And then there were 16. With the footballing equivalent of wheat (Croatia? Uruguay?) sorted from the chaff (Panama, Saudi Arabia…. Germany) after 15 days that have seemed like about six, we find ourselves at the business end of the tournament. Sixteen teams gone, 16 left. Eight (give or take) mouthwatering ties to look forward to and more twists and turns than the big dipper next to Sochi’s World Cup training facility guaranteed. But first, an entire day of no live football to contend with. How on earth will we cope?
By firing up another liveblog, that’s how. And why not? There’s plenty to dissect from the final four games of the group stage, including England and Belgium’s team changes, Senegal’s disciplinary woe, a Japanese farce and Tunisia’s first win in 40 years (at a World Cup finals, of course). Much more on all that in due course.
Throughout the course of the day/evening/whatever it is where you are, please do feel free to get in touch on email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@mike_hytner) or below the line. Meanwhile, why not sign up for the World Cup Fiver?