Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo take centre stage because the tourney shifts into gear mechanism at the weekend with the beginning of the knockout matches within the loaded prime half the draw.
Football heavyweights France, Argentina, Portugal and Brazil square measure all clustered in one section of the competition, with solely European nation among recent winners within the spouse.
The unbalanced nature of the knockout part will increase the probabilities of associate degree unlikely team reaching the semi-finals — and of the massive guns cancelling one another out.
That situation sparked dialogue earlier than Thursday´s England-Belgium cluster match — was it higher to win and enter the harder aspect of the draw or lose and face probably easier fixtures down the line?
The first introduce Russia featured only 1 unsuccessful draw and already a record variety of penalties, with the video assistant referee (VAR) usually within the spotlight.
Of the half-dozen winners of the trophy since 1970, Deutschland have gone zero in the most important shock of the tournament out and away whereas European nation ne’er even qualified for Russia.
Ronaldo on the opposite hand started his tournament with a hat-trick against Kingdom of Spain however has slipped behind England’s Harry Kane within the race for the Golden Boot once seeing his penalty saved in Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Islamic Republic of Iran.