The intensity keeps growing, the surprises keep coming and the best teams are emerging, as each team will have played two games upon the conclusion of Day 11 of the 2014 World Cup.
With each passing match, teams are jockeying for position in an effort to reach the coveted round of 16, while the world's best goal scorers remain in a tight race for the Golden Boot.
Groups G and H are in action on Sunday.
Will Belgium take control in Group H, and will the United States do the unthinkable and win its first two games in the brutal Group G?
Let's take a look at the Day 11 results as they happen, as well as keep a keen eye on the race for the Golden Boot.
|Group||Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Golden Boot Watch
|Robin van Persie||Netherlands||3|
|Clint Dempsey||United States||2|
|Bryan Ruiz||Costa Rica||1|
|Lee Keun-Ho||South Korea||1|
|Joel Campbell||Costa Rica||1|
|Oscar Duarte||Costa Rica||1|
|Marcos Urena||Costa Rica||1|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||1|
|Wilfried Bony||Ivory Coast||1|
|John Anthony Brooks||United States||1|
|Son Heung Min||South Korea||1|
|Koo Jacheol||South Korea||1|
|Jermaine Jones||United States||1|
Day 11 Analysis
Belgium and Russia kicked off the day with a rather sloppy contest. Poor passing and bad balls all over the pitch made for some terrible possessions between both teams, as the game entered halftime at 0-0.
A tweet from Bleacher Report UK really summed up the atmosphere:
Fortunately, the match changed in a big way over the final 10 minutes.
After Russia had been more aggressive on the offensive end earlier in the match, Belgium turned up the pressure late. Divock Origi finally broke through Russia's defenses and netted the go-ahead goal in the 88th minute. Here's a look at his decisive strike, courtesy of Football Tweets:
With Origi's goal, he became the youngest goal scorer in Belgium's World Cup history, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
At 19 yrs, 65 days old, Divock Origi is the youngest goalscorer in #BEL World Cup history. Previous youngest was Stephane Demol (20y, 96d).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 22, 2014
The 1-0 victory moves Belgium through the group stage and into the round of 16. Russia now teeters on the brink of elimination and awaits Korea Republic's match against Algeria.
The second match of Day 11 featured a big change of pace.
After a defensive showdown between Belgium and Russia, Algeria and South Korea put on an offensive spectacle in the following game.
Coming into the match, Algeria was the underdog according to a poll from ESPN Stats & Info:
South Korea is favored to beat Algeria according to our SPI analysis pic.twitter.com/2ToLHaf6kG— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 22, 2014
That was proven wrong rather quickly.
Islam Slimani kicked off the scoring with a brilliant goal in the game's 26th minute. It didn't take long for Algeria to catch fire once more, as Rafik Halliche scored two-minutes later on a great header following a corner. Here's a look, courtesy of Football Live Scores:
The rout appeared to be on after this fantastic goal from Abdelmoumene Djabou in the 38th minute, courtesy of 2014 World Cup:
Djabou's goal gives Algeria a 3-0 lead over Korea | https://t.co/JlORQHdmYe— 2014 World Cup (@TheWorIdCup) June 22, 2014
After the break, South Korea was already well against the ropes. However, it suddenly began to dig itself out of a huge hole when Son Heung Min found the back of the net in the 50th minute.
It was not to be for South Korea, as Yacine Brahimi put Algeria back up by three in the 62nd minute, dashing the hopes of the Koreans.
A tweet from The Big Lead really sums up Algeria's final goal and overall play in the match:
Yacine Brahimi Finsished Off A Terrific Team Goal for Algeria vs. South Korea http://t.co/YF7x7OCsDB— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) June 22, 2014
Koo Jacheol tacked on one more for South Korea in the 72nd minute, but the deficit was too large to overcome.
Algeria's win was a historic one. The country had not scored a goal in a World Cup since 1986, according to Nick Schwartz of USA Today. Sunday's sudden outburst of scoring could allow Algeria to make it past the group stage for its first time ever in a World Cup.
With the win, Algeria can now advance to the round of 16 with a victory over Russia on Thursday. The Koreans and Russians have some work to do if either is to advance to the knockout rounds.
The third game of the day may have been one of the most exhilarating of the 2014 World Cup thus far.
Things didn't look good for the Americans early, as Nani netted the matches first goal at just the fifth minute.
Early match defense has been the United States' Achilles' heel in recent World Cups, and it reared its ugly head once more on Sunday. A terrible clearance by the Americans led to this goal for Portugal:
With both goalkeepers playing well through the duration of the first half, Portugal entered the break with a 1-0 lead over the United States.
Although, the Americans were resilient and came out with a big head of steam in the second half.
Jermaine Jones pounded a Lionel Messi-esque strike in the 60th minute to even the game at one goal each. Here's a look at his brilliant goal:
What a goal by Jermaine Jones http://t.co/Ybjs7Ej6cx— Football Vines (@FootballVines) June 22, 2014
The United States wouldn't settle for the draw, as it kept plenty of pressure on Portugal's end of the pitch. That's when Clint Dempsey struck.
After multiple rebounds, Dempsey charged the goal at an opportune moment, and used his midsection to propel the ball into the back of the net:
It looked like a win and a trip to the round of 16 was imminent for the Americans.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a different idea.
A flawless cross in the 95th—and final—minute of the match proved to be the equalizer for Portugal. Here's a look at the flawless goal:
You didn't think Ronaldo would get the last word in? https://t.co/qRC4dDiDcC— theScore (@theScore) June 22, 2014
ESPN Stats & Info compared Ronaldo's cross to that of the entire United States team:
Ronaldo was 1-for-1 on crosses today. The entire USA squad was 0-for-14.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 23, 2014
In the wake of the contest, each team from Group G remains alive in this year's World Cup.
The Americans play the Germans next, and a win or draw would propel either team into the round of 16. Portugal plays Ghana next and will need some help to advance.