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Previewing Day 21 of the FIFA World Cup

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Japanese players leave locker room spotless after crushing World Cup loss

With a 3-2 win on penalties, the Croatians are now only a win away from reaching the semi-finals, and are slightly favourites over the hosts of the competition.

These sides first met in a 1908 friendly in Sweden, where the visiting English team won 6-1. "Why not?", he said of his team's chances against favourites Croatia, perceived to be a dark horse in this tournament.

The quarter-final stage of the tournament ended with much fanfare on July 8.

Yerry Mina's stoppage-time header threatened to change all that, but a first World Cup win on penalties in four attempts gives Gareth Southgate's men reason to believe this time really will be different.

"It's hard to answer this question: I will play until I am allowed health, I want, if I do not have injuries, to play at this level for another four years, but, in fact, it's difficult to make forecasts because your a lot of factors play a role". However, a late goal from Renato Augusto couldn't change the outcome of the match; Belgium booked the semi-final berth for the first time in three decades.

Neither are close to their best form and anything less than that will be exposed when you get to the quarter-final stage of the World Cup where, in this case, Brazil lie waiting.

"The fans are always there and support us: they will create an excellent atmosphere at the Bernabeu and will put themselves at the maximum in the stands, as we are on the field".

An impressive Croatia outfit led by midfield lynchpins Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic stand in their way on Saturday in Sochi, but coach Stanislav Cherchesov said his side were boosted by the support of President Vladimir Putin. "I'm ready for the game". And, of course, you can never underestimate the hosts of the tournament.

Colombia fans made it feel "like an away fixture" but their players' roughhousing was met by a more streetwise response than generations gone by, even after seeing Wilmar Barrios avoid a red card for headbutting Henderson. Croatia and Denmark were tied 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Winners of their respective groups, both nations overcame tough last-16 fixtures by the odd goal, with France progressing from a seven-goal thriller with Argentina and Uruguay edging past Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

France scored four goals in their last 16 game against Argentina, and will be hoping their formidable attacking trio of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe can turn it on again at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium.

The recriminations for Brazil will start in earnest after failing to reach the final for a fourth consecutive World Cup, with coach Tite sure to come under fire despite being widely praised in the build-up to the tournament.

Ahead of Brazil's anticipated last eight fixture against Belgium, the five time World Champions have already found a replacement for the twenty-six-year-old.

"It's a heavy, bitter feeling".

"We are both very unsafe at set pieces".

Neymar left in tears at the final whistle, refusing to talk to waiting media. "The game was not an enjoyable one, but our goal was achieved". This has to be a good thing and I would say Didier Deschamps is very pleased. Find us on Facebook too!

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