World Cup 2018 last 16: match dates, quarter-final predictions, and teams

The first few rounds of sparring are over, and the World Cup knockout stages are upon us where the level of competition steps up a notch.

Neymar and Lionel Messi are both still in the World Cup CREDIT: TASS

There is no open draw in the World Cup so each nation can plot their route from the group stages all the way to the final in Moscow.

The eight last-16 ties will be played from Friday 30 June to Tuesday 3 July. On each day of football, one match will kick-off at 3pm UK time and one match at 7pm.
Teams that have reached the last 16
Uruguay (winners of Group A)
Russia (runners-up in Group A)
Spain (winners of Group B)
Portugal (runners-up in Group B)
France (winners of Group C)
Denmark (runners-up in Group C)
Croatia (winners of Group D)
Argentina (runners-up in Group D)
Brazil (winners in Group E)
Switzerland (runners-up in Group E)
Sweden (winners in Group F)
Mexico (runners-up in Group F)
Belgium (winners in Group G)
England (runners-up in Group G)
Colombia (winners in Group H)
Japan (runners-up in Group H)
Match dates and Sam Wallace's prediction
France vs Argentina - Saturday, June 30 - 3pm kick-off

Deschamps’ team just have not fired yet, rather they seem to have sleep-walked to the second round. Messi and Argentina have already had their moment of brinkmanship but has all energy been expended?

Prediction: France 3 Argentina 1
Uruguay vs Portugal - Saturday, June 30 - 7pm kick-off

Uruguay v Portugal -- the greatest potential for snarling, cynicism and a willingness to do absolutely anything to win, plus Ronaldo’s non-stop emoting. Suarez v Pepe? A Slytherin of a World Cup clash and eagerly anticipated.

Prediction: Uruguay 2 Portugal 1 (AET)

Portugal vs Uruguay could be a battle of the dark arts

Russia vs Spain - Sunday, July 1 - 3pm kick-off

Hierro’s team have stuttered through the first round, making heavy work of a straightforward group. This one could be the shock. The Russians at the Luzhniki without the great expectation and full of running

Prediction: Russia 0 Spain 1
Croatia vs Denmark - Sunday, July 1 - 7pm kick-off

The Croatians have controlled games beautifully, especially against the teams that have dared to attack. Don’t expect Denmark to do anything but lock down and try to counter. Could be heavy going.

Prediction: Croatia 1 Denmark 0 (AET)
Brazil vs Mexico - Monday, July 2 - 3pm kick-off

Possession plays counter-attack. Mexico’s bubble was burst by Sweden who controlled them in their last group game. Brazil will have to be wary of the quick transitions, and that deep Mexican longing to finally make the last eight.

Prediction: Brazil 2 Mexico 0

Sweden vs Switzerland - Tuesday, July 3 - 3pm kick-off

Can the Swiss raise their game one more time? Sweden has been magnificent, with a style that suits them and a strong bond. They do not look at the type of team to panic if things go against them.

Prediction: Sweden 2 Switzerland 1 (AET)

Eden Hazard (left) and Romelu Lukaku have 6 goals between them in Russia CREDIT: REUTERS
Belgium vs Japan

Martinez’s big guns come back for a game in which they will be heavy favorites. Twenty years on from their first World Cup, Japan has improved immeasurably but they came very close to missing out.

Prediction: Belgium 2 Japan 0
Colombia vs England

Can Southgate’s team switch back on? Only two outfield players from the side that started against Belgium are likely to start this last-16 game. Colombia needs James Rodriguez to be fit but they are hitting form.

Prediction: Colombia 0 England 1 (AET)
Who could play who in the World Cup quarter-finals?

Uruguay/Portugal vs France/Argentina - July 6, 3pm kick-off

Sam's prediction: Uruguay vs France

Russia/Spain vs Croatia/Denmark - July 7, 7pm kick-off

Sam's prediction: Russia vs Croatia

Brazil/Mexico vs Belgium/Japan - July 6, 7pm kick-off

Sam's prediction: Brazil vs Belgium

Sweden/Switzerland vs England/Colombia - July 7, 3pm kickoff

Sam's prediction: Sweden vs England

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