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World Cup day 12: new match schedule

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There are four games today—good luck, everybody.

Portugal v Morocco: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

It’s the twelfth day of the World Cup, and we’re on to the last set of matches in each group. England, Belgium, Mexico, Croatia, France, Uruguay, and host country Russia have already done enough to advance to the knockout stages. Meanwhile, Poland, Tunisia, Panama, Peru, Morocco, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have been eliminated. This leaves a little over half the field with the potential to move on, but no certainty yet.

From here on out, group stage matches will follow a different schedule, with four matches per day, and first up are Groups A and B.

In Group A, Uruguay will play Russia for the honor of topping the group and the advantage of being seeded against a second-place team in the round of sixteen. Both teams have qualified for the knockout rounds, Russia for the first time since it was the USSR, and with that already accomplished, it is difficult to predict how intense this game will be. Russia will want a win in front of the home fans, but they also can’t risk injuring important players before their round of sixteen match. The teams’ stats so far tell wildly different stories; Russia have scored a lot, with three goals to Egypt’s one and five in their drubbing of Saudi Arabia, while Uruguay have won both of their games 1-0. Keep an eye out for Arsenal transfer target Lucas Torreira, who may feature for Uruguay.

Also in Group A, we have Saudi Arabia against Egypt, which is a total dead rubber on paper. Neither team will be moving on—but they may want to put on a good show before going home. Saudi Arabia has yet to score a goal in this World Cup, and Egypt have just one, a penalty scored by their star striker Mohamed Salah. Mohamed Elneny has played in both of Egypt’s games so far and will probably play again today.

The first of the Group B matches is Iran against Portugal. No one from this group has gotten themselves a spot in the knockout rounds yet, and both teams in this match could do it with a win. Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored four goals in two matches, and much of the team that won Euro 2016, but they will need to find some of their 2016 form again if they want to break down Iran’s defense. Iran have let in only one goal so far, compared to Portugal’s three.

On the other side of Group B, Spain also have a chance to secure their place in the knockout rounds as they play against the eliminated Moroccan team. Like Portugal, Spain have let in three goals, but they’ve also scored four, while Morocco have yet to score. Although Spain are expected to reach the round of sixteen, they won’t be able to take their foot off the gas against Morocco—it is mathematically possible for them to be eliminated after today’s games, so they will need to stay on top of things and make sure that their unbeaten run in international competition continues. Nacho Monreal has yet to play for Spain in this World Cup.

Unfortunately, cramming four matches in means that there will be overlap—both Group A games will be played at the same time, as will the Group B games. Thank goodness for replays.

Uruguay vs. Russia, Group A

Samara Arena, Samara

7AM PT | 10AM ET | 3PM BT | 5PM RT

US TV: Fox

US stream: Telemundo

Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt, Group A

Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

7AM PT | 10AM ET | 3PM BT | 5PM RT

US TV: Fox Sports 1

US stream: Telemundo

Iran vs. Portugal, Group B

Mordovia Arena, Saransk

11AM PT | 2PMM ET | 7PM BT | 9PM RT

US TV: Fox

US stream: Telemundo

Spain vs. Morocco, Group B

Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

11AM PT | 2PMM ET | 7PM BT | 9PM RT

US TV: Fox Sports One

US stream: Telemundo