France 2-0 Uruguay
A Cavani-less Uruguay were certain to struggle against France with Luis Suarez expected to shoulder the attacking responsibilities in the absence of his strike partner. That being the case, the French subdued the South Americans and got a deserved lead five minutes from the break when Griezmann’s free-kick was met by a Raphael Varane header. France continued to dominate and a bit of luck played a part in Les Bleus getting their second goal as Fernando Muslera failed to get a firm hold on Griezmann’s strike watching agonisingly as the ball rolled into the net.
Belgium 2-1 Brazil
Brazil were the only non-European team remaining in the quarter-finals of the world cup following Uruguay’s exit at the hands of France but any hopes of making it to the next round were dashed as Belgium registered two goals in the space of eighteen minutes in a start that looked reminiscent of the 7-1 loss suffered against Germany at the semi-finals of the last world cup.
Belgium went ahead after 13 minutes when Fernandinho got the last touch to a Nacer Chadli corner kick after Vincent Kompany flicked it on. Things got even worse for the Selecao who were without the suspended Casemiro as Kevin De Bruyne lashed a wicked shot into the bottom left corner after he was released by Romelu Lukaku. Substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for Brazil in the 76th minute but that was all there was for the Selecao as Belgium soaked up the late pressure.
Croatia 2-2 Russia (a.e.t) [4-3] penalties
Croatia and Russia needed penalty shoot-outs to get beyond the last-16 and when both sides squared up at the Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht, the winner would go on to be decided by penalty shoot-outs making it consecutive 120 minutes of football for both sides. Denis Cheryshev scored a stunner to put Russia on the front foot but his strike was quickly cancelled out by Andrej Kramaric’s header.
Domagoj Vida and Mario Fernandes scored for both sides in extra time and with no deciding goal coming forth in the final five minutes, the game went on to penalty shoot-outs.
Fedor Smolov saw his spot-kick saved by Danijel Subasic before Mario Fernandes sent his kick wide affording Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic the chance to seal it from the penalty spot for the second game in a row.
England 2-0 Sweden
The Three Lions headed into the semi-finals of the world cup courtesy goals from Harry Maguire and Deli Alli in either half. Harry Maguire opened scoring with a thumping header from Ashley young’s pin-point cross on the half hour mark. The Swedes grew into the game after the restart following a below-par display in the first half but by then England had already doubled their lead via Dele Alli. The Spurs man was picked out by a cross from Jesse Lingard nodding home from close range. Jordan Pickford ensured that the scoreline remained that way till the end with a string of saves to deny Sweden.