The World Cup returns to our screens, hearts and minds today, and what a day it promises to be.
We’ve got two incredibly promising quarter-final clashes to come, and here’s the skinny …
Who will blink first in the day’s early game?
The first game of the day sees Uruguay take on France in Nizhny Novgorod and it’s an extremely tough one to call.
After taking a while to get properly up and running at this tournament, Didier Deschamps’ France put on a breathtaking display of attacking prowess in their victory over Argentina and it felt like a coming of age for this golden generation.
Kylian Mbappé scored twice and was at his unplayable best while Antoine Griezmann was a constant threat and even Benjamin Pavard got in on the act with a stunning strike.
But where Les Bleus have looked worryingly ropey in almost all of their games at the World Cup has been in defence and Uruguay could well cause them problems there.
That may all depend on whether Edinson Cavani can win the race against time to be fit enough to reform the deadly partnership with Luis Suárez which put Portugal to the sword last week, however.
La imagen del dia
Cavani con pelota en el entrenamiento celeste pic.twitter.com/jg3o4ujxR0
— Roberto Moar (@Roberto_Moar) July 5, 2018
France, on the other hand, will be without Blaise Matuidi due to suspension.
This game pits arguably the best attack against arguably the best defence at the World Cup.
But something’s got to give and whether it takes 90 minutes, 120 minutes or a penalty shootout to separate them, one will be heading to the semi-final, and one will be heading home.
Brazil will need to step it up against Belgium
We surely can’t be the only ones who’ve been a bit underwhelmed by Brazil so far at this tournament?
Maybe we’re overly nostalgic for the legendary Selecao sides of the past but there’s something about this one that’s just a little too functional for our liking.
Tite’s team are yet to lose at this tournament, of course, but that could all be about to change when they face their toughest test so far in tonight’s late kick off.
Many expected this Belgium side led by Roberto Martínez to be a huge World Cup flop and after 52 minutes of their clash with Japan in the last round, it seemed those predictions were about to about to come to fruition.
However, a bit of tactical nous from Martínez combined with a huge display of character from his players saw the Red Devils come roaring back to win 3-2, and they must be feeling pretty bullet-proof heading into the quarter-final.
No one at this World Cup is indestructible however, and if players like Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku bring their A-games to Kazan, we should be in for one hell of a contest.