0 out of 8
Matthew Ashton – AMA / Getty Images
Two weeks, 48 matches and a whopping 122 goals have brought us here: The 2018 World Cup knockout round. The round of 1
There are many questions before the games. How will France negotiate with Lionel Messi? Can Mexico rise from the ground and muster the strength to beat Brazil? Is there hope for Denmark against the strong form of Croatia? Can Portugal surpass Uruguay at sentences ?
Here, B / R breaks every tie, looks at the key factors that can decide, points out where it is won and lost … and (19659006) 1 of 8
PASCAL GUYOT / Getty Images  Despite the 3-0 victory against Russia, which proves that Uruguay can gain the upper hand and inspire us with good football, it seems likely. For the knockout stages, they are retreating into their more pragmatic shell.
You will be all too aware of the damage that Cristiano Ronaldo can handle – several of their players, including their center-back, will regularly contact him in La Liga. While they went ahead against Russia and trusted Diego Godin to negotiate one-on-one with the host's striker, they could be more careful here.
That too could be the right way; With the exception of games in which Portugal was only allowed to concentrate on counter-attacks (Spain), they had great problems creating opportunities.
Bernardo Silva was a big disappointment at the time, while Bruno Fernandes and Joao Mario did not show their best. Ricardo Quaresma may have scored an incredible goal, but had to prevail at his only start against Iran's defender Ehsan Haji Safi.
It's a fight that, like many games in the group stage, can only be won on set pieces. Uruguay has achieved all its goals from these situations; Portugal has scored three out of five.
Prediction: Uruguay 1-0 Portugal
2 of 8
GABRIEL BOUYS / Getty Images
France vs. Argentina is a battle of the underhelmer. Given the talents that exist in both teams, everyone knows what they are capable of, but so far they have not shown it.
France came more or less through Group C, scoring seven points, but was heavily criticized for its cumbersome style. There were times in games where they looked good, but they did not last those periods for more than 20 minutes or so, and soon lost their rhythm.
The free-flowing football expected from a side with Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have not arrived yet. In fact, it is notable that whenever Nabil Fekir leaves the bank, it is proven that they are improving; maybe he could be against Argentina in the starting eleven?
However, there are some encounters that look good for Les Bleus. Nobody knows how Argentina's ragged full-backs want to deal with Mbeppe's speed and trickery, and whether Javier Mascherano can keep up with the fast-thinking Griezmann is another.
Argentina's tournament was mostly terrible, but at least in full swing in the third group match after Ever Banega's central midfield effort. His ability to choose passports and set the rhythm of the attack freed Lionel Messi from straining on them, and the result was a nice link between them for their first goal against Nigeria.
If France is smart, then N & # 39; Golo Kante will cling to Banega in a flagging role and see how the Argentine system collapses. That would distract Messi from Hugo Lloris' goal and place the creative side on players like Mascherano and Enzo Perez
Prediction: France 2-0 Argentina
3 of 8
Maddie Meyer / Getty Images
Did Mexico lead the competition too early? The victory over Germany was unbelievable – no matter how bad the team was – and after the 3: 0 victory against Sweden in Game 3 the highs of the day were long over.
You I need to reassemble myself and prepare for a team that has a promising, ascending course: Brazil. They have steadily developed into this tournament and look like the team we expected: the midfield purrs, the central defenders dominate, the strikers improve.
Neymar accelerates through the gears against Serbia, the ability of Gabriel Jesus began to show, and Paulinho's energy began to pay off. With Philippe Coutinho, who knits everything together, they are a formidable prospect.
Perhaps the fact that El Tri is likely to focus on counter-attacks will work in their favor. Their speed and directness, which is mainly used by Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela and Hector Herrera, can tear teams apart during the break. Brazil should use Casemiro in the space ignored by Germany, which could make a big difference.
If that does not work, it's hard to see where the breakthrough comes from. Brazil's only defensive weakness in the tournament so far is fighting crosses in the box – Miranda often works overtime to clear them – and Mexico is a small side that is unlikely to benefit.
Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Mexico
4 of 8
Ian MacNicol / Getty Images
It is notable that Japan has reached this stage. Not only were they the weakest team in Group H on paper, they changed their manager in March and threw their preparations for the World Cup into chaos.
Luck has helped bring them to where they are. They are not a bad team, but Carlos Sanchez has won a red card against Colombia in the third minute.
You will now play against a Belgian team that has won all three group matches and looks much stronger on paper. As stars like Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku come back fresh and rested, this tie looks pretty one-sided.
The Samurai Blue must therefore do everything possible to emphasize the clear weaknesses point in Roberto Martinez 'formation: Yannick Carrasco. He plays left wings out of necessity, and both Panama and Tunisia have successfully targeted him. Japan has better players than both teams and can do something similar.
In central midfield, look for Japan Gaku Shibasaki, who had a fantastic under-the-radar tournament. Its ability to produce long, accurate swap passes could be the key to leaving Japan behind the counter.
Prediction: Belgium 3-1 Japan
5 out of 8  Soccrates Images / Getty Images
Russia's punishment for losing the last group game and thus abandoning the top spot is a match against Spain. It's not an impossible task – La Furia Roja has not been perfect yet – but it's a daunting one.
