🕓 Reading time: 3 minutes

Why wait for the 2018 World Cup when Cricket Soccer can bring it to you now? It’s the last 16 stages which mixed fortunes for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi 

Uruguay (1A) v Portugal (2B)

After their surprising win at Euro 2016, the world expected Portugal to become that reliable side who always managed to reach the final four in any international competition. But they weren’t prepared to face the raw hustle and bustle of the ‘Uruguayos’, the best team in a fiery game (1-2).

With Cristiano Ronaldo in the news for his outrageous salary demands to extend his contract with Real Madrid, the striker seemed disconnected from the game for the most part. He did come alive for a few seconds when Gonçalo Guedes won a penalty in the second half and the Madeira-born star took it for the easy goal to add to his resumé. But that was his only contribution. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez’s brace and Uruguay’s strong defence and midfield allowed them to move to the quarter-finals.

Peru (1C) v Croatia (2D)

The most unbalanced game of the Last 16 round, Croatia absolutely destroyed Peru (0-4) in an impressive showcase of passing and converting. Free from the usual European-style pressing of the midfield and facing an opponent less worried with de-activating Croatian players, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Milan Badelj and company felt liberated. Mario Mandzukic (x2), Ivan Perisic and Modric himself scored for their team.

Brazil (1E) v Mexico (2F)

The first overtime of the tournament came with one of the classic showdowns, which ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time. Hirving Lozano opened the score quite early, but Neymar had already leveled before the half-time. The second half evolved into a dog-fight, both sides battling every single lose ball with talented players who weren’t afraid to get down and dirty in a downpour.

But then, in extra time, super sub Roberto Firmino proved his worth with a brilliant run and a beautiful lob to grant his team the win and the ticket for the next round.

England (1G) v Poland (2H)

The English side were looking good after a flawless group stage, but things turned south pretty quickly after a bizarre red card picked up by Jesse Lingard after an (unlucky) elbow to the face. Suddenly, the Polish were the ones to have the upper hand and tried to take advantage of being one-man up, although Robert Lewandowski wasn’t too accurate when finishing the plays.

If you show mercy with such a big side, you ultimately meet your demise: in one of the last chances of the game, Harry Kane took advantage of a corner kick to slip between the centre-backs and win the match with a cheeky header (1-0).

[fve]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhtd1uRUGk8[/fve]

Spain (1B) v Egypt (2A)

Spain moved on to the quarter-finals after defeating a very tough Egyptian side (3-1), who proved they were one of the most organized teams of the tournament thanks to the excellent work of manager Hector Cuper.

Mohamed Salah and Sergio Ramos clashed throughout the game, but thankfully no injuries ensued this time. Rodrigo Moreno and Iago Aspas, finally playing together, scored one each before Stoke player Ramdan Sobhy cut the advantage in half. In the 90th minute, fresh-off-the-bench Diego Costa capped the game with a screamer from outside the box.

Argentina (1D) v France (2C)

In a game for the ages, it was Messi vs the whole French nation, and the little guy came on top. One of the biggest performances ever in a World Cup, Leo was the one to steal the ball, pass it around, create chances, open gaps and finish the plays. He scored three, and every single one of them was beautiful.

France fought tooth and nail and were able to level twice, thanks to Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé. But the game was owned by Messi, and he was the one to score the final 3-2 with five minutes to go, delivering a tough blow to the French from which they weren’t able to bounce back.

Germany (1F) v Costa Rica (2E)

The German steamroller had no mercy with the Central American team, crushing them under the weight of a 4-0 that spoke for itself. Costa Rica barely had a chance, both literally and figuratively: they only shot on target once in ninety minutes. Timo Werner (x2), Toni Kroos and the now classic Thomas Müller were the scorers.

Japan (1H) v Belgium (2G)

In the most fun game of the Last 16 round, both Japan and Belgium showed proper respect for one another and proper disrespect for anything resembling a defence, so the outcome (3-4) was quite predictable. Goals were scored with uncanny easiness thanks to a dismal performance by both goalkeepers but, at the end of the day, the Belgian ‘Red Devils’ were the ones to come out on top.

Facebook Comments