FIFA WC 2018: Quarterfinal clashes in pictures

Rapahel Varane gave France the lead when he headed the ball into the net from Antoine Griezmann's free-kick. Getting through Uruguay's solid defense comprising of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez was going to be France's challenge, but some poor set-piece defending combined with brilliant technique from Varane, put France in front. Photo: Getty
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France doubled its lead in the 61st minute through a mistake from Fernando Muslera. The experienced goalkeeper playing in his third successive World Cup for Uruguay, will be having sleepless nights after a moment's lapse in concentration cost his team dearly. Griezmann's shot from outside the box, directed straight at Muslera, looked harmless until the ball popped out of his hand and into the net. Uruguay was left with a much more difficult task now.
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With a two-goal lead, France tried to choke the speed out of the game and frustrate its opponent. And frustrate it did, as a cynical foul from behind on Kylian Mbappe led to a full-scale scuffle on the pitch. This was as much action Uruguay saw from the rest of the match as its players looked scrappy and demotivated. Here we see Varane running towards Paul Pogba to keep him from getting another yellow card which would have suspended him from the semi final. Photo: Getty
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Jose Gimenez looked an inconsolable figure after the defeat. He was in tears even during the match (in added time) after realising there was nothing more his side could do to change its fortunes. The defensive duo of Gimenez and Godin had proved to be a force to reckon with during the course of the tournament but the wall they built finally fell. Photo: Getty
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France's promising group of youngsters could finally realise their potential and prove doubters wrong. For the first time since 2006, France made it to the final four of the World Cup and Didier Deschamps' men seem to have what it takes to go all the way. Photo: Getty
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Thiago Silva got his foot on the ball from a corner and it bounced off the woodwork before Thibaut Courtois gathered it. A big escape for Belgium as the score was 0-0 at this point. Had Brazil taken the opening goal, things could have played out differently. Photo: Getty
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Nacer Chadli's corner was flicked into the goal by Fernandinho to put Belgium in the lead. Fernandinho jumped to clear the ball but Gabriel Jesus blocked his view and the ball deflected off his shoulder into Alisson's goal. While he could do nothing about that own goal, it would have hurt him as this was his first start for Brazil in this World Cup. Photo: Getty
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Romelu Lukaku got the ball from a Brazil corner and launched into a counter-attack. He turned in midfield and ran past two players before passing it to Kevin De Bruyne, who unleashed a powerful drive from outside the box. The ball flew straight into the left corner, well beyond the reach of a diving Alisson. Photo: Getty
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With 15 minutes to go in the second half, Philippe Coutinho put in a delicate cross and Renato Augusto headed it down into the corner. He drifted into space behind Vincent Kompany and made perfect contact with the cross. Photo: Getty
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Neymar looks down and dejected as Belgium progresses to the semifinals at Brazil's expense. Much was expected of the PSG forward but he failed to guide Brazil to World Cup glory on his second appearance at the biggest stage. What caught the world's attention, though, were his theatrics and tendency to go the ground at every small opportunity. Photo: Getty
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Roberto Martinez has guided the so-called 'golden generation' of Belgium into the semifinals. After a dour Euro 2016 performance, Martinez has done well to make the stars of the team function together and fulfilling the world's expectation of it. Thierry Henry, his assistant, no doubt had a hand behind the attacking fluidity of the team. Photo: Getty
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Harry Maguire scored the opening goal of the game against Sweden. Two years on from the Euro 2016 debacle, Maguire's rise is a microcosm of all there is to like about this team. Two years ago, he was with Hull City and had attended the Euro 2016 as a fan along with his friends. On Saturday, he was a defensive linchpin who kept a clean sheet and scored his first goal for England. Photo: Getty
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Dele Alli had a mixed World Cup till the game against Sweden. He was lukewarm in the opening game while dealing with injury for the rest of the group stage games. Gareth Southgate always backed the youngster and he repaid his manager's faith with the second goal of the game to put it well beyond Sweden's reach. Photo: Getty
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A World Cup in which goalkeepers with greater experience and pedigree have fluffed their lines, Jordan Pickford has emerged as one of the safest pair of hands. His shot-stopping has shone, in particular, while his crucial penalty save in the shootout against Colombia helped England progress to the quarterfinals. Photo: Getty
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Sweden impressed in the group stages but fell short against a vibrant England team. Sweden has played 50 matches at the World Cup without ever winning the tournament. Sweden manager Janne Andersson even acknowledged that England was the better team on the evening after his side crashed out of the World Cup. Photo: Getty
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England has its best chance in decades to lift the World Cup, having fallen short in the semifinals in 1990, and the nation's media are getting into a frenzy. Gareth Southgate's side got past Sweden on Saturday, and it must now prepare to take on Croatia in three days time for a spot in the World Cup final. Photo: Getty
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Gareth Southgate's appointment was received with cautious optimism by everyone but he has managed to guide a bunch of youngsters into the semifinals of the World Cup. He has united English fans all over and has them dreaming of World Cup success after decades of failing to impress on the big occasion. Photo: Getty
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Denis Cheryshev started the tournament as a substitute, but his performance in Russia's opening match convinced Stanislav Cherchesov to play him regularly. He did not let his team down, contributing heavily in Russia's road to the quarterfinals and scoring four timely goals. In the match against Croatia, he opened the scoring with one such thing of beauty from outside the box, curling it into the top corner. Photo: Getty
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Croatia levelled the scores before half-time through a header from Andrej Kramaric. A good ball into the box following a fine Croatian move found Kramaric who guided it past Igor Akinfeev into the corner. Photo: Getty
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With all three quarterfinals finishing in normal time, it was a breath of fresh air when this one went into extra time. Domagoj Vida's goal in the 100th minute shocked the Russians who were looking to drag the match into penalties. But it wouldn't be enough for Croatia. Photo: Getty
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A Brazilian head levelled the score and kept Russia alive in the World Cup. The host nation was not ready to say goodbye to the tournament yet. Another set-piece goal as Brazilian born Mario Fernandes headed home a free-kick to rekindle Russian hopes. Cherchesov was not smiling though, he knew the job wasn't done yet. It would go down to a test of nerves and skill. Photo: Getty
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The penalty shootout was going to be interesting with both teams playing their second one in the tournament and both goalkeepers being the heroes then. Russia got off to a horrible start in the shootout. Fyodor Smolov tried to be cheeky when he tried to pull off a panenka on Danijel Subasic. But the execution was embarrassing and Subasic easily saved it. Photo: Getty
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From hero to zero. Mario Fernandes, whose goal took the game into penalties, sent his shot wide off target restoring Croatia's advantage after Kovacic's penalty was saved by Akinfeev. Photo: Getty
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Ivan Rakitic scored the final penalty in Croatia's round-of-16 clash against Denmark and he rose to the occasion against Russia as well. Keeping his calm, he sent Igor Akinfeev the wrong way, sending Croatia to its first semifinal since 1998 and knocking the host out of the tournament. Photo: Getty
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Russia bids farewell. The host nation went above and beyond expectations, even those from its own fans. It put on quite a show for fans worldwide, reminding us why we watch the sport. Playing to its strengths and sticking to clever tactics, Stanislav Cherchesov's men won hearts at the World Cup, contributing to making it one of the greatest editions of the tournament. Photo: Getty
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