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England beaten by Belgium; Cork a really good team from 8-15

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Belgium won the battle of the 'B' teams against England last night, and their reward? A World Cup last-16 clash with Japan. England meanwhile - beaten by Adnan Januzaj's beautiful strike - will face Colombia. However, if they were to get by James Rodriguez and co, they would avoid Brazil in the quarter-final and instead face Sweden or Switzerland. But that's a big IF, Keith Duggan was at the match in the Kaliningrad Stadium, where England lost the game: it remains to be seen if the magic left too. Colombia meanwhile progressed as the top team in Group H with a 1-0 win over Senegal, who lost out on second spot because of Japan's better disciplinary record. The round of 16 commences tomorrow, here's your guide to those eight fixtures.

One of the highlights of the competition so far for Irish viewers has been RTÉ co-commentator Brian Kerr. From banjoed to wojous, Mary Hannigan has put together 'The Brian Kerr World Cup phrase book', and it's brilliant: "The knicky-knacky redser was right to have a ging from there, but it was a wojous effort, hit the 'keeper straight in the mush and now he's gone down banjoed."

In his column this morning Jackie Tyrrell explains why defensive frailties could cost Cork in their quest for the ultimate glory. Ahead of their Munster final against Clare on Sunday, he writes: "That Cork confidence in their own way of playing means that they can sometimes leave themselves a bit too open in defence. This Cork team reminds me of where Galway were in 2015. They're a really good team from 8-15 but they are prone to stuttering defensively."

Graeme McDowell opened this year's French Open with a three-under 68 to sit in a share of second place. He is hoping a third win at Le Golf National can put him back in the frame for September's Ryder Cup clash against the United States at the Paris course. Seamus Power is three shots off Andrew Landry's lead at the Quicken Loans National, after a first round 66 in Maryland.


Meanwhile, there's a return to domestic soccer matters today as Dundalk v Cork tops the bill of four League of Ireland Premier Division matches tonight. Dundalk bring scintillating form into the game having scored 28 goals during an eight-match winning run, Cork meanwhile are themselves defending a seven-match winning sequence.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times