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Football World Cup Knockout Stages Move On To The Last Eight At FIFA 2018
The World Cup is all about the drama, of which there was no shortage in Round 16 (CCSS Level: Grade 9, Words: 747)
Jul 5, 2018 Sports
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Russia 2018 has been a captivating tournament with only one goalless draw in the group stage, and a thrilling round of 16 that threw up plenty of shocks. From the first match - France's thrilling 4-3 comeback win over Lionel Messi and Argentina - to the final match - England's shootout victory against Colombia - the last 16 in Russia had football fans across the planet on the edge of their seats.

Here's how the remaining eight World Cup countries rank based on their play in the first two stages.

1) Brazil

  • Round of 16 result: 2-0 vs. Mexico
  • Group stage record: 2-1-0
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 2

Brazil's dominant win over Mexico solidifies the Seleção as tournament favourites. The Brazilian attack displayed magical spells against El Tri, but it's defense that should scare the rest of the World Cup field: Brazil hasn't conceded since the first group-stage match and goalkeeper Alisson has rarely been tested since.

2) France

  • Round of 16 result: 4-3 vs. Argentina
  • Group stage record: 2-1-0
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 7

Round of 16 France was the France we've all been waiting for. Led by the dominant trio of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and the iincomparable N'Golo Kante, Didier Deschamps's side looked to have found another gear in the first round of the knockout stage.

3) Uruguay

  • Round of 16 result: 2-1 vs. Portugal
  • Group stage record: 3-0-0
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 14

Uruguay's defense was tested against Portugal, which dominated possession (67 per cent) and total attempts (20 to 5) but was stifled by La Celeste. However, the possible loss of Edinson Cavani to a calf injury is a devastating blow for Uruguay's hopes, as the PSG forward was the key to the Round of 16 win over Cristiano Ronaldo's side.

4) Belgium

  • Round of 16 result: 3-2 vs. Japan
  • Group stage record: 3-0-0
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 3

Will we look back on Belgium's rousing comeback against Japan as the moment that solidified this team. The Red Devils were stunned with two quick goals from the Samurai Blue before three in 25 minutes pushed Belgium into the quarterfinals. Friday's clash with Brazil will be about which Roberto Martinez side shows up: the wasteful team that failed to capitalize through 70 minutes, or the ruthlessly direct Red Devils that broke Japanese hearts.

5) Croatia

  • Round of 16 result: 1-1 (3-2) vs. Denmark
  • Group stage record: 3-0-0
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 20

Croatia's dominance in the group stage quickly faded from memory with a fairly uninspired outing against Denmark and, if not for some really poor penalty kicks from the Danes, Zlatko Dalic's side could be watching the quarterfinals from home. Croatia should return to its group-stage form against Russia, but the formula to beat Luka Modric & Co. has been laid bare.

6) England

  • Round of 16 result: 1-1 (4-3) vs. Colombia
  • Group stage record: 2-0-1
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 12

As random as a penalty shootout can seem, England deserves credit for Tuesday's win. Colombia was never going to be easy. José Pékerman's side did everything it could to throw the Three Lions off their game, but they (mostly) kept their cool. And don't underestimate overcoming the penalty shootout hurdle: it's a moment that could galvanize this team as it embarks on the quarterfinals.

7) Sweden

  • Round of 16 result: 1-0 vs. Switzerland
  • Group stage record: 2-0-1
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 24

Sweden's unlikely World Cup journey began back in November, when Janne Andersson's side knocked off Italy in a qualifying playoff, and rolls on into the quarterfinals. The Swedes continue to surprise with a smothering blend of physicality and defensive organization that has proven tough for opponents to overcome.

8) Russia

  • Round of 16 result: 1-1 (4-3) vs. Spain
  • Group stage record: 2-0-1
  • Pre-tournament FIFA ranking: 70

Nothing about Russia's run to the quarterfinals makes sense: the lowest-ranked World Cup host ever scores eight goals in its first two games, disappears in the final group match and then beats a world-renowned Spain side in the Round of 16. Against Croatia in the quarterfinals? Your guess is as good as mine.

The World Cup final will take place at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on July 15. The third place match will take place a day earlier, in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg.

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