The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is about to enter the home stretch when the Quarterfinals kick-off on Friday and Saturday. Eight teams survived a frenetic Round of 16 and will now play for a spot in the Semifinals to be contest next week. So far, this tournament has been defined by the unexpected and is starting to feel like any of the remaining sides could hoist the trophy in Moscow.
Much like the Round of 16, us here at The Bat Flip have created a special preview for the Quarterfinal round. Inside you will find everything you need to know about the teams and matches, along with a quick look at the bracket to get you prepared for all the action coming your way.
Our World Cupdate segment will also return on Saturday and Sunday, recapping all the daily action from Russia. Make sure you are checking back each and everyday to ensure you are not missing out on any of our great World Cup content.
Now, let’s dive in to the Quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Eight teams compromise the Quarterfinals field at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Here’s a quick look at how they all got to this point and what you can expect from all eight when they take the field this weekend.
Perhaps the most incredible story to this point as been the performance of Russia in its home World Cup. Few expected this team to make it out of the group let along knockoff Spain to advance to the Quarterfinals. Given the way this tournament has gone, it should not surprise anyone is Russia can pull off another upset to keep this fairytale alive.
How they got here: def. Spain 4-3 on penalties in Round of 16.
What to expect: It remains to be seen just how long Russia can carry this magic but sometimes funny things happen when you are the host. Russia will likely have to play a similar game against Croatia that they did against Spain and hope for offense off the counter attack.
France entered Russia as the youngest team in the tournament and will be a threat for trophies over the next 8-10 years. Forget the future however, this France side has its eyes on winning the World Cup this year and are finally playing like a team that could hoist the trophy. A disappointing group stage left many questions, but a sensational performance against Argentina have people back on the bandwagon.
How they got here: def. Argentina 4-3 in Round of 16.
What to expect: Attacking options seem unlimited for this France team with older stars like Olivier Giroud playing alongside burgeoning young talents like Kylian Mbappé. Another strong showing should give Mbappé a big advantage in the “Best Young Player” race but it will take a group effort to win the entire thing. Expect them to carry possession against Uruguay and play on the front foot as much as possible.
England erased a lot of bad memories with its penalty shootout win in the Round of 16 but there is more history to make in the Quarterfinals for The Three Lions. A victory puts them into the semis for the first time since 1990 and it’s beginning to look like a smart decision to sit back in the final group match.
How they got here: def. Colombia 4-3 on penalties in Round of 16.
What to expect: Harry Kane leads the Golden Boot race and has scored in all three games he has played in Russia. England’s midfield will be trying to get the ball on his foot as much as possible in hopes he can continue his hot tournament. This will not be easy against a strong defensive side like Sweden but it will be England’s best hope for victory.
Four strong performances have turned Croatia from a dark horse into a potential favorite as the World Cup enters the last eight. Surviving against Denmark and avoiding Spain slots them in as favorites to reach at least the semis for the first time since 1998. They must not underestimate a Russia side looking to pull another upset.
How they got here: def. Denmark 3-2 on penalties in Round of 16.
What to expect: Croatia is filled with a lot of talent playing at the top leagues in Europe and that experience is showing in Russia. Croatia has the talent to attack and score thanks to a strong midfield and quality finishers up front. If they can get an early goal against Russia, they can shut the game down and advance.
Looking to relive its Semifinal run from 2010, Uruguay have looked impressive in all four of its games to this point. Easily winning the group then battering a decent Portugal side has Uruguay a game away from another trip to the semis. One spot of trouble for them entering its match against France, striker Edinson Cavani may be sidelined with an injury.
How they got here: def. Portugal 2-1 in Round of 16.
What to expect: Without Cavani, attacking options could be limited and the burden will fall to the feet of fellow striker Luis Suárez. Having two attacking options like Suárez and Cavani is never a bad thing, but they work so well together that missing one can severely affect their game plan. Still, expect strong defense and a reliance on Suárez to rule the day.
Brazil is starting to look like the Brazil everyone expected coming into the tournament and that is bad news for the other seven teams still remaining. Looking to vanquish the demons of 2014, Brazil rolled past Mexico but the job gets harder with Belgium on the horizon. The weight of an entire nation starving for another World Cup will be resting on its shoulders.
How they got here: def. Mexico 2-0 in Round of 16.
What to expect: Experts often say Brazil plays the most beautiful brand of football in the world and it is hard to argue against that. When Brazil are playing at its best there is no better football team in the world, its just an embarrassment of riches. You can expect to see great attacking and great defense, both of which have led Brazil to this point.
No team has looked more convincing of its status to this point than Belgium. Wins in all four of its matches have it on the cusp of its first semifinal appearance since 1986. Belgium will be going up against favored Brazil but have the weapons and the depth to keep pace in what could be the best game of the Quarterfinals. This could be the final time this golden generation of players get a shot on the international stage.
How they got here: def. Japan 3-2 in Round of 16.
What to expect: A scare in the Round of 16 was not enough to shake the confidence of this Belgium side who many picked to win the World Cup. Skilled in all areas of the pitch, Belgium will likely need to hit on the counter attack against a possession heavy Brazil side. Look for Eden Hazard to continue his strong play with the ball at his feet.
