World Cup 2018 quarter-finals guide and predictions: Neymar's Brazil end Belgium hopes as France, Croatia and England reach semis

Former Al Ain manager Zlato Dalic to make the last four with his Croatian side, while Gareth Southgate's England prove too good for Sweden

Soccer Football - World Cup - Round of 16 - Brazil vs Mexico - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 2, 2018  Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring their first goal   REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

After 56 games the World Cup 2018 is down to its final eight teams.

Here is a look at the four quarter-final games and what to watch out for.

As with all knockout rounds at the World Cup if a match is level at the end of 90 minutes it will go to extra time for another 30 minutes. If there is no winner then, the tie is decided on penalties.

Friday July 6

France v Uruguay, 6pm

How they got there France won Group C thanks to two wins and a draw, before two goals from Kylian Mbappe helped them win a seven-goal thriller with Argentina in the last 16.

Uruguay had a 100 per cent record in Group A and two goals from Edinson Cavani inspired them to defeat European champions Portugal 2-1 on Saturday in the second round.

Previous meetings To say that previous meetings at the World Cup between the two teams have not been thrillers would be something of an understatement. They played out goalless draws, in group games, at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups.

They also met in the group stages in 1966, with Uruguay winning 2-1.

The teams last played in a friendly in June 2013, where a Luis Suarez goal gave Uruguay a 1-0 victory.

Prediction Hard one to call. France were brilliant going forward against Argentina, but Mbappe and his teammates will not be afforded the same gaps in defence to run into by Uruguay.

With Cavani an injury doubt and likely to be limited even if he does feature, the extra quality that France have will give them a 2-1 win.

 
epaselect epa06853381 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) helps Uruguay's Edinson Cavani during the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Uruguay and Portugal in Sochi, Russia, 30 June 2018.

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Brazil v Belgium, 10pm

How they got there Brazil have improved as the tournament has progressed. After being held by Switzerland they won Group E by beating Costa Rica and Serbia, before Neymar and Roberto Firmino were on target in their 2-0 win over Mexico in the second round.

Belgium scored nine goals in winning Group G and then came from two down to beat Japan 3-2 in the last 16 thanks to Nacer Chadli's stoppage-time winner.

Previous meetings The positive omen for Brazil here is that the last time they won the World Cup in 2002 they defeated Belgium in the second round, with Rivaldo and Ronaldo both scoring.

Prediction Belgium will feel fate might be on their side after their fightback against Japan. But Brazil looked impressive against Mexico, and with Neymar getting fitter and more effective with every outing, the Belgians should be concerned. Brazil to go through 3-1 and move closer to that sixth world title.

 
epa06858506 Roberto Firmino (C) of Brazil scores the 2-0 during the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and Mexico in Samara, Russia, 02 July 2018.

(RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial Use Only, not used in association with any commercial entity - Images must not be used in any form of alert service or push service of any kind including via mobile alert services, downloads to mobile devices or MMS messaging - Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage - No alteration is made to, and no text or image is superimposed over, any published image which: (a) intentionally obscures or removes a sponsor identification image; or (b) adds or overlays the commercial identification of any third party which is not officially associated with the FIFA World Cup)  EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO   EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Saturday, July 7

Sweden v England, 6pm

How they got there Sweden showed considerable resolve to clinch top spot in Group F by beating Mexico, just days after experiencing the agony of a last-gasp defeat to Germany. A 1-0 win over Switzerland has got the side, featuring Al Ain's Marcus Berg, into the quarter-finals.

England went through in second spot in Group G after victories over Tunisia and Panama, before they triumphed on penalties against Colombia in the second round.

Previous meetings England's 3-2 win over Sweden at Euro 2012 was their first win over the Scandinavians at a major tournament.

They met in the group stages at the 2006 and 2002 World Cups, with the encounters ending respectively 2-2 and 1-1.

Prediction Sweden showed their mental strength in how they responded after losing to Germany, but England will have gained confidence from the manner in which they got past Colombia. With Harry Kane in superb form England's captain could be the difference maker again, and they will reach the semi-finals on the back of a 2-0 victory.

 

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 03:  Harry Kane of England celebrates victory by taking selfie photogrpahs with fans after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Colombia and England at Spartak Stadium on July 3, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Russia v Croatia, 10pm

How they got there Russia got off to a flier by beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament, and they went on to qualify in second place in Group A. They rode their luck at times against Spain, but knocked out the 2010 world champions on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

Croatia also made it to the quarter-finals thanks to spot-kicks, which got them past Denmark in the second round. Before then Zlatko Dalic's men won Group D with maximum points.

Previous meetings The teams have never met at a major tournament before. Croatia beat Russia 3-1 in a friendly in November 2015 with Mario Mandzukic among the scorers.

Prediction This is where the adventure ends for Russia. Given they are the lowest ranked side in the competition getting to the last eight is a huge achievement.

Croatia were not good against Denmark, but Dalic, the former Al Ain manager, will know his side got away with that display and they should have too much for their hosts. Croatia to win 3-0.

 
epa06861877 Croatia's head coach Zlatko Dalic (C) during a training session in Sochi, Russia, 03 July 2018. Russia will face Croatia on 07 July in a quarter final match of the FIFA World Cup 2018.  EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA
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