FIFA World Cup 2018: Must-win game for Germany, Belgium face Tunisia and other things to watch out for on Day 10

Brazil fans breathed a sigh of relief on Day 9 after their side scored two stoppage-time goals to beat Costa Rica 2-0 at the World Cup, bringing the South American country closer to a berth in the Round of 16. On Day 10, the focus will be on Joachim Loew's side as Germany face Sweden and attempt to avoid an embarrassing outcome that could prematurely end their title defence.

Germany take on Sweden on Saturday in Sochi with hopes of rebounding from the 1-0 loss to Mexico. AQP

Germany take on Sweden on Saturday in Sochi with hopes of rebounding from the 1-0 loss to Mexico. AQP

Germany found themselves in this position after suffering a 1-0 loss to Mexico in their tournament opener, which was fairly one-sided and drew heavy criticism back home.

Meanwhile, Mexico play South Korea in Saturday's second game, and if Mexico earn at least one point while Germany lose to Sweden in the evening, the 2018 World Cup will say goodbye to the defending champion. A loss to the Scandinavians would send the defending World Cup champions out at the group stage for the first time since France in 2002.

Here's a look at what you can expect on 23 June, Matchday 10:

Belgium vs Tunisia

Belgium beat Panama 3-0 in their opening game yet they find themselves under intense scrutiny for a flat first-half performance. The Belgian squad was so superior overall though that Panama admitted after the match the squad was thankful they didn't lose by more.

So, expectations are high for Belgium to sail past Tunisia in Group G on Saturday at Spartak Stadium. A victory would move the Belgians to the edge of advancing to the knockout round.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the opening round and all three of Belgium's goals came from open play. But it took a full half for him to find his rhythm, and the Tunisia squad will be a stronger opponent than Panama.

Tunisia are competing at the World Cup for the first time since 2006 and had an admirable showing in their opening fixture against England. That game went down to the wire before England eked out a 2-1 victory.

Now Tunisia surely need a win to avoid eventual elimination. A victory would end a World Cup drought that dates to 1978, when Tunisia became the first African team to win on football's biggest stage.

Belgium are unbeaten in three previous World Cup games against African opponents, and a draw against Tunisia in 2002 was the only game they failed to win.

South Korea vs Mexico

South Korea are in a slump as they face a Mexico squad soaring after their upset over Germany. So the confidence levels of these two teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

South Korea have lost four of their last six matches, which includes friendlies.

Mexico, winners of three of their last six games, had perhaps the biggest victory in national team history with a 1-0 stunner over Germany. It has led to fans and the players thinking aloud how far the team can go in this tournament.

"I don't know if we've sent a message to other teams, but internally we've spread a clear message that we can, and are completely capable of competing with anyone," Mexico defender Miguel Layun said. "It helps us to know we're capable and that when we work together, we can accomplish anything."

Germany vs Sweden

Sweden head into the Group F match coming off a win in their opening game for the first time since they hosted the tournament in 1958.

The Swedes have been on a roll with upsets of France during qualifying and a win that eliminated Italy in the playoffs. But Germany are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Sweden, and Sweden's last win against the nation was a 3-1 victory in 1978.

If Sweden manage to beat Germany, it would be the first elimination in the group stage for Germany since 1980.

Questions were asked by the German media about the team's lineup and the role of Marco Reus after their first game. He didn't enter until the 60th minute in the loss to Mexico, but he immediately improved Germany's attack.

The omission was ostensibly due to Reus' knee injury, which caused him to miss more than half of last season with Borussia Dortmund, but the player said he will be able to start and play a full match.

"I really have no say in this. All I can do is make it as hard as possible for them to do without me," Reus said.

With inputs from AP

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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2018 09:49 AM

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