World Cup Quarterfinals: Match-ups, schedule, bracket and more

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Over the last four days, eight more teams have seen out of this year’s World Cup. Now, with 56 of the tournament’s 64 games played, Brazil 2014 is down to its final eight teams, all of whom finished atop their group.

Just like the last round, we’re here to run you through the match-ups. Here are the four games that will decide who reaches this year’s semifinals (the full knockout round bracket is below).

Schedule
Friday, July 4

France vs. Germany, 12:00 p.m. Eastern, Rio de Janeiro – Two of the more impressive teams coming out of the group stage faced unexpected problems in the last round, with two African nations (Nigeria, Algeria) forcing Les Bleus and die Nationalmannschaft to find late goals to reach the quarterfinals. Though Germany came into the competition as one of its favorites, France is seen as a threat to knock off the three-time champions, with a midfield of Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi, and Paul Pogba capable of slowing down the possession-hungry Germans.
– Round of 16: France scores twice late | Schürrle’s extra time winners lifts Germans
– More: France, Germany, and one of the ugliest incidents in World Cup history

Brazil vs. Colombia, 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Fortaleza – Like Germany, the host nation came into the World Cup as one of the tournament favorites, but after showing flaws in group play and being taken to penalty kicks against Chile, you won’t have to look long to find somebody who’s picking the still perfect Cafeteros to reach the final. In James Rodríguez (pictured, five goals in four games), the Colombians have the tournament’s standout player, and with speculation about a weak defense yet to come to fruition, José Pékerman’s team looks like the strongest side in the competition, so far.
– Round of 16: Brazil through on penalty kicks | James carrying Colombia
– More: Neymar, Rodríguez: South America’s future shines before the knockout round

 

source: AP
Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates setting up his side’s  winning goal in extra time during the World Cup round of 16. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Schedule
Saturday, July 5

Argentina vs. Belgium, 12:00 p.m. Eastern, Brasília – James may be the player of the tournament thus far, but Brazil 2014 may yet turn into Lionel Messi’s World Cup. As we were reminded on Tuesday’s winning goal, there’s little the Albiceleste can do right now that doesn’t involve their best player, and while that would be a recipe of disaster for most quarterfinals-bound teams, this is Lionel Messi we’re talking about. As for Belgium, their 2-1 win over the U.S. understates how well they played. They may not have Messi, but they performed better in the last round.
– Round of 16: Messi, Di María snatch it late | Belgium finally break down U.S.

Netherlands vs. Costa Rica, 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Salvador – Playing with 10 men over the final hour, Costa Rica survived to eliminate Greece on penalty kicks. They’re the only non-European, non-South American team left in the tournament. While the Dutch finished one of the tournament’s toughest groups with a perfect record, they were second best to Mexico for large parts of their Round of 16 match. With a late comeback, the Oranje are through, favored to reach the semifinals at the expense of the tournament’s last Cinderella.
– Round of 16: Robben draws late penalty, Dutch move on | 10-man Ticos stay alive
– More: Arjen Robben apologizes for early-match diving, but agrees with penalty call

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Gressel ties it in Atlanta United’s 1-1 draw with Timbers

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ATLANTA (AP) Julian Gressel tied it in the 56th minute and Atlanta United held on for a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

A loose ball deflection off defender Larrys Mabiala bounced into Gressel’s path and he pounced on it with a right-footed volley. Atlanta (10-3-4) stayed atop the MLS standings and extended its unbeaten streak to five games.

Mabiala opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Samuel Armenteros was the first to get a touch with a left-footed stab on Diego Valeri’s free kick. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan blocked it out, but Mabiala headed home the rebound and Portland took the early lead.

The Timbers (6-3-5) extended their unbeaten run to nine.

MLS: NYCFC beat TFC in new coach Torrent’s debut

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jo Inge Berget scored twice and coach Domenec Torrent celebrated his New York City FC debut with a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on Sunday.

Berget made it 2-1 in the 68th minute, following Maximiliano Moralez’s direct pass up the right channel and slotting it home.

NYCFC (9-3-4) tied it at 1 in the 51st minute on Berget’s back heel from the top of the 6-yard box.

Víctor Vazquez opened the scoring for Toronto (4-8-3) in the 37th minute. Vasquez outran his defender on Auro’s long ball up the right side and sent a chip shot over the onrushing goalkeeper.

NYCFC’s David Villa left the game in the 28th minute with a non-contact injury.

Torrent replaced Patrick Vieira in New York shortly after Vieira’s departure for OGC Nice was officially confirmed. Torrent had been the right-hand man to Pep Guardiola for the last 11 years, most recently at Manchester City.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 12 — Time to settle Groups A & B

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Day 12 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Monday, and with it begins the final round of group games to decide the 16 teams headed to the knockout rounds. For the next four days, we’ll be treated to four games each day.

Also, the end of 8 a.m. ET kickoffs. Hooray for sleeping in.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

First up, the conclusion of Group A, where both the hosts, Russia, and Uruguay have already advanced with wins in their first two games. Now, the two meet in the southwestern city of Samara to determine who’ll go through to the round of 16 as the group winners, and who’ll be the runners-up. Most likely awaiting either of them will be Spain and Portugal, pending the order in which they finish in Group B.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Speaking of Group B, Spain will finish group play against fourth-place and points-less Morocco, while Portugal have a tricky meeting with third-place Iran, who sit just a point behind the reigning European champions. The winner of Group B will face the runners-up of Group A, and vice versa.

Below is Monday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Monday, June 25

Group A
Uruguay vs. Russia: Samara, 10 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt: Volgograd, 10 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group B
Spain vs. Morocco: Kaliningrad, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Iran vs. Portugal: Saransk, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Transfer rumor roundup: Emery raiding Sevilla; Wilshere’s suitor(s)

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Unai Emery has reportedly been in contact with at least one former player, Ever Banega, in an attempt to convince the Argentine midfielder to join him at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

Banega, who’ll turn 30 on Friday, played two seasons under Emery at Sevilla — where they won back-to-back Europa League titles (Banega was only at the club for the second and third of three straight from 2013-2016).

With Banega reportedly on the fence about whether or not to leave Sevilla again — he only just returned last summer after one season at Inter Milan — Emery is said to have made a personal call after Arsenal’s bid of roughly $23 million triggered the release clause in Banega’s contract. Sevilla will join Arsenal in the Europa League next season after finishing seventh in La Liga.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Jack Wilshere announced last week that he will leave Arsenal this summer — thus opening up the handful of games for which he was healthy and fit to play each season, perhaps for Banega — which leads us nicely to the final bit of transfer talk for Sunday: West Ham are interested in the 26-year-old, but are reportedly only willing to offer him a one-year contract.

The Hammers’ hesitancy is, of course, a response to his years-long battle with injuries — he’s made just 66 appearances over the last four PL seasons (three with Arsenal, one on loan to Bournemouth).

Two other clubs to keep an eye on, as they’ve reportedly indicated interest in Wilshere and/or been in contact already: Everton and Juventus.