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How to watch World Cup Quarterfinals: Sweden vs. England open and Russia vs. Croatia close the day

Gustav Svensson and Sweden take on favored England to open the morning while Russia tries to continue their cinderella run against Croata

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
This World Cup is so crazy, England won a Penalty Kick Shootout!
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Well friends, it is an all European final four with the two remaining South American sides bowing out yesterday.

Uruguay was without Edinson Cavani and their attack was mostly toothless as Luis Suarez was unable to create much without his attacking partner as France looks like a team that is growing into the tournament. France’s 2-0 win was easily their most complete game of the tournament and they have now taken on the role as betting favorites to lift the cup.

Brazil was the favorites when the sun rose on Russia, but they could not deal with the tournaments most deadly attacker as Own Goal struck again to give Belgium a 1-0 in the 13th minute. Kevin De Bruyne doubled the lead with a stunning finish off a counter attack mostly created by Romelu Lukaku. Brazil controlled most of the remainder of the match and created enough chances to tie it up (one xG method had the numbers as Brazil 2.5 - 0.5 Belgium) but they only got a Renato Augusto 76th minute goal and went down 2-1.

Belgium will play France in Saint Petersburg at 11 AM on Tuesday in one World Cup semifinal.

On a personal note, your author for this World Cup journey via daily Sounder at Heart World Cup gamethreads is moving tomorrow. My wife’s job is taking us to Amsterdam, for an indefinite amount of time. By the time Russia or Croatia advance to the semifinal we will be about ready to head to Seatac airport. Six suitcases, three carry ons, one backpack, one large purse, one car seat, a diaper bag, a stroller, a wife and a 55 week old baby will be on our way. Wish me luck.

Sweden vs. England

Time: 7:00 AM

Location: Samara Arena, Samara

TV: FOX (English) and Telemundo (Spanish)

Announcing team: Derek Rae and Aly Wagner (English)

Streaming: Fox Sports Go and Telemundo Deportes

This might not be the most exciting game to watch for the neutrals as Sweden play a very close to the vest style. They essentially play not to lose and rely on either a shaky penalty call, a once in a generation wonder goal, a set piece or extra time and penalty kicks. Their defense is incredibly effective and rarely do they sacrifice shape in order to bring attackers forward. Gustav Svensson was great against Switzerland for the entire 90 minutes as a replacement for suspended Sebastian Larsson, has he earned another start for the biggest game in Sweden since 1958?

England have to look at their draw and start to believe the hype about “It’s Coming Home” in reference to the World Cup. The winner of Croatia versus Russia is a beatable opponent and frankly a gift as a World Cup semifinal opponent. England started the World Cup as 20-1 to lift their first trophy since 1966 and at kickoff for this match they are 4-1. To top that off, England won a penalty kick shootout for the first time in their World Cup history when they beat Colombia. But did you read that bit above about Sweden? They are really hard to beat. If there can ever be a “trap game” in the World Cup quarterfinals, this is it.

Russia vs. Croatia

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: Fisht Stadium, Sochi

TV: FOX (English) and Telemundo (Spanish)

Announcing team: John Strong and Stu Holden (English)

Streaming: Fox Sports Go and Telemundo Deportes

If you believe advanced stats like xG (or the eye test), Russia are not a very good soccer team. But the home field can sometimes bolster a team to incredible heights, as South Korea experienced with a good squad that overachieved at home making the 2002 World Cup semifinals. The same spot Russia find themselves in with a win today. (Not to get sidetracked, but South Korea lost that semifinal game to Germany 1-0. A very mediocre German team that should have lost in the quarterfinals if a Torsten Frings handball was called for the penalty kick that it was. And no, I’m still not over it.) Russia has scored 9 goals from only 12 shots on goal in this World Cup. The Russian keeper, Igor Akinfeev, has been good. He will have to be stellar today if they are going to beat Croatia.

Croatia is probably thankful that this match was scheduled for Sochi and not in Moscow where the fans might be more enthusiastic. Croatia are led by a stellar midfield including Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and will rely on them to dominate the game against Russia and to create enough chances to overcome Russia’s crazy good scoring luck to date in the tournament.

This is your Sounder at Heart World Cup Quarterfinals Day 2 gamethread. Watch with us.

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