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Four things to look out for on World Cup Wednesday       

By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- With just three days of group games remaining, the draw for the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup is becoming clearer. Here are some talking points to look out for on Wednesday, when Groups E and F will be decided.

Germans to steamroll past South Korea?

There is a feeling that Toni Kroos’ last-minute winner for Germany against Sweden could be a turning point for the reigning champions and that all their problems in build up to the World Cup and against Mexico (and the previous 94 minutes against Sweden) were swept away by that magnificent free kick.

If that is the case, expect the Germans to hit top gear against a South Korean side that needs a miracle to qualify. Or it could be that Germany’s problems run deeper and cannot be solved by just one goal?

Son Heung-min to go into overdrive

The clash had a song which contained the line “It’s up to you to avoid the call up,” and although South Korea star Son Heung-min probably doesn’t have it on his iPod, it’s probably his motto right now as he edges closer to his 26th birthday and his compulsory military service, which can only be avoided through exceptional sporting achievement for his country.

Son was in tears after South Korea lost to Mexico in their last game, so expect him to be in overdrive against Germany; for him at least, there is a lot at stake.

Angry Serbs won’t hold back

Monday saw the Serbian Football Federation, its president and first-team coach all fined for comments made after their controversial defeat to Switzerland, in which Swiss goalscorers Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri made headlines with their politically provocative celebrations.

It’s probably fair to say that after a clear-looking penalty for Serbia was also waved away in the same game, this Serbian side is feeling somewhat aggrieved, if not plain angry, ahead of their clash with Brazil. It may be a good idea for Neymar to wear ankle protectors in case that bad temper boils over.

Will we see the ‘real’ Brazil?

The tournament favorites have failed to live up to their top billing so far in Russia, with a draw against Switzerland and two injury-time goals against Costa Rica, and unless the Selecao improve against Serbia there is a real chance they could crash out of the tournament in the group stage.

While all the pre-tournament talk centered on Neymar, midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been their best player, and Brazil need to pay more attention to the lack of connection between midfield and attack and a defense that doesn’t look convincing.

Defeat to Serbia, coupled with a point for the Swiss against Costa Rica, and Brazil will be out, so they need to get things right and they need to do it now.

           

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