Seagulls Trio Eyeing World Cup Knockout Spots

All three of Brighton's players at the 2018 World Cup will be hoping to seal their place in the final 16 of the tournament this week.

The closing round of games in group stage begun in Russia yesterday afternoon, with two Albion players hoping to avoid an early exit from the competition later today.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan and Australia sit third in Group C heading into their final clash with Peru at 3pm BST in Sochi. The 26-year old has played every minute for Socceroos in their opening defeat to France and 1-1 draw with Denmark 

They will need to win and hope that the second placed Danes lose their clash with France - who have already sealed their place in the next round - in Moscow, with goal difference and goals scored likely to determine who will progress to the last 16.

If they qualify for the knockouts, Australia would play the winner of Group D, which features one of Ryan's new Albion teammates in Leon Balogun. The defender, who joined the Seagulls this summer from German side Mainz, has featured for Nigeria in both of their games of the tournament so far.

The Super Eagles sit second in their table heading into tonight's clash with Argentina at 7pm BST in Saint Petersburg. The West African nation know that a draw against the two-time World Cup winners should be enough to see them secure a last 16 clash with France, however that would change if Iceland beat top-of-the-table Croatia by a two-goal margin. Defeat this evening would see the Argentines leapfrog Nigeria and end their World Cup campaign.

Jose Izquierdo will be hoping to play a part in guiding Colombia to a last 16 clash against England or Belgium when they play Senegal their final Group H game at 3pm BST on Thursday. The winger started in the South American side's defeat to Japan but was an unused substitute in Sunday's win over Poland.

La Tricolor sit third behind their final group opponents and Japan. A win over Senegal in Samara will guarantee their spot in the final 16, with a draw also being enough if Japan lose their final game against a Poland side with nothing but pride to play for after being eliminated from the tournament at the weekend.

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