Moscow: Germany face their day of reckoning at the World Cup on Wednesday with the holders needing a clear win over South Korea to be sure of reaching the last-16.
Joachim Loew’s team hope to follow in the footsteps of Argentina after the 2014 World Cup finalists scraped into the last-16 after a dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria on Tuesday.
Argentina and Lionel Messi will play France, who were held to a goalless draw by Denmark on Tuesday, in Kazan on Saturday in their last-16 tie.
Argentina, the losing finalists in 2014, were heading for a humiliating World Cup exit before Marcos Rojo scored a stunning winner on 86 minutes to send Nigeria home.
Messi scored his first goal at Russia 2018 in the first half, but Victor Moses equalised shortly after half-time to put Argentina on the brink of bowing out before Rojo’s late winner.
Croatia were confirmed Group D winners after their 2-1 win over Iceland and will play Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday in the last-16.
On Wednesday, the focus falls on four-time winners Germany, who must beat South Korea by two or more goals in Kazan to guarantee advancing after a shaky start in Russia.
The Germans stumbled to a shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico, then needed a stunning 95th-minute winning goal from Toni Kroos with 10 men to beat Sweden 2-1 and keep alive fading hopes of progressing.
“We have to be masters of our own destiny,” said Germany head coach Loew.
However, Germany’s path to the second round is littered with obstacles as all four Group F teams can still qualify.