The 2018 Fifa World Cup is now at the business stage.
Every single match will be important and none will get any margin of error.
The winners of this round will go through to the quarter-finals and this time around, none would get the advantage of being judged by their disciplinary points.
However, disciplinary action could still harm the prospects of several individual players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Cristiano Ronaldo elbow goes to VAR... but he's only given a yellow card! https://t.co/pgQZrJBy5X— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) June 25, 2018
The trio, along with many others were shown yellow card in the group stage and if any of them repeats the offence in the last 16, the respective teams will be missing their services in the quarter-finals of the greatest show on earth.
In accordance with Fifa rules, if any player picks up two yellow cards before the semi-finals, he will automatically receive a one-match ban, whichever match comes next.
Argentina and Portugal have six players on one booking each while Croatia (eight) are the worst offender.
Even Argentina captain Messi received a booking in their last Group D match against Nigeria in Saint Petersburg Tuesday while Ronaldo was shown a yellow during their final Group B match against Iran.
So if both Argentina and Portugal win their respective last 16 clashes and Messi and Ronaldo are shown yellow card, the Russia World Cup will witness an Argentina-Portugal quarter-final showdown in Nizhny Novgorod without the presence of two of the world’s greatest players in recent times.
All the players’ disciplinary record (only yellow card) will be wiped out after the quarters, meaning no one will go into the semi-final fearing a yellow might stop them from appearing in a World Cup final.
One would only miss the grand finale in the event of a red card in the semi-finals.
List of players who received a yellow card in the group stage:
Argentina: Lionel Messi, Gabriel Mercado, Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano, Marcos Acuña, Nicolás Otamendi.
Belgium: Jan Vertonghen, Kevin de Bruyne, Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendonker.
Brazil: Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Casemiro.
Colombia: James Rodríguez, Wilmar Barrios, Johan Mojica.
Croatia: Ivan Rakitic, Vedran Corluka, Sime Vrsaljko, Marco Pjaca, Ante Rebic, Tim Jedvaj, Mario Mandjukic, Marcelo Brozovic.
Denmark: Yurari Poulsen, Albin Ekdal, Viktor Claesson.
Spain: Sergio Busquets.
France: Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso, Balise Matuidi.
England: Kyle Walker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Tomoaki Makino, Takashi Inui, Makoto Hasebe.
Mexico: Héctor Herrera, Miguel Layún, Jesús Gallardo.
Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Guerreiro, Bruno Fernandes, Ricardo Quaresma, Cedric Soares, Adrien Silva.
Russia: Fedor Smolov, Aleksandr Golovin, Iuri Gazinsky.
Sweden: Mikael Lustig, Albin Ekdal, Viktor Claesson.
Switzerland: Valon Behrami, Xherdan Saqiri, Denis Zakaria, Blerim Zemaili.
Uruguay: Rodrigo Bentancur.