The 2018 FIFA World Cup has now taken shape as Europe gets six teams at the quarter finals and South America records only two. Russia, Croatia, Sweden, France, England and Belgium are all from Europe with Brazil and Uruguay representing South America.
Shocks and Exits of the Big Names
Germany were the first big name casualty in the World Cup when they were beaten 2-0 by South Korea to deny them a qualification into the knockout stages for the first time since 1938.
The continued the recent tradition of inability of title holders to go beyond the group stages; it started with France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014
Argentina fall to France
Lionel Messi was the first big casualty of the Round of 16 when his Argentina was eliminated by France of Saturday 30th June, 2018. Argentina could not hold unto their 2-1 lead after 51 minutes of play in the first match of the knockout stages. They succumbed to defensive pressure from the French attack especially Kylian Mbappe which saw them going down by 4-2 as at the 70th minute.
Coach Jorge Sampoli seemed not to have learnt his lessons from the previous games in the group stages as his defense broke down with some small pressure from the opponent. Angel Di Maria cancelled France lead by Antoinne Griezmann through the penalty spot before the end of the first half.
The second half saw Lionel Messi’s shot deflected into the French post by Gabriel Mercado but the Argentines could not protect the led and had to go down by 4-2; Pavard fired home a thunder bolt beyond the reach of Armani after which Mbappe scored twice, Aguero then headed home to make it 4-3 during the time added on through a Lionel Messi fine cross.
That was to be the last for Javier Mascherano in an Argentine shirt.
Uruguay ends Portugal’s Dreams
Uruguay also prevented Cristiano and Portugal from making further progress when they beat the European side 2-1 on the night of Argentina’s elimination.
PSG striker, Edson Cavani gave the Portuguese defence a tough time in the game. The hard striker gave his side the lead after just 7 minutes of play after which they recoiled into their shell to defend against the consistent attack from the Portuguese side.
Pepe gave Portugal a line of hope when he headed home a corner to make it 1-1. Cavani made it 2-1 for Uruguay in the 62nd minute.
Portugal tried their best to get back into the game but that was not to be as Cristiano Ronaldo led his colleagues out of Russia.
This sets up a tough quarter final pairing between France and Uruguay on Friday at 2:00 pm GMT.