Unbreakable Uruguay vs Juvenile France
Uruguay has been one of the strongest defensive teams of this tournament so far. They completely shut down Ronaldo’s Portugal last game and stifled their offensive prowess. Cavani has been a pivotal actor in Uruguay’s success so far. He started off slow in the group stages, in terms of his individual performance, but has come to full fruition as an attacking player. However, after his brace last game, he left the match limping in the second half and Mirror journalist Darren Lewis announced that he is “widely expected to miss the game” in his latest article. This will be a big blow for the South Americans, but if they can continue to successfully fortify their goal with their defensive genius, they will beat the French. Speaking of which, France are the youngest team in this World Cup with prodigies like Dembele, Fekir, Pogba, and Mbappé. They played in one of the most entertaining games this World Cup in a 4-3 win over Argentina last week. It was a truly fantastic performance by them and Kylian Mbappé’s two-goal performance was nothing short of pure class. However, defeating a rusty and tactically unorganized Argentina by only a goal doesn’t convince me they can beat Uruguay. France’s juvenile exuberance and energy are powerful qualities, but beating the best defensive team in the World Cup will take more than that. Uruguay will take a monumental victory in this one.
Shakespearean Neymar vs Belgian Golden Age
Alright, I’m sorry. I had to. Neymar has laid on the ground for an aggregate 14 minutes so far in the World Cup! His Shakespearean (Even he would be impressed) and melodramatic diving is the biggest joke in this tournament. Anyway, I digress. Brazil has a lot going for them. Their squad is laden with talent and individualism. Coutinho, Paulinho, Marcelo, and Willian have been carrying the Brazilian flag with drive and strength. However, the best team they’ve faced so far is Mexico, who they beat 2-0. Belgium will unequivocally be their toughest challenge yet. Belgium also has been playing quite well are remarkably undefeated since 2016 in all matches. They were perseverant in the Round of 16, where they came back from being two goals down against a defiant Japan to winning the match in the last half hour of the game. De Bruyne, Lukaku, and Hazard’s offensive partnership has been lethal and will create some vital goalscoring opportunities against Brazil. Brazil has had copious success this World Cup, but will have to bow down against the Golden generation of Belgian football.
Sensational Scandinavians vs “It’s coming home”
Sweden has been on fire. Everybody knows it. They have defied the odds and is the best national team Scandinavia has ever had (yeah, I just said that). They topped a group that had Germany and Mexico, and they beat Switzerland in the last round. The tactical system their coach, Janne Andersson has implemented in his team is brilliant and extremely difficult to break down. We’ve seen how the Germans, Swiss, and Mexicans have struggled to score against them. However, there is something unlikely, yet probable of England potentially winning this World Cup. “It’s coming home” has been the biggest meme of this World Cup and has pervaded Instagram feeds worldwide. And the ambition this time round of a team who has a history of flopping, isn’t entirely irrational. For the most part, England has been on form. They defeated a strong Tunisian team in their opening match, raped the Panamanians by five goals in their second, and managed to impressively defeat Colombia in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16. They haven’t been brilliant, but they haven’t been weak either. Top goalscorer of the World Cup, Harry Kane also gives some palpable hope for British fans. If all else fails, at least Harry Kane will take a couple promising cracks at goal. And, this will lead England to the win against the Swedes. I don’t quite buy that “It’s coming home” yet, but I do believe that “It’s coming closer.”
Over-achieving hosts vs Consummate Croatia
Close to Germany’s humiliating flop, Russia defeating Spain is the biggest upset in this World Cup. No one, even Russian folk, anticipated that Russia would be in the quarter-finals. As hosts of this World Cup, they have outdone themselves to get here. They destroyed Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the group stages and somehow beat Spain in penalties in their last match in a penalty shootout where their goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev made a heroic kick save to take the dub. But complacency is not an option for the Russians as they face mighty Croatia in the quarter-finals. With adept and reliable players like Modrić, Rakitić, Mandžukić and Vida, Croatia will be tough to surmount. Croatia also won their Round of 16 game in penalties against a surprisingly strong Danish side. In addition, they are unbeaten in this tourney, with big wins over Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. While Russia somehow beat the Spaniards, they should relish the moment. Croatia’s consistency is impeccable and Russia will be their next victim. Crushing Spain was an impressive feat, but it won’t be enought to sustain them through their war against the Consummate Croats.