This World Cup has been nothing but surprises and the Round of 16 games were no different.
The road ended abruptly for both Ronaldo and Messi fans. The team many expected to win it all were ousted by the host nation. There some familiar names still remaining, as well as others who are battling to win it for the first time.
Let’s Break it Down
France vs Argentina
In one of the most entertaining games so far of the tournament, France prevailed after taking an early lead. Even after Argentina fought back to take a 2-1 lead, Mbappe took over the game and lead them to a 4-3 win. There is even speculation that this could have been Messi’s last game for Argentina.
Uruguay vs Portugal
Photo courtesy: FIFA
Cavani was the star of this game, scoring both goals for Uruguay. An earlier header broke the game open. Portugal would go on to tie it, but moments later Cavani’s beautiful strike ended Ronaldo’s hopes of World Cup glory.
Russia vs Spain
In a game many expected to to go Spain’s way, Russia silenced the doubters. Both teams exchanged goals in regular time, but in spectacular fashion, the Russian goalie made clutch saves and a beautiful kick save on the final chance for Spain. The Russians relished in the 4-3 win on penalties.
Croatia vs Denmark
This game was a goalie duel. Both teams worked tirelessly to notch the winning goal in full time. Croatia had a penalty awarded to them in the final moments and had a chance to win the game, but the shot was stopped. No goals were scored in extra time. Croatia finally won 3-2 on penalties after several exciting saves by both goalies.
Brazil vs Mexico
Mexico has never prevailed past this round and this year was no different. Brazil, who started the tournament slowly, has finally found its groove and won 2-0 as Neymar scored and assisted on both goals. Mexico had their chances but simply could not capitalize.
Belgium vs Japan
Japan looked to upset the world. However, Belgium clawed its way out of the depths of soccer despair. Japan was able to take a 2-0 lead, but Belgium snatched momentum back in a matter of minutes. A three-pass sequence from Belgium ended with the ball in the back of the net right before extra time. Belgium was the first team to come back from two goals in the second half in World Cup history.
Sweden vs Switzerland
Sweden is heading to the Quarterfinals as they held on to beat Switzerland by a score of 1-0. This was a game that started off in a fast pace and was back and forth. But as the game went along, it became a stalemate. Switzerland tried to find the equalizer, but other than a header in the box in the final moments that was stopped, they didn’t have many good chances.
England vs Columbia
England finally broke its curse with penalties but not after a scare. Kane had scored a penalty and it looked like they were on their way to victory. Columbia mustered a late-time header to tie it up. Despite both teams having their chances in extra time, the game needed to be decided in penalties, . England finally were victorious in penalty kicks; they flipped the script of the previous three games in which they were eliminated. The keeper made a beautiful one-handed save and sealed the 4-3 win.
Lookout for the next article where I will preview and predict the Group of 8 games.
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