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Germany, the reigning World Cup victor and a popular pick to win the tournament again this year, has been knocked out of the World Cup group stage, an utterly shocking development.

There had been some worrying signs, though, in the buildup to the tournament as Germany failed to keep clean sheets in their last five friendly games before the tournament, even losing to Austria 2-1 in early June. They went on to win the tournament, beating Argentina in the final.

Germany's World Cup title defense came crashing down in the most inglorious fashion imaginable on Wednesday.

Dan Mullan/Getty ImagesBelgium took a 1-0 victory over England to win Group G at the World Cup, but the win sets the Belgian side up for a much more hard path to the final. Costa Rica made an early exit but shared the points with Switzerland in their last match, which was enough for the Europeans to qualify for the knockout stage.

"It wasn't only Ozil, a number of other players didn't perform as they normally would". Argentina, meanwhile, needed a late goal from Marcos Rojo to finish second in Group D. Lionel Messi's World Cup dream lives on, but La Albiceleste need to improve - and quickly - if they are to go one better than four years ago in Brazil.

Belgium's Lukaku a doubt for England clash, says Martinez
Romelu Lukaku has been praised for his actions during a 5-2 Belgium win over Tunisia as the Manchester United star bagged a brace. Whoever said football was a simple game? We are still growing.

If Eriksen finds the net against Croatia, he will become the first Danish player to score in both the group and knockout stages of a World Cup since Jesper Olsen in 1986.

Juventus midfielder Khedira said that only the players were to blame for the defeats against Mexico and South Korea (plus a last-gasp win against Sweden) and wanted to make up for it.

Former Germany worldwide Michael Ballack has questioned the German Football Federation's decision to reward Joachim Low with a new contract shortly before their World Cup campaign.

Belgium - one of the few top-tier teams to deliver on its hype so far - plays Japan, which sneaked out of its group because it got fewer yellow cards than Senegal.

The 58-year-old will have to answer why the youngster was surplus to requirement for his party to the World Cup. The Egyptians lost all three matches (0). "They've been ahead for about a minute and a half, in total, of their three matches and it's unusual to see them struggle as much as they have".


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