FIFA World Cup 2018 Quarterfinals Review – Another four bite the dust, as the quarterfinals saw Uruguay, Brazil, Sweden and Russia exit the tournament. The semi finals are upon us, and it seems like yesterday when Russia kicked off the tournament with Saudi Arabia.
Brazil vs Belgium – A match to remember
As expected, Brazil vs Belgium was the star attraction at this stage of the competition, and fans were treated to a classic as Belgium defeated favorites, Brazil in a highly intense, edge of your seat encounter. The first half was most memorable, as it saw the red devils bamboozle the Brazilian backline with wave after wave of attack (counters) while transitioning with lightning speed. A front three of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and Eden Hazard was just too much for the Selecao, as their combination saw De Bruyne deliver a masterclass with his passes, movement and most importantly, the winning goal. It’s salient to note, that the game could’ve gone either way if a deluge of efforts from the Brazilians had been spot on. Also, an in-form Courtois can be held responsible for foiling them, with a stoppage-time save capping a magnificent evening from the Chelsea man.
Uruguay’s world cup campaign came to a grinding halt as they lost 2-0 to France. A Raphael Varane header and an uncharacteristic howler from the goalkeeper, Fernando Muslera coming from an Antoine Griezmann shot on goal, handed the French their ticket into the semifinals. Uruguay were without round of 16 hero, Cavani as he failed a late fitness test. Les Blues March into the semis with more confidence as their performance whilst not entirely dominating ensured victory. They face off Belgium in the semifinals.
England roaring to the semis
The three Lions aren’t a flamboyant side but are rather effective when it comes to taking their chances. An encore was on show at the Samara arena, as they battled it out for a semifinal place with Sweden. Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli were enough to see off a lacklustre Sweden. The goals marked their eighth and ninth – the highest in World Cup so far, from set pieces. The stage is set for them to make a semifinal appearance, a first since 1990. They’ll have to do better though, if they’re to secure a place in the final.
Russia fairytale over
The hosts can hold their heads high despite losing out to Croatia on penalties. Russia made history by coming this far in the tournament, as they faced Croatia in their first World Cup quarterfinal match. They went ahead through a Denis Cheryshev belter before Kramaric put the Croats level from Mandzukic cutback. Central defender, Vida put Croatia ahead in extra time before full back Mario Fernandes rose to head in the equalizer for Russia, and take the game to penalties. The victory sees Croatia in their second World Cup semifinal, their first was at the 1998 finals.
The 2018 World Cup finals is well into the closing stages as the semi-finals draw nearer. It’s an all European affair, as France take on Belgium, and England battle Croatia for a place in the final.