World Cup 2018 – The Yellow Peril

Key match data ahead of those 2018 World Cup quarter-final ties

We are now down to the final 8 and even though we have lost the world’s best 2 players, hosts’ Russia have survived in what has been an incredible tournament. However, 32 players are in danger of missing out on the semi-finals due to suspensions should their respective nations progress to that stage.

Uruguay vs France

Projected goals 0.77 / 1.31

Clean sheet percentages 27% / 46%

To Qualify 35% / 65%

Suspended – Blaise Matuidi

Fantasy player to watch – Luis Suárez

With Edinson Cavani set to miss out for Uruguay due to injury, Luis Suárez will be tasked with guiding his side to the semi-finals. The former Liverpool striker, who has scored 3 goals already at the finals, will be up against a couple of familiar faces in the shape of Barcelona team-mate Samuel Umtiti and Real Madrid’s Raphaël Varane.

One yellow card away from a ban:

Uruguay – Rodrigo Bentancur

France – Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud, Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso

Brazil vs Belgium

Projected goals 1.49 / 1.09

Clean sheet percentages 34% / 23%

To Qualify 61% / 39%

Suspended – Casemiro

Fantasy player to watch – Neymar

Neymar - Diving

Neymar’s theatrics have been grabbing their fair share of attention throughout the course of the tournament and they are bound to come in for more scrutiny during this heavyweight clash with Belgium. The Brazilian winger will also be up against a familiar face in PSG wing-back Thomas Meunier and both players are in danger of being suspended for the semi-finals.

One caution away from a ban:

Brazil – Neymar, Coutinho, Filipe Luis

Belgium – Thomas Meunier, Kevin de Bryune, Jan Vertonghen, Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendoncker

Sweden vs England

Projected goals 0.76 / 1.38

Clean sheet percentages 25% / 47%

To Qualify 33% / 67%

Suspended – Mikael Lustig

Fantasy player to watch – Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson now possesses the longest unbeaten run of any England player in history, having not been on the losing side in any of his last 28 England matches (22 wins, 6 draws). England momentarily lost their grip of the game when Henderson was pushed further forward against Colombia following the introduction of Eric Dier but we can expect to see the Liverpool man anchoring the Three Lions midfield against a Sweden side that has an enviable record against England even though he is also at risk of missing out in the semis.

One yellow card away from a ban:

Sweden – Viktor Claesson, Albin Ekdal

England – Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker

Russia vs Croatia

Projected goals 0.86 / 1.22

Clean sheet percentages 30% / 42%

To Qualify 39% / 61%

Fantasy player to watch – Aleksandr Golovin

Aleksandr Golovin is another player that is walking the suspension tightrope. The CSKA Moscow midfielder started the tournament in sensational fashion but having collected 8 cautions in the Russian Premier League last season, he will do well to avoid another one here.

In what is sure to be a tetchy affair against the Croats, 13 players in total are in danger of missing out on a starting spot in those upcoming semi-finals.

One caution away from a ban:

Russia – Aleksandr Golovin, Roman Zobnin, Ilya Kutepov, Fedor Smolov, Yuri Gazinskiy

Croatia- Sime Vrsaljko, Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Vedran Corluka, Tin Jedvaj, Marko Pjaca, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Rakitic

Goal projections summary:

World Cup Quarter-Finals


That’s the lowdown on the 8 quarter-finalists – can any of the outsiders upset the favourites in one of the most wide open World Cups we have ever seen and which players are likely to have to sit out those ties due to yellow card accumulation?