Fixtures and Results
Friday, Jul 06 2:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00)
Uruguay impressed as they sent Ronaldo's Portugal packing in the last 16. They were dogged defensively and impressive on counters with Suarez and Cavani's link up play exquisite. The first goal they scored optimised this with Suarez getting the ball outwide and sending in a beautiful pin point cross to Cavani to score at the back post. They will need more of this vs France though and Cavani is a major doubt after limping off vs Portugal in the second half, they need him fit desperately. France however got here by beating Argentina in a thrilling game which ended 4-3 and had some sensational goals in it. Mbappe was the star of the show for France as he finally showed the world why he was sold to PSG for €150million! He will need to add to this against Uruguay who are so solid defensively and give you no space or time on the ball, if they can get an early goal here they should get through, but the longer this game goes at 0-0 the more you have to fancy Uruguay.
Uruguay 0-1 France
Friday, Jul 06 6:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00)
The most exciting tie of the round on paper at least with Brazil taking on Belgium. Brazil got here after cruising past Mexico in the last 16 with Neymar and co looking a real threat going forward. They did rely on Coutinho a lot to get here but since matchday 3 Brazil seemed to have changed and are finally playing that Joga Bonita football I was telling you about when they come forward with all of the players chipping in. If this is the case again come Friday night we should have a cracker on our hands. They should find a lot of space vs this Belgian side who looked at 6s and 7s at one point vs Japan but it will come down to taking the chances they get to put pressure on the Belgians. Belgium though will have their own ideas of how to hurt the Brazilian back line and maybe focus around set pieces where they also do not look that good at defending. Hazard will need to be on fine form and Lukaku will again need to be strong and hold up the ball to get everyone playing around him. I also think Martinez should start Fellaini from the get go as well just because of the physicality he adds to the game and really puts pressure on sides by his presence alone. With no Casemiro for Brazil due to suspension the wild hot head of Fernandinho comes into the side and well Fellaini will wind him up all game long and maybe we will see a red card change this game!
Still let’s hopefully have football win this game and get a great attacking game between two sides who are great going forward. Belgium cannot go 2-0 down to this side though!
Brazil 3-2 Belgium
Saturday, Jul 07 2:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00)
An unlikely quarter final of Sweden vs England kicks off the lower bracket Saturday matches. Sweden got here by topping their group remember which had Germany, South Korea & Mexico involved in it. They didn’t play amazing stuff vs Switzerland and the game quality was a bit poor at times but maybe nerves and the quality of opponent they faced was the reason behind it. Both those teams involved definitely play better when against the bigger nations per se and being the underdog. So when Sweden step out onto the pitch vs England they will make sure it is a tough close game whilst keeping a very defensive shape and getting the direct balls up to Berg and Toivonen to play off of them to cause the back 3/5 of England pressure which also should stop them getting their wingbacks forward. England however will come into this game full of confidence after playing a tough game vs Colombia which resulted in them FINALLY winning a penalty shootout in a major tournament which is crazy when you think about it! Buoyed by that they will come into this Sweden game with the same style of playing it out from the back and getting runners all over the pitch from midfield to get through the tough Swedish defense and try and cause as much havoc as possible. Set pieces will be key for England as they look to improve on their goal scoring so far. Can Sweden stop the hurricane?
Sweden 0-1 England
Saturday, Jul 07 6:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00)
Tournament hosts Russia find themselves in an unlikely quarterfinal after dispatching tournament favourites Spain on penalties in the last 16! The tournament of upsets went into the stratosphere after Russia overcame huge odds to beat Spain in Moscow. They defended very deep in the second half and held on, but in the first half they gave just as good as they got and created a few chances. No one expected that after the spanking they had from Uruguay in the final group game but they are through and here to take on a Croatian side that disappointed many in there game vs Denmark. With all the talent on display in their midfield they did not get hold of the ball at all and Denmark were getting at them and had all the time and space to play. They arguably should have won it in the last few minutes though when Rebic rounded the keeper to be bought down by the Danish defender to stop him scoring an open goal for Modric to then miss the resulting penalty kick. However Modric would make up for that miss by scoring a penalty in the shoot out to take them through. This game again should favour Croatia quite substantially but this is a tournament of upsets and Russia urged on by their home crowd….could they do it again?
Russia 1-2 Croatia