The FIFA World Cup 2018 Round of 16 line-up has been decided and barring Germany, almost all the teams expected to qualify have reached the knockout stage of the tournament. The pre-quarter-final showdowns have also thrown up some very interesting face-offs, with Argentina taking on France.
We finally have the complete lineup of all the 16 teams that have made it to the knockouts as the group stage of the FIFA World Cup 2018 came to an end on Thursday.
The biggest upset in the group stage was by far the exit of four-time champions Germany as they lost 2-0 against South Korea in Group F on Wednesday. It was also the sixth instance when the defending champions have been knocked out of the World Cup in the first stage.
The final day of the group stage saw Colombia beat Senegal 1-0 to top Group H while Japan lost to Poland 1-0 but still managed to go through to the next round on fair play.
The final fixtures of the group matches saw Belgium beat England 1-0 to finish as Group G winners while Tunisia outclassed Panama 2-1 to end their campaign on a high.
Let us first inform you about the 8 teams who managed to top their respective groups followed by the next best side:
Group A - Uruguay, Russia
Group B - Spain, Portugal
Group C - France, Denmark
Group D - Croatia, Argentina
Group E - Brazil, Switzerland
Group F - Sweden, Mexico
Group G - Belgium, England
Group H - Colombia, Japan
Meanwhile, Senegal's exit despite being on same points as Japan in Group H was also the first instance in World Cup history that a team had been eliminated by the amount of yellow cards they had accrued in the tournament.
Senegal had only needed a point in their final Group H game to reach the next round, but defeat saw them miss out to Japan, who edged them for the runners-up spot by virtue of having a better disciplinary record. The Asian side ended in second position having picked up four yellow cards to Senegal's six.
Two matches will take place in the round of 16 every day from June 30 to July 3 in the following order:
June 30 - France vs Argentina (7.30pm IST) followed by Uruguay vs Portugal (11.30pm IST)
July 1 - Spain vs Russia (7.30pm IST) followed by Croatia vs Denmark (11.30pm IST)
July 2 - Brazil vs Mexico (7.30pm IST) followed by Belgium vs Japan (11.30pm IST)
July 3 - Sweden vs Switzerland (7.30pm IST) followed by Colombia vs England (11.30pm IST)
Here is a look at the match-ups and where they will be played:Argentina vs France:
This is arguably the biggest face-off at this stage. Lionel Messi and Argentina would be hoping that France's less-than-daunting show in the group stages continues as the two sides meet at the Kazan Arena.Uruguay vs Portugal:
Cristiano Ronaldo began with a bang in the group stage but seemed to have run out of steam a bit towards the end. However, this too will be a high-power contest at the Fisht Stadium as the Latin Americans have shown fine form.Spain vs Russia:
Hosts Russia, the lowest-ranked team in World Cup 2018, will be hard-pressed to stave off Spain, who look as good as anyone else, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.Croatia vs Denmark:
Croatia should have the upper hand in the European contest since Denmark have just about done enough to be in the knockout stages. This match will be played at the Nizhy Novgorod Stadium.Brazil vs Mexico:
The South American clash of giants will really be the other match to watch out for, as Neymar and Brazil look to add to Mexico's miseries after their big loss to Swe3den in the last group game. The contest is at the Samara Arena.Belgium vs Japan:
Belgium won't be complaining as they take on Japan, who have surprised everyone by making it to the Round of 16. The last Asian representatives will take on a powerful Belgian side at the Rostov Arena.Sweden vs Switzerland:
There is little to choose from among these two sides, which makes for a riveting contest. The Swiss had held Brazil while the Swedes hammered Mexico, so both have the skills to advance as they meet at the St. Petersburg Stadium.Colombia vs England:
This is one of the most intriguing contests, as Colombia have been as good as anyone in the group stages while England have conceded goals in every game. One to watch out for at the Spartak Stadium.