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Brazil take on Belgium, as Kylian Mbappe leads France against Uruguay

07 July, 2018, 09:02 | Author: John Swanson
  • Jordan Pickford jumps for joy after England win

Six days on, the outcome of their quarter-final clash with Uruguay could be largely determined by the extent to which the 19-year-old Monaco frontman can outshine the South American side's vastly experienced duo of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

The Croatians' memorable run to the semifinals in 1998 remains a moment of pride for the country. They have created their own story and made history.

Sweden's success at this year's tournament, which saw them eliminate the Netherlands and Italy in qualifying, as well as finish top of a group containing holders Germany in Russian Federation, has been built on defensive organisation and clinical counter-attacks. Perhaps the most dramatic match of the round was Belgium's 3-2 victory over Japan, in which the Europeans came back from a two goal deficit before cruelly snatching victory in the dying embers of regular time via the boot of one Nacer Chadli.

Thierry Henry and Eden Hazard console emotional Neymar
Brazil nearly equalised immediately, Neymar dribbling down the left and finding Gabriel, only for his effort to go amiss. They paid an immediate price when Fernandinho nodded Eden Hazard's corner into his own net unpressured after 13 minutes.

Bosnian-born coach Zlatko Dalic, who played as a midfielder for many clubs in the former Yugoslavia and Croatia, was appointed at the most critical point of the team's turbulent qualifying campaign.

"It has been talked a lot about the two teams and their similarities", Perisic said. Now we've come close and hopefully we can even do it a little bit better than them. "We don't get all the information from the French team".

The current group of Croatians has become exhausted of hearing about what happened in 1998.

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"My whole family watched that championship and I remember how we celebrated the success then and I feel proud", Rebic said. One of the downsides is those tourists' desires to wash off the sweat-stress of watching their favorite teams compete in the tournament in the sweltering heat. Croatia lost to eventual champion France in the semifinals, but rebounded to beat the Netherlands and finish third.

"It's true, of course, that 20 years had passed and now the teams show different types of football but still it was a fantastic result for Team Croatia then". I am heartbroken because my favourite team Germany got knocked out so early.

The group stages were special with many spectacular goals scored, many heartbreaks, excitement and exuberance over underdogs winning games they weren't meant to win. Croatia has never made the Euro semifinals.

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The Brit has been continued to compete despite the ongoing doping case against him and won the Giro D'Italia in May. A decision is set to be made the following day, with just three days to go until the start in the Vendee on July 7.

Defender Domagoj Vida believes Croatia can take full advantage of being on what's widely considered the easier side of the bracket. The CONMEBOL giants have conceded just once this World Cup, and more importantly, it was a goal that shouldn't have been allowed after a questionable push in the back on Miranda by Swiss player Steven Zuber.

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