(A revised version of what I wrote at this point, four years ago.)
This is where it gets crazy.
This World Cup has been filled with amazing matches, so it’s silly to suggest the best is yet to come. But for the obsessive-compulsives in the crowd, nothing matches the next four days, when the eight groups are decided. Each group’s matches take place simultaneously … tomorrow at 7:00, Uruguay-Russia, the only Group A match to matter, will begin. At 11:00, Iran-Portugal and Spain-Morocco will close out Group B.
The reason why the groups’ final matches are held at the same time can be found here.
The reason these four days are made for us obsessives is that the “live standings” for the group will change with every goal scored in either game.
Having said that, we’ll be able to ease our way into things, because as mentioned, Group A is the first one up, and it has already been decided that the Uruguay and Russia will advance.
But Group B at 11:00 will be the first full-blown craziness. Morocco is out, everyone else has a chance. At the start of play, Spain and Portugal have 4 points, Iran has 3. Spain gets Morocco, who they should beat, meaning Portugal and Iran will play for second place. Since Portugal has an extra point, they can advance with a draw, while Iran has to win. This is, of course, a simplification ... if Morocco somehow beats Spain, everything changes.
For what it's worth, I had Uruguay-Russia down as a draw in my pre-tourney predictions, which would put Russia first, Uruguay second. I predicted a 3-0 by Portugal over Iran, which would put Iran out.
Finally, I can get a bit more sleep now ... the early starting time moves from 5:00 AM to 7:00.