World Cup 2018 quarter-finals one and two previews

The World Cup will reach the quarter-final stage on Friday, as eight teams look to move one step closer to lifting the famous old trophy in Russia. Here is what is happening on Friday:

Uruguay v France (Kick-off 3 PM)

These teams have been two of the more impressive at Russia 2018 so far, and this could be a fascinating watch.

Uruguay have won all four of their games at World Cup 2018, having won all three group games before defeating Portugal 2-1 in the last-16. La Celeste have now, in fact, won their last seven international matches, while conceding just once in the process.

The South American giants finished fourth at World Cup 2010. They will be looking to match that achievement this time around. Star striker Edinson Cavani is a fitness doubt. His absence would be a blow for Oscar Tabarez’s side.

France recorded two wins and a draw in the group stages before defeating Argentina 4-2 in the round of 16, with PSG striker Kylian Mbappe grabbing a brace.

Les Bleus will be eight games unbeaten heading into this clash, including recording six victories. Despite that unbeaten run Didier Deschamps side still have their doubters. A goods performance and progression to the semi-finals would help dismiss some of those doubts.

Prediction

Draw and/or under 2.5 goals

Brazil v Belgium (Kick-off 7 PM)

This clash could be one of the games of the tournament between two of the most talented sides left in the competition.

Brazil heads into this clash unbeaten in 15 international outings. The Selecao have not quite hit their stride yet, but there have been flashes of magic from the likes of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho at Russia 2018.

Tite’s side may be renowned for their attacking prowess, but the Selecao’s backline has been in formidable form of late, conceding just once in their last nine outings.

Belgium are 23 games unbeaten, having won their last six games, including beating Japan 3-2 in the previous round. A key to their recent long good run of form has been their effectiveness in front of goal. Martinez’s side has scored at least twice in five of their last six outings. Striker Romelu Lukaku has netted four times in Russia. The Manchester United star is in contention to pick up the Golden Boot award.

Belgium crashed out at the quarter-final stage four years ago. However, the Red Devils look far better equipped to go one step further this time around.

Prediction

Brazil win and/or over 2.5 goals

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