Looking back at the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals

The 2022 World Cup quarter-finals are upon us, and football fans are getting excited for four cracking matches in Qatar.

For Morocco fans, they might not have expected their team to still be in the competition at this stage, and although Portugal are the heavy favourites in the Morocco vs Portugal odds, the North African side will be doing all they can to cause another upset after knocking out Spain in the round of 16.

So, as we gear up for the last eight, let’s take a brief look back at the quarter-finals of the 2018 in Russia to get us right in the mood for more knockout action.

Uruguay 0-2 France

Heading into their quarter-final against Uruguay, France were riding the crest of a wave after winning a thrilling last-16 tie against Argentina. Uruguay were in a similarly buoyant mood after dispatching Portugal to reach the last eight. Something had to give in Nizhny Novgorod, and it was France who ultimately came out on top.

Raphael Varane’s header five minutes before half time gave France the lead, and breached a Uruguay defence that had only conceded one goal in the tournament up until that point. France were able to control the game from that point, before an error in the second half from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera sealed the win, fumbling Antoine Griezmann’s strike over the line.

Brazil 1-2 Belgium

The most hotly anticipated quarter-final at the 2018 World Cup was Brazil’s clash with Belgium in Kazan. Brazil had grown into the tournament and looked good in their last-16 win over Mexico, but Belgium had played some good stuff in the group stage, and had something of a free hit having survived a real scare against Japan in the previous round.

Indeed, it was Belgium who set the pace, and raced into a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to an own goal by Fernandinho and a stunning strike from Manchester City teammate Kevin De Bruyne. Brazil didn’t know what had hit them, and although Renato Augusto pulled one back in the second half, Belgium were too good and hung on to reach the semi-finals.

Sweden 0-2 England

To reach the quarter-finals, Gareth Southgate’s England had done what no England team had ever done before at a World Cup: win a penalty shootout. That victory over Colombia had inspired hope in the squad, and in truth Sweden were no match for England in Samara.

Harry Maguire opened the scoring in the first half with a bullet header, and after that it was plain sailing for England. The second came through Dele Alli just before the hour mark, and England’s supporters were left to celebrate a first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

Russia 2-2 (p) Croatia

Hosts Russia had beaten Spain on penalties to reach the quarter-finals, but a shootout would ultimately be their undoing against Croatia.

The match itself was a real thriller. Denis Cheryshev gave Russia the lead with a stunning left-footed strike before Croatia drew level through Andrej Kramaric. We had to wait until extra time for further goals, with Domagoj Vida thinking he had won it for Croatia before Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes bagged an equaliser five minutes from time.

Missed penalties by Fyodor Smolov and Fernandes cost Russia in the shootout, and their dream of reaching the last four on home soil was ended. 

Huynh Nguyen

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