There’s just no stopping the World Cup action, and we are at the stage of the tournament where teams are being either sent home or into the knockout stages. Russia 2018 has waved goodbye to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, with hosts Russia and Uruguay the first two teams to secure their spots in the Round of 16.
Day 9 of the tournament brings us action from Groups D and E. Nigeria could be sent home if they lose to Iceland, and Costa Rica could suffer the same fate if they lose to Brazil. As for Serbia, a win over the Swiss would see them secure a trip to the knockouts for the first time in their independent history.
The Man of the Match in those games will be rewarded with a ratings boost on the World Cup mode of FIFA Ultimate Team. You can vote for your choices on EA’s FIFA Twitter page, and then find the cards in packs or through challenges in FUT. RealSport looks at who’s in the running in Friday’s action.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (OVR 85 – 86)
Gylfi Sigurdsson is the heartbeat of the Iceland team. The Everton man played well in their opener against Argentina and was perhaps the best midfielder on the park in the 1-1 draw. Iceland must build on that draw with a win over struggling Nigeria, and Sigurdsson must look to find space against a disciplined midfield containing John Obi Mikel (OVR 77) and Wilfred Ndidi (OVR 79).
The £45 million man has the quality to do that and look to add to his 19 goals at international level, in one of the biggest games in his country’s history.
Keep an eye on: Alex Iwobi (OVR 76)
Gabriel Jesus (OVR 85 – 86)
Neymar may miss out on Brazil’s clash against Costa Rica, in a game that the Selecao must win, and look to rack up the goals tally. The goal scoring onus will then fall on the 21-year-old Gabriel Jesus, who has 9 goals in just 17 games for his country. With Roberto Firmino itching for game time, Jesus must secure his place in the starting lineup by notching against a weak Costa Rican side, who could be knocked out if the competition if they lose.
Jesus hasn’t been the same player since returning from his injury in February, scoring just seven goals for club and country since. It’s time for him to showcase how much quality he has on the biggest stage.
Keep an eye on: Keylor Navas (OVR 86)
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (OVR 83 – 85)
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was one of the best players on the pitch for Serbia in their 1-0 win over Costa Rica, and if it hadn’t been for some wasteful finishing from his teammates, he would have a couple of assists to his name. With a lot of clubs sniffing around the Lazio attacking midfielder this summer, he’ll increase the interest in him at the World Cup and his transfer price too.
In what looks to be the crunch game of the group between Serbia and Switzerland, Milinkovic-Savic will be the man dictating things for his country. With his licence to get forward, he could grab a crucial goal, and send Serbia through to the knockouts in what will be just his sixth cap.
Keep an eye on: Aleksandar Mitrovic (OVR 75)
Ricardo Rodriguez (OVR 81 – 84)
Switzerland’s side is a bizarre one. There is quality, and depth, but you just don’t see them scoring many goals this summer. Xherdan Shaqiri (OVR 82) is their biggest threat going forward, but he is hit-and-miss, so it may be the left back Ricardo Rodriguez who has the greatest influence on the game for the Swiss.
The defender is reliable from the penalty spot, which has been enough to earn Man of the Match boosts so far this tournament, but his delivery from the left side could pick out big man Haris Seferovic (OVR 76). Switzerland need a win to follow up their draw against Brazil, and Rodriguez may just hold the key to success.
Keep an eye on: Xherdan Shaqiri (OVR 82)
Who will receive a Man of the Match boost?
- Gylfi Sigurdsson
- Gabriel Jesus
- Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
- Ricardo Rodriguez
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