Belgium began the day already qualified and with the task of facing South Korea who still had hopes of advancing. They met in Sao Paolo, despite a first half sendoff of midfielder Steven Defour— the Belgians obtained their third victory 1-0 over South Korea.

Jan Vertonghen took advantage of a rebound poorly provided by Korean keeper Kim Seung-Gyu to put Belgium ahead for good in the 77th minute. Belgium advances with a perfect record in the group stage, same as Argentina, the Netherlands and Colombia.

The next game featured Algeria, who needed a tie to join Nigeria as the second African nation in the knockout stages.

The task became tougher after an early Russian goal by Aleksandr Kokorin in the 60th minute. But in the second half Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev came out looking for a crossed ball on a corner kick, missed terribly, and Algeria’s Islam Slimani was there to make him pay.

Algeria and Russia finished tied at one in Curitiba and put the Algeria in the next round for the first time in their national teams history.

Group H

The day began with Germany and the United States at the top of the group with a favorable goal difference for the Germans. The two teams met at Arena Pernambuco in Recife, needing a tie to advance.

The game was completely controlled by the three-time World Cup champions with scarce offensive opportunities created by the Americans. Thomas Muller scored the only goal of the match in the 55th minute to give the Germans the win and the first place in the group.

Muller ties Lionel Messi and Neymar as the leading scorers of the tournament with four goals each.

An American loss meant both Portugal and Ghana could still advance with a win and enough goals to break the tie in points with the U.S. in their favor. The 2-1 final in Brasilia, included Cristiano Ronaldo’s first and only goal in Brazil 2014, the goal gave the Portuguese their only win of the tournament, but was not enough to prevent their elimination.

With the result in Brasilia, and despite the loss to the Germans, the United States advance into the knockout stage of the tournament for the second consecutive World Cup. In the round of 16 the Americans will face one of the dark horses of the tournament and winner of Group G Belgium.

Germany will look to continue its tremendous streak of reaching the quarter finals of a World Cup first by facing Algeria in the round of 16.

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected]

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World Cup Recap: Groups G & H