Then there were eight | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:20 AM, July 04, 2018

Then there were eight

The die is cast and the quarterfinals of the World Cup kick-off Friday with three of the remaining eight teams having never made it to the final of world football's biggest stage.

Pedigree will count for little if the results throughout this topsy-turvy tournament are any indication and, with not a single remaining player having ever played in a World Cup final, experience will also not amount to much come the biggest day in world football.

However, before teams can dream of making it any further, they must all deal with equally stifling challenges.

Brazil will take on Belgium in what is expected to be an enthralling affair. The Red Devils will be in high spirits after a whirlwind comeback against Japan saw them score three goals in the final 20 minutes to secure a sensational 3-2 win. Yet, Belgium's defence is suspect and Brazil's wingers such as Neymar and the reinvigorated Willian could cause problems.

The French, given the monumental task of breaking down the watertight Uruguayan backline, will have arguably the toughest time of all.

On the other side, hosts Russia will face Croatia in a match that has the potential to be the best or worst encounter, while Sweden will aim for another giant-killing with a win over England.

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