Quarter Finals

Uruguay v France
Brazil v Belgium
Russia v Croatia
Sweden v England

Six out of eight right. No one expected Russia to beat Spain, except the Russians of course. Switzerland and Sweden could have gone either way as did the deflection that went in.
So now the quarter-finals, the last eight of the 21st World Cup.

The top half of the draw

Uruguay v France

France looked formidable against a much improved Argentina, whilst Uruguay squeezed out Portugal. Uruguay have a chance against France if they catch them cold early on and hold on to the end. Being without Edinson Cavani is a real blow to Uruguay’s chances. This young French team look like they can beat anyone at present and I would expect after doing Argentina, they should be too strong for Uruguay.

Brazil v Belgium

Belgium were surprised by a hardworking Japan. Japan were refreshingly honest in this tie and it was cruel for them to go out the way they did. The Belgian golden generation were caught out by Japan, but they survived, recovered and went on to win the match. They would also have learned from this match. Brazil looked unconvincing again overwhelming Mexico. If Brazil cannot find an extra gear, I would not be surprised to see Belgium beating them. For Brazil to win Neymar needs to turn up and just play football, instead of furthering his acting career.

 

Bottom half of the draw

Russia v Croatia

Russia outlasted a directionless Spain, whilst Croatia were taken to penalties by an ordinary looking Denmark. Russia are improving, without looking anything like convincing. Croatia seem to have lost some of their energy and direction. Russia will be enjoying home advantage and they might outmuscle a tied Croatia. Croatia have the skill and they should win, but Russia cannot be dismissed.

Sweden v England

And finally the winners of the two worst ties of the Round of 16. Sweden are solid and hardworking, whilst England are hard to beat and have the best goal scorer of the tournament in Harry Kane. Of the two England look to have more gears to find and if they finally start putting away the chances they make they might blow Sweden away. If not it will be a hard slogging match with England outlasting the Swedes.

Expected semi-finals
France v Brazil
Croatia v England

We shall see

David Coalman 5/7/2018