World Cup 2018 quarter-finals three and four previews

On Saturday, the third and four World Cup quarter-finals take place in Russia, as the competition reaches the latter stages. Here are the two games that take place on Saturday:

Sweden v England (kick-off 3 PM GMT)

These two teams have struggled to make the semi-final stages of the World Cup in the last few decades. England were last in the semi-finals at Italia ’90, while Sweden made it to the stage in USA ’94.

Sweden have surprised many people in Russia by winning three of their four games so far at the finals. Last time out the Scandinavian side booked their last eight spot by beating Switzerland 1-0 thanks to a goal from winger Emil Forsberg.

Janne Andersson’s side has built their successful campaign so far at the finals on having a solid defence. In fact, the Swedes have kept three clean sheets in their four games so far at the World Cup. Only reigning world champions Germany have breached their defence.

England have endured a mixed campaign so far. Gareth Southgate’s team booked their quarter-final spot by beating South Americans Colombia on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

The Three Lions are the only team left in the competition yet to keep a clean sheet. However, Sweden’s main strength is at the back, it is likely that England will have to worry less in defence in this clash.

Prediction

Draw and under 2.5 goals

Russia v Croatia (Kick-off 7 PM GMT)

Hosts Russia have defied the odds and made it into the last eight of the World Cup, which is their best performance at a finals since the Soviet Union era.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s team managed to book their place in the last eight by beating Spain on penalties, after holding La Roja to a 1-1 draw.  The home nation may have the momentum, but they have won only two of their last 11 international games.

Reaching the semi-finals would be unbelievable for the home nation, who were written off before the tournament had even begun.

Croatia are now five games unbeaten after drawing 1-1 with Denmark in the last-16, only to beat the Scandinavian side on penalties. Zlatko Dalic’s team breezed through the group stage, topping their group and scored at least two goals in all three group wins.

The Eastern European team could match their third-place finish this time around. There is a belief that they could even win the competition.

Prediction

Croatia win

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