Round two of the group stage is done and dusted in Russia, and although many sides are already on their way home and others have checked into the knockouts, a few spots are still available for the Round of 16.
On Tuesday, Australia meet Peru and France take on Denmark in Group C’s games, and one of Australia or Denmark will join the French in the last 16. As for Group D, Croatia will look to seal top spot against Iceland, but the Icelanders as well as Argentina and Nigeria, who face off in Saint Petersburg, can all still qualify for the knockout stages.
Countries will be looking for a hero in these games to take them through, and there is the added bonus of a FIFA 18 World Cup Man of the Match rating boost. This is voted for by the public on EA Sports website, with the updated Ultimate Team cards coming to the World Cup mode on FIFA 18. RealSport predicts who could be in the running from Tuesday’s action.
Robbie Kruse (OVR 72 – 78)
Australia have to win their final group game to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, and it won't be easy against a Peru side ranked 25 places above them in the FIFA rankings. Australia do lack an attacking threat, and it could be down to right midfielder Robbie Kruse to provide the difference. The former Bayer Leverkusen has looked dangerous for them in the tournament so far, and the Socceroos will be looking to him and the likes of Aaron Mooy (OVR 81) and Tom Rogic (OVR 74) to have an impact in Sochi.
Keep an eye on: Andre Carrillo (OVR 79)
Antoine Griezmann (OVR 89 – 90)
France haven’t clicked yet in the World Cup, but despite not playing their best football, they are already through to the knockout stages. Les Bleus will look to secure top spot with a win over Denmark, with a convincing performance equally as important. Antoine Griezmann needs to lead from the front, and he will face his most difficult task in the tournament so far against Danish centre backs Andreas Christensen (OVR 82) and Simon Kjaer (OVR 80). Playing with Kylian Mbappe (OVR 85) and Olivier Giroud (OVR 86), there should be room for Griezmann to work his magic.
Keep an eye on: Andreas Christensen (OVR 82)
Ivan Perisic (OVR 85 – 86)
Luka Modric (OVR 90) and Ivan Rakitic (OVR 87) have been the stars for Croatia so far, so it could now be time for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic to show his quality. The left midfielder had a great season in Serie A, scoring 11 and assisting 11, and Croatia will need all of his creativity against Iceland. The Icelandics must win to progress, but with Croatia likely to rest players, Perisic could be the star man in Rostov to help secure top spot in Group D.
Keep an eye on: Alfred Finnbogason (OVR 80)
Lionel Messi (OVR 94 – 95)
It’s been a woeful tournament so far for Argentina. If results had gone against them, their future would have been out of their hands following a draw with Iceland and 3-0 loss to Croatia. Argentina can now qualify for the knockout stages by bettering Iceland’s result when they meet Nigeria in Saint Petersburg. A much higher level of performance is required and, as ever, the Argentines will desperately need their captain and talisman Lionel Messi to save the side. Messi scored a hat trick to take his country to the World Cup, but he hasn’t had an impact in Russia due to the lack of quality around him. If they can get him the ball in space, they just may be able to scrape through to the last 16.
Keep an eye on: Victor Moses (OVR 80)