[World Cup Roundup] France, Belgium, England, Croatia Secure Semi-final Spots

Lynette Rowe
July 11, 2018

Russia's national team trained on Wednesday at their base camp near Moscow, just days away from their highly-anticipated clash with Croatia in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

They are not the prettiest side, but Sweden are extremely effective and happy to play the role of underdog, having seen off the Netherlands and Italy in qualifying and Germany in the group stages. Uruguay will also need big games defensively from its young midfield, particularly Lucas Torreira and Matias Vecino.

Earlier, France became the first nation to book their place in the semi-finals, making an ominous statement of intent in easing past Uruguay 2-0. More of the same from those two, and France will go through.

Head-to-head, the draw has been the most common result over the years.

Uruguay vs France is a tough one to call. Yet Selecao coach Tite should still be concerned about Casemiro's suspension.

But three of Belgium's so-called golden generation - Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard - ran riot in the first half in Kazan and the Red Devils showed impressive resilience to hold on in the second period in the face of incessant pressure. Their scores have mostly been convincing and, when tested, they pull through from behind.

But the Samba Boys are five-time champions - and they should not be written off.

I don't think that will be a good idea against Brazil, but I am not sure what else Belgium manager Roberto Martinez will do. It has been an exciting World Cup with three matches already going into penalty kicks since the Round of 16 began.

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If I am right, then France will play Brazil in the semi-finals and England will play Croatia, which would not be too shabby a line-up.

But if they can frustrate their quarter-final opponents as much as they've stifled all the others and keep their cool, they can fancy their chances against England looked. The two winners face each other in next Tuesday's semifinal. England have won eight, drawn nine and lost seven.

At just 19-years-old, Mbappe's double helped put him in some elite World Cup company. But how is each side placed ahead of the quarter-finals?

Croatia comes into the match from a penalty shootout win against Denmark. France struggled a bit in the group, Uruguay topped theirs with only wins and no conceded goals.

Ngwodo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the quarter pairings would certainly live up to the bated expectations of fans.

Cavani's fitness is the big concern ahead of Friday's meeting.

Meanwhile, a brace from Edinson Cavani proved to be the difference for Uruguay against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portuguese side, as La Celeste edged Portugal, 2-1, on the same night.

Brazil not quite sparkling, can Russian Federation hold off Croatia? Brazil is a slight favorite at +110, while Belgium has +235 odds to get an upset victory.

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