International Competitions - September 16, 2021 23:00Last chance for hosts, all to play for in Group BMatchday 7 previewPhoto and report courtesy:

16 Sept 2021

- Final round of matches in Groups A and B
- Hosts Lithuania face Costa Rica in a must-win game
- Numerous permutations in Group B

Match schedule

Saturday, 18 September (all times local)

Group B
Guatemala-RFU, Kaunas, 18:00
Egypt-Uzbekistan, Vilnius, 18:00

Group A
Venezuela-Kazakhstan, Vilnius, 20:00
Costa Rica-Lithuania, Kaunas, 20:00

Key points

Crunch time has arrived at Lithuania 2021 as teams get ready for their final games in Groups A and B, after which some will be heading home while others continue their quest for glory. The top two in each section advance automatically to the Round of 16, while the third-placed teams will be hoping to be among the four best in that position when all the groups conclude.

The final games of each group take place simultaneously in different arenas, making for potential nail-biting denouements for the fans. This will be especially likely in Group B, where there are still numerous qualification scenarios.

Of the four teams there, RFU will be the most relaxed, as their six points and excellent goal difference means they are almost certain to go through. However, as one of the tournament’s favourites, they would like to do it in style. They will be on guard against complacency after surrendering a two-goal in their last game against Uzbekistan, requiring a nervous finish to ensure three points.

RFU’s next opponents Guatemala missed a golden opportunity to secure their knockout place after losing to Egypt having been ahead – a result that left the latter pair level on points. However, with the Central Americans having a much better goal difference, the Pharaohs need at least a draw to have a chance of going through. For their part, Guatemala can control their own destiny with a point on Saturday.

Uzbekistan, with nothing to show from their first two games, simply have to beat Egypt to have any chance. A sizeable win would not only move them above their opponents, but also earn them a place in the kn should Guatemala lose to RFU.

Later in the evening, the conclusion of Group A will have a different air, with the sides largely masters of their own fate. Hosts Lithuania take on Costa Rica in a fixture both teams need to win to avoid almost certain elimination. A draw would be enough for the home side to finish third on goal difference, albeit with a very slim chance of progressing to the next round. Both teams have struggled for goals at the tournament so the first strike could be crucial to settling nerves. Lithuania also conceded very early in both their previous games and will be looking to avoid another bad start.

In the other fixture, it is all about the battle for top spot, with both teams already through. A draw will be enough for Kazakhstan given their superior goal difference, but they are likely to aspire to even more as they look to make the transition from hopefuls into serious contenders. They Kazakhs lost out to Spain in the Round of 16 at Colombia 2016, so topping their group this time might help them avoid one of the top teams in the next round.

For debutants Venezuela, from here on everything is a bonus after making history with two wins from two. “We’re living the dream… and enjoying it,” one of their goalscorers, Rafael Morillo, told

The quote
"At a World Cup you can never play half-heartedly, as any team can make you pay.”
Sergei Skorovich, RFU coach

Posted by Luca Ranocchiari -->
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