Published on by Darren8196 4 Comments
Eight big games later, eight teams remaining, with Russia pulling off a shock to beat Spain on penalties being one of the highlights along with a seven goal thriller that saw France edge out Argentina.
Enough looking at the past, and on to the future with another four big games to play in the quarter finals.
France v Uruguay
The new French wonderkid Mbappe announced himself onto the world stage after he ran the Argentinian defence ragged, winning a penalty and scoring twice to give Les Bleus an unassailable lead.
Uruguay’s 2-1 win over Portugal was the first goal they conceded this calendar year, which shows just how important their defence is, particularly the relationship between Godin and Gimenez. However, they suffered a big blow with Cavani going off injured which may rule him out of this game.
France are the favourites for this one, and with Cavani remaining a big doubt for this game, I can’t see the South American side causing the French too many big problems going forward, unless Suarez decides to put on a show like the PSG striker did in the previous game.
My Prediction: France win
Match played: Friday 6th, 3:00 p.m. (BST) / 10:00 a.m. (EST)
Brazil v Belgium
Brazil have gone 400 minutes without conceding now, with only Zuber’s striker in their opener against Switzerland getting past Alisson. That streak tops off an impressive defensive record which has seen them concede just five goals in the past 19 games over two years. However, they will be without the suspended Casemiro who picked up his second booking of the tournament in their win over Mexico. Seeing how they are able to cope without him will be interesting, with Fernandinho the obvious replacement but different in terms of play style.
Belgium suffered a real shock as Japan went 2-0 ahead in their first knockout match, but showed real resilience to bring it back and win 3-2 with a 94th minute Chadli winner to finish off an excellent counter attack.
These two have only met once, in the Round of 16 in the 2002 World Cup. Brazil came away as 2-0 victors that time on their run to the title, and will no doubt be wanting to repeat that success.
This will be a close game, with Belgium tipped as many to finally show their potential and reach the final, while Brazil aim for a record sixth title. Brazil are slight favourites according to the bookies, and I think they will be the ones who edge this one, but it's very tough to call, especially with no Casemiro.
My Prediction: Brazil win
Match played: Friday 6th, 7:00 p.m. (BST) / 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Sweden v England
The last time these two met, a certain Mr Ibrahimovic scored four goals in a 4-2 win, including this incredible bicycle kick.
Sweden have added another name to their impressive scalp with a win over Switzerland. With wins over France, Italy and Mexico so far through qualifying and the finals, along with a draw against the Netherlands and a narrow defeat to Germany, they are not to be written off like many would assume. If they are to progress, they will have to do it without their second most experienced player Lustig after he received his second booking of the tournament in the previous round.
Each passing day seems to see a rise in the number of “It’s coming home” chants on social media, with this seeming to be England’s best team for a long time. A win here would see them make their longest run in the tournament for 28 years, when they finished in fourth place in Italia 90. Kane has been carrying them through games with his 6 goals, while wingback Trippier has arguably been the star of the show.
Bookies are obviously favouring the English here, but that won’t put off the Swedish who have been shown several times how they are able to beat the odds, but I think this will be a step too far for them.
My Prediction: England win
Match played: Saturday 7th, 3:00 p.m. (BST) / 10:00 a.m. (EST)
Russia v Croatia
Russia have an almost identical record to England so far this World Cup, with 9 goals, two wins and a loss in the group stage and a 4-3 win on penalties in the Round of 16 after a 1-1 draw. They will be hoping to keep carrying on the hype among their fans and aim to pull off another upset and win against another one of the top teams in the world. With just 25% possession against Spain, they showed that they are capable of parking the bus to great effect.
Croatia are one of the top contenders for the title, having managed to get through with just two goals conceded so far this tournament. They suffered a late scare when Modric missed a penalty with four minutes left of extra time, but Subasic came through strongly in the penalty shootout making an impressive three saves.
Russia showed that they are capable of competing with the best in the world when they beat Spain, but I feel like the Croats will be too good for them and come through with the win.
My Prediction: Croatia win
Match played: Saturday 7th, 7:00 p.m. (BST) / 2:00 p.m. (EST)
So that’s what I think will happen in the quarter finals. And with just one week left until the final, it’s reaching the excitement levels that we haven’t seen for a while.
As always, good luck and happy predicting!