World Cup big guns primed for last-eight battles

World Cup big guns primed for last-eight battles

MOSCOW: England turned the final group to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals after a dramatic penalty shootout as favourites Brazil and fancied France skilled their sights on their last-eight opponents. England’s victory in opposition to Colombia takes Gareth Southgate’s group into what appears like a winnable match in opposition to Sweden, who edged out Switzerland 1-Zero earlier on Tuesday. Each groups are within the backside half of the attract Russia, together with the host nation and Croatia, with England the one former winners of the 4 groups. The highest half accommodates extra heavyweights, with 1998 champions France taking up two-time winners Uruguay and Brazil set to face Belgium.

Eric Dier’s spot-kick gave England their first-ever win on penalties at a World Cup on the fourth try – ending the jinx that has dogged them for so lengthy. However Southgate stated he was already trying ahead to Saturday’s quarter-final in opposition to Sweden in Samara, with a last-four conflict in opposition to both Croatia or Russia up for grabs. “This was special but I want us to go on,” Southgate, whose penalty miss noticed England lose to Germany within the Euro 96 semi-finals at Wembley, stated. “Sweden is another team we have a poor record against. We have underestimated them for years. They have created their own story and made history. I don’t want to go home yet.” Janne Andersson’s Sweden have recovered properly from a heartbreaking group-stage defeat by Germany, seeing off Mexico earlier than edging out Switzerland 1-Zero within the final 16. RB Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg grabbed the one aim of a good encounter halfway by the second half to ship his nation into the quarters for the primary time because the 1994 facet who completed third in the US.

No South American facet have gained on European soil since a Pele-inspired Brazil 60 years in the past, however in a World Cup of shocks and surprises, nothing will be taken for granted

Neymar within the highlight: For all of the drama round England, the winner of the match is extra more likely to come from the highest half of the draw, the place the groups can boast a mixed eight match wins. Favourites Brazil will come up in opposition to Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ in Kazan on Friday whereas an thrilling younger France facet spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe tackle a shrewd Uruguay outfit in Nizhny Novgorod. A lot of the main target surrounding Brazil’s bid for a record-extending sixth world title has inevitably been on Neymar. However the world’s most costly participant has hit the headlines as a lot for his perceived play-acting as for the on-pitch performances which have helped his facet ease into the final eight with out ever being severely troubled.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio stated the stoppages attributable to Neymar´s antics stalled his group throughout their 2-Zero last-16 loss to Brazil, claiming the Paris Saint-Germain ahead´s response to Miguel Layun stepping on his leg was a “shame for football”. Belgium have been on the point of one other main match failure when trailing 2-Zero with 21 minutes to play, solely for a powerful breakway aim by Nacer Chadli within the fourth minute of injury-time to cap a shocking fightback. Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Kevin De Bruyne are doubtless to offer Brazil´s defence the most important check of their marketing campaign to date, though the South Individuals have solely conceded as soon as in 4 matches. “This is the sort of game you dream about as a little boy and we can enjoy it from the first second,” stated Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. France by no means bought out of first gear in easing by the group stage, however turned on the model as Mbappe dazzled in a basic Four-Three victory over Argentina to arrange the conflict with Uruguay.

“We have been preparing for months, for weeks to play matches like that,” stated France coach Didier Deschamps. Uruguay’s success has been constructed on a stable defence led by Atletico Madrid pair Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin, with the old school strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani doing the harm on the different finish with 5 objectives between them. No South American facet have gained on European soil since a Pele-inspired Brazil 60 years in the past, however in a World Cup of shocks and surprises, nothing will be taken for granted.

Printed in Each day Occasions, July 5th 2018.

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