By Prarthana Mitra
After the surprises and upsets of the knockout stage, Uruguay’s exit in the quarterfinals on Friday was followed by Brazil bowing out later that night. With the last South American teams leaving the tournament, the rest of the World Cup is set to be entirely a European affair.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 6, 2018
On the second day of the quarterfinals, Sweden failed to turn their luck around, leading to a resounding victory for the English team that brings them to the edge of the finals. Later last night, Croatia dealt well in a high-pressure match with Russia that tipped the scales in the hosts’ favour for a while, after Denis Cheryshev’s breathtaking goal in the 33rd minute.
AMAZING strike from Denis Cheryshev to put Russia ahead v Croatia
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) July 7, 2018
So long Brazil
After facing a humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany in the semis last World Cup, once world favourites, Brazil, failed to advance to the semifinals this time around.
Despite putting up a good fight, Brazil lost in Kazan, after conceding a same side goal to the indomitable Belgians (1-2). Failing to counter the stunning second goal by Kevin de Bruyne, Brazil felt the pressure throughout the match, due to a strong Belgian attack led by Eden Hazard.
Douglas Costa who was launched later in the game provided the Brazilians with a finish they were lacking, but not even Renato Augusto’s 76th-minute goal could salvage the rampage that Romelu Lukaku, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and the Belgian defenders brought down on Neymar’s squad.
Will the World Cup come home to England this year?
At Samara, a new England rises.
After dashing Panama and Columbia’s World Cup dreams, England defeated Sweden (0-2) with a comfortable win in the Quarter Finals last night, clinching a place in the semi-finals against Croatia. The last time England qualified for the semis was in 1990, a feat recreated on Saturday by Harry Maguire and Dele Alli’s timely goals, coupled with a good defense which denied the Swedish team an easy pass to the net.
Besides a commendable performance from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, it is also worth noting that this is one of the youngest teams in the history of English football, with the youngest Marcus Rashford playing at an age of 20.
Marcus Rashford consoles the Sweden players after England's 2-0 quarter-final win, including Man Utd teammate Victor Lindelöf. pic.twitter.com/ChR2lmQSME
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) July 7, 2018
Football experts are expecting England to qualify for the finals, and only one match stands between them and facing France or Belgium on the D-Day.
Jordan Pickford – outstanding and helped make this win seem comfortable. Well done Southgate, Kane and England.
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) July 7, 2018
The hosts have had a good run but it ends here
Russia played on their home ground for a place in the semi-final, which is not something even football experts expected in the earlier stages of the tournament.
However, their unlikely run ended as Croatia advanced to the semifinals with a scintillating performance, emerging as one of the strongest contenders for the trophy this year. Despite suffering a potentially grave injury, goalkeeper Subasic managed to deliver his team to victory in the penalty shootout (4-3). Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic slot home the decisive spot-kicks at a nerve-wracking moment, thus carving a spot for Croatia in the next stage.
— Reuters Sports (@ReutersSports) July 7, 2018
Set to meet England at the semi-final on Wednesday, it will be an interesting face-off that could set the stage for the potential winner of FIFA World Cup 2018.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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