Web Desk (June 30, 2018): The last 16 features eight matches over four days in seven cities across Russia. Hosts Russia are through, along with former winners Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, England, France and Spain. Defending champions Germany couldn’t qualify for pre-quarter finals.The 21st edition of the World Cup has provided 122 goals, 36,349 completed passes, 158 yellow cards and lots of VAR. If the scores are level after 90 minutes in knockout games, 30 minutes of extra time will be played, followed by penalties.If a match goes to extra time, each team will be allowed to make a fourth substitution, the first time this has been allowed at a World Cup.
Kazan Arena will see the demise of another former world champion on Saturday when it hosts France against Argentina, which although is predicted to have a tie.Argentina are two-time winners while France have reached the final of the past two World Cups staged on European ground, winning as hosts in 1998.
This will be followed by a game between two-time winners Uruguay against Portugal. Uruguay were one of only three teams – along with Croatia and Belgium – to emerge from the group stage with a maximum nine points.Spain, the 2010 winners, have been far from their best, but are unbeaten in the past 23 games before meeting hosts Russia on Sunday.
Belgium, third in the Fifa rankings, face Japan in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.England arrived in Russia with the third-youngest squad in the tournament. They overcame Tunisia and Panama to reach the knockout stage before a much-changed team lost the final group game to Belgium.
England must now beat Colombia, quarter-finalists in 2014, in Moscow on Tuesday if they want to repeat their feats of 2002 and 2006 by reaching the quarter-finals. England must do something they have not managed since 2006 if they are to reach the last eight – win a knockout match at a major tournament.Russia have turned on the style to emerge from the group stage at their own World Cup, despite being the lowest ranked team in the tournament.
The team ranking 70th in the Fifa rankings can expect more support when they face Spain in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium at on Sunday.
Japan, who face Belgium, are one win away from reaching the quarter-finals for the first time, while Switzerland’s most recent appearance in the last eight came in 1954.
Switzerland play Sweden, who came third in 1994, in St. Petersburg stadium on Tuesday, while Mexico must beat Brazil to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1986.Croatia will meet Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday. Whoever wins will be make the last eight for the first time since 1998.