Thursday, 18 October, 2018

France vs Uruguay, Brazil vs Belgium

England captain Harry Kane celebrates converting a penalty against Colombia GETTY IMAGES England captain Harry Kane celebrates converting a penalty against Colombia
Rita Gibson | 07 July, 2018, 04:00

Croatia are targeting the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1998 - when they made their debut as an independent nation on football s biggest stage.

Uruguay have struck me as being extremely hard to beat and, whether or not it is backed up statistically, I think they have got the best defence in the competition. England, however, did manage to win on penalties, which will have given them a mammoth boost ahead of the quarter-final against Sweden.

But the world's most expensive player has hit the headlines as much for his perceived play-acting as for the on-pitch performances that have helped his side ease into the last eight without ever being seriously troubled. They beat Portugal, 2-1, in Round of 16 play, and will head into their match against France as a slight underdog.

"Yeah, we have watched nearly all of their games", Croatia forward Ivan Perisic told reporters at their training base in Sochi on Wednesday.

It means that, unless the men's final is drastically one-sided, there will be a clash with the World Cup.

Our pundits seem to think so, with only two predicting a win to nil, and with Gab and ESPN Mexico's Ricardo Puig tipping 2-0 to Brazil.

The host nation performed impressively just to escape from Group A and then shocked the world in the last 16 when they edged past Spain on penalties.

F1: 2019 Australian GP Dates Announced; To Start A Week Earlier
Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo was also forced to retire on his 29th birthday. "I don't get it guys".

I am still backing Brazil to win this World Cup, but the French would give them a serious test. "I started playing for Croatia in 2008 and we have had a lot of unlucky defeats, we needed a bit of luck to get through, but we have worked for it", said Modric.

Russian Federation and Sweden look like outright underdogs in their match ups, but Croatia and England will take them lightly at their own peril, with both teams showing that they have the steel and determination to cause major upsets.

"This was special but I want us to go on", said Southgate, whose own penalty miss saw England lose to Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 96 at Wembley.

Conservatively, I'd bet we'll see Brazil and England in the World Cup Final.

"We had fine games with Saudi Arabia and with Egypt as well as with Spain". Get past France, and they could be unbeatable. But Soosai Raj disagrees and says, "Brazil is my favourite team, but France looks to be quite solid as team".

Belgium showed their perseverance in the round of 16 after overturning a 2-0 deficit against Japan to be the first team since West Germany in 1970 to win a knockout round game after trailing by two goals.

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