The World Cup finals resume on Friday after a two-day break following England’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Colombia.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at what is happening in Russia as the quarter-finals get under way.
New kid on the block V the old guard
Kylian Mbappe’s World Cup took off last Saturday when he scored twice in France’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Argentina. Six days on, the outcome of their quarter-final clash with Uruguay could be largely determined by the extent to which the 19-year-old Monaco frontman can outshine the South American side’s vastly experienced duo of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. The latter scored both goals as they beat Portugal 2-1 to book their place in the last eight.
D-day for Diego
If Mbappe is France’s man of the moment, Uruguay’s man for all seasons will have something to say about his hopes of making it to the semi-finals. Skipper Diego Godin has been in imperious form during the tournament to date and the 32-year-old central defender’s ability to marshal his troops as he leads by example once again will have a major bearing on the outcome in Nizhny Novgorod.
The acid test
Belgium’s so-called Golden Generation headed for Russia as one of the favourites to return with the trophy and although they needed every ounce of resolve at their disposal to fight their way back from disaster against Japan in the last 16, they remain on course. However, a squad boasting the individual talent of Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku simply cannot afford to give Brazil a head start in Kazan if they are to fulfil their dream.
No more from Neymar
Neymar is a wonderful footballer and his skills deserve to be displayed on the biggest stage of all. However, the Paris St Germain star’s histrionics are as much a part of his game as his breathtaking ability and the unedifying sight of him rolling around theatrically on the floor after Mexico midfielder Miguel Layun had appeared to step on his ankle drew stinging criticism. Any repeat would take some of the gloss of what should be the perfect showcase for the world’s most expensive player.
Friday will also see England boss Gareth Southgate put the finishing touches to his preparations for the following day’s eagerly anticipated quarter-final clash with Sweden. Southgate will address the media at 4.15pm, six hours after Swedish counterpart Janne Andersson and defender Andreas Granqvist do the same. Potential semi-final opponents Russia and Croatia will also hold pre-match press conferences, at 11.15am and 4.30pm respectively.