The FIFA World Cup Knockout stages came to a close after England booked their place in the quarterfinals with a dramatic victory over Colombia on penalty kicks. This match seals the four quarterfinal matches to happen on Friday and Saturday.
France vs Uruguay
France is the first to claim a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals after sending Argentina home in a heart-stopping match that ended 4-3. The 19-year-old PSG star showcased an electric performance as he scored the final two goals for France in under 5 minutes. His unforgiving speed gave saw Argentina’s defense struggle to keep up.
The result puts Lionel Messi’s World Cup dreams off the table as this is most likely his last World Cup appearance at 31 years old.
Uruguay, meanwhile, was responsible for sending Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal home after a 2-1 win. Striker Edinson Cavani scored both goals for his nation and potentially 2 matches away from claiming the 2018 World Cup title.
Brazil vs Belgium
After Germany failed to make it past the group stages, Brazil is one of the few favorites left to win the tournament. The Green and yellow earned their quarterfinal spot after a 2-0 victory over Mexico, with star striker Neymar opening the scoresheet. The former Barcelona player was also instrumental in setting up the second goal.
Brazil will be facing Belgium, who came back from a 2-0 deficit against Japan. All of the goals came in the second half of the game, with Belgium scoring a dramatic winning goal just before the whistle.
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Sweden vs England
If not for a deflected Emil Forsberg shot, Sweden would have to face Switzerland in stoppage time and a possible penalty shootout. But, the Swedes managed to hold on to the lead after impressive defense against tournament dark horse Switzerland.
Gareth Southgate led England to the quarterfinals following their surprise penalty shootout victory over Colombia. Captain and star striker Harry Kane netted his 6th goal of the tournament via penalty kick, only for Colombia to level the scoreline in the dying seconds of the game thanks to a leaping header from defender Yerry Mina.
Russia vs Croatia
Tournament hosts Russia closed the doors on negative criticism as they head on to the quarterfinals to play Croatia. Considered as one of the weakest World Cup hosts in recent decades, they proved naysayers wrong after displaying superior attacking and defending against some of the world’s best teams. The Russians sent a strong Spain side packing in a penalty kick shootout.
Opponents Croatia also had to stretch to 120 minutes and needed a penalty shootout to get through, and they did it in thrilling fashion against Denmark.