The moment Spain no longer defensively shoots, the chance for the other teams to win the World Cup drops dramatically. Penalties, David de Gea mistakes, misunderstandings, bad markings in the corners … They call the act of transgression, Gerard Pique and Co. have probably committed it.
Offensively they looked pretty good and impressed with their complicated ball work and overloading the flanks with technical players. They often use cuts, especially from Isco and Andres Iniesta. There were suggestions that there was no Plan B, but Plan A was fine so far.
Expect to run straight to the field between Yury Zhirkov on the left defense and Sergei Ignashevich on the left center-back to test it. Then Isco expects that he will grow more and more into the game with his fight against the excellent Mario Fernandes on the right, whom he has to keep an eye on.
In the other direction, Aleksandr Golovin must be in top form by countering the lines and dodging Sergio Busquets, while Artem Dzyuba's hold-up role is crucial to relieve pressure.
Finally, Denis Cheryshev-a man every Spaniard should be familiar with, as he is a Villarreal player and formerly of Real Madrid-has shown himself to be the robber who dives from the left flank and must be closely followed
Prediction: Spain 2-1 Russia
6 of 8
EMMANUEL DUNAND / Getty Images
Croatia has risen in the last two weeks to a public esteem and has turned its star power into excellence like most traditional big guns did not.
With Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in the middle, playing bossy football in the center, they will probably control the case against Denmark, which has its own star in the form of Christian Eriksen, but little else.
It's Crucial Modric and Rakitic bring their winger – Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic – into the game early and often. Danish right-back Henrik Dalsgaard had an excellent tournament but will not be able to use his physicality to harass Perisic, while Jens Stryger did not do well in Larsen and could have problems with Rebic.
This wide game is important because Mario Mandzukic can not count on winning his fight against the central defenders. The striker has not played well in Russia and will play against the commanding figure of Simon Kjaer, who plays his best work against target soldiers in the air.
For Denmark to break through the defense of the Vatreni, they need a lot more of Pione Sisto on the left flank – assuming he shows that is. He has been paid so little attention with his 217 minutes, and with Yussuf Poulsen back from the suspension and Martin Braithwaite, who impresses to a degree against France, he could be left out.
Whatever attack style, Denmark needs more of the players surrounding Eriksen. This could help him to find his highest level, as Russia has been missing so far.
Prediction: Croatia 2-0 Denmark
7 of 8
Clive Mason / Getty Images
Sweden against Switzerland is by far the least enticing first knockout round, with two defensive ones , work-strong teams compete against each other, who lack star quality. It turns out to be a dense, dirty game on paper, in which center-backs and defensive midfielders hold the upper hand.
Both sides have a lot of quality in these areas. Valon Behrami (central midfielder) and Manuel Akanji (center-back) The two best players in Russia so far and the Swedish Andreas Granqvist (center-back) are probably the strongest defenders in the entire tournament with three games.
In search of potential deadlock breaks, of course, you land on Xherdan Shaqiri. His run-and-finish against Serbia drove Switzerland into the knockout round, and it was his corner where Steven Zuber scored a point against Brazil.
Too bad, his ability to find the top corner out of reach is well documented and something that Sweden has to work hard to prevent.
Sweden's counterpart to Shaqiri is Emil Forsberg, but he did not bring this tournament to life. It was about the Marcus Berg / Ola Toivonen connection – they have not scored many goals between them, but their telepathic connection has gone well around the defense and created gaps.
If you count Sweden's three goals against Mexico as an escapee It's likely – it's the first time you've scored more than one in a game in nine tries this year – then you get the distinct impression that you is defeated by the odd hit.
Prediction: Sweden 0-1 Switzerland
8 of 8
Dan Mullan / Getty Images
Colombia has dragged into the round of 16 after a dramatic group stage and can now pause, wipe their hands Brew and reset your focus. It is still "winning or going home" but it is in a more controlled scenario for manager Jose Pekerman to cope.
The fitness of an important player will determine how this competition develops – both camps will sweat on the well-being of James Rodriguez – obviously for polarizing reasons. Pekerman described the situation as "extremely worrying" according to the BBC Sport.
When he is fit, Los Cafeteros can recharge the playmakers by pairing James with Juan Quintero and try to burden England's backside with the creativity that is spread across the court. Poland felt all the anger – plus a self-confident Juan Cuadrado – and lost 0-3
But Pekerman should be worried on the defensive. England's well-trained attack philosophy fills the gaps between markers and enforces drastic actions. Yerry Mina is likely to struggle with the relentless movement he is presenting, as does Carlos Sanchez. Davinson Sanchez could be back on "spectacular last-tack tackle" duty.
Then there's the three-lion set-tack bravery. Outside of Mina, Colombia is not the largest of the sides, while England can claim at least three dangerous air supplies and benefit from Kieran Trippier's flogged deliveries.
Colombia could even make up for this struggle with Mina, who already has two header goals However, in these finals he has to work hard to ensure that Radamel Falcao does not remain isolated as he was in two out of three group matches.
Prediction: Colombia 1-2 England
All statistics via WhoScored.com