Another surprise quarterfinalist hoping to return to the Semifinals after an extended drought. When you think of Sweden, football may not immediately come to mind but the country has a strong tradition in the sport. A fourth place, two third place, and a runner-up finish all highlight Sweden’s history at the World Cup. They can add another chapter to that history with a victory over England.
How they got here: def. Switzerland 1-0 in Round of 16.
What to expect: Lots of defense and hitting back on the counter attack. Sweden played its way to Russia with suffocating defense and have only allowed two goals in four games during the tournament. They play very strong at the back but have the weapons up front to inflict some damage when they get a chance.
That brings to a close this brief look at the eight teams who will be taking part in the Quarterfinals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. All eight have battled to get here and sit on the brink of at worst a fourth place finish on the game’s biggest stage. Unfortunately, for four of them, this will be the end of the line.
A look at the 2018 FIFA World Cup bracket as it stands heading into the Quarterfinals.
Four matches will constitute the Quarterfinals schedule at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, beginning on Friday with Uruguay taking on France followed by Brazil facing-off against Belgium. Saturday will feature the other pair of matches with Sweden going up against England and hosts Russia looking to continue its fairytale run against Croatia.
The four winners from the Quarterfinals stage will advance to the Semifinals scheduled to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. All four winners are also guaranteed two more games in Russia. Winners of the Semifinal matches move on to the championship match while the losers will meet in the third place match.
The Quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup are upon us which means the tournament is down to its final eight teams vying for the title of World Champion in a little more than a weeks time. Those eight remaining teams consist of a few familiar faces everyone expected to be here along with a few who have turned this tournament on its head.
Four matches across two days will determine which four sides move on to the Semifinals and which four sides board a plane back to its home country. If the Round of 16 was any preview of what to expect moving forward, then fans should be in for quite a treat during the Quarterfinals.
Uruguay v. France
- Date: Friday, July 6th
- Time: 10:00 AM
- Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod)
- How to Watch: FS1
- Players to Watch: Luis Suárez (URU), Kylian Mbappé (FRA)
Two past World Cup champions do battle in the first Quarterfinals match looking to keep their dreams alive of adding another trophy to their collection. France won a seven goal thriller over Argentina in the Round of 16 while Uruguay defeated Portugal courtesy of an Edinson Cavani brace. Bad news for Uruguay is, Cavani is expected to miss this match with an injury. France is healthy and looks to be clicking on all cylinders after a rough group showing.
Prediction: France 3, Uruguay 1
Brazil v. Belgium
- Date: Friday, July 6th
- Time: 2:00 PM
- Location: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
- How to Watch: FS1
- Players to Watch: Neymar (BRA), Eden Hazard (BEL)
On paper, this match has all the looks of being the best match of this Quarterfinals stage. Both Brazil and Belgium were popular picks to win the World Cup prior to the tournament and have looked the part through four games. Both won their respective groups, but while Brazil cruised against Mexico in the Round of 16, Belgium needed a late goal to slip by Japan. Injuries and suspensions are not an issue for either team so they will be fully armed for this showdown.
Prediction: Belgium 2, Brazil 1 (A.E.T.)
Sweden v. England
- Date: Saturday, July 7th
- Time: 10:00 AM
- Location: Samara Arena (Samara)
- How to Watch: FOX
- Players to Watch: Emil Forsberg (SWE), Harry Kane (ENG)
England and Sweden are both ending long Quarterfinals droughts in this game and both will be looking to end long Semifinals droughts with a victory. Sweden suffocated Switzerland in the Round of 16 and advanced thanks to a Emil Forsberg tally in the second half. England ended a history of futility in penalty kick shootouts by beating Colombia 4-3 after ending the game tied at one goal a piece. Both sides will be at full strength in their attempts at history on Saturday.
Prediction: England 2, Sweden 0
Russia v. Croatia
- Date: Saturday, July 7th
- Time: 2:00 PM
- Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
- How to Watch: FOX
- Players to Watch: Artem Dzyuba (RUS), Luka Modric (CRO)
Somehow, someway, Russia is still alive in its home World Cup after eliminating Spain on penalty kicks in the Round of 16. Entering the tournament as the lowest ranked side in the field, Russia has shattered all expectations and is on the brink of its first Semifinals appearance since the Soviet Union days. On the other side is Croatia, looking to make its second Semifinals since becoming an independent nation in the ’90s. It’s hard to say how fatigue could impact this match as both teams needed extra time and penalties to get here.
Prediction: Croatia 3, Russia 1
That completes just a very brief look at the four matches that will compromise the Quarterfinals stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Check back on Saturday afternoon to see how bad our predictions turn out to be.
Golden Boot Outlook
The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Six of the top ten leading goal scorers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be in action during the quarterfinals, led by current Golden Boot leader Harry Kane with six goals to name in Russia.
Once the Quaterfinals begins on Friday, we will continuing with our daily World Cupdates recapping the previous day of action along with a preview of what’s still to come as the tournament marches forward. Make sure you are checking back with us everyday to keep up to date on the latest news from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.