England became the last team to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals after a dramatic penalty shootout as favourites Brazil and fancied France trained their sights on their last-eight opponents.
In one half, England, who played their one final when they won the title in 1966, and Sweden, who lost to Brazil on home soil in the 1958 final, will meet in Samara on Saturday with a last-four clash against Croatia or Russian Federation awaiting the victor.
Neither are close to their best form and anything less than that will be exposed when you get to the quarter-final stage of the World Cup where, in this case, Brazil lie waiting. Some of these notes, including 100-rouble bills in tribute to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the World Cup, are in circulation and in high demand among collectors.
FIFA has fined Croatia's soccer federation 70,000 Swiss francs ($70,500) for an ambush marketing incident by players during a World Cup game. Sweden is not likely to have any defensive breakdowns against England. Belgium have great players and a great coach as well.
No South American side have won on European soil since a Pele-inspired Brazil 60 years ago, but in a World Cup of shocks and surprises, nothing can be taken for granted.
Croatia's Milan Badelj had his low shot was stopped by Denmark 'keeper Kasper Schmeichel's legs, though Croatia still advanced to the quarterfinals. "These are not very sophisticated emotions", he said. The Red Devils have scored 12 times through four matches, including three in their last game, a stunning comeback to beat Japan on Monday.
The World Cup finals resume on Friday after a two-day break following England's dramatic penalty shootout victory over Colombia.
"We have fantastic supporters who've had to stand with us for decades of disappointment", the England boss said.
Perhaps the toughest challenge facing England is breaking down a miserly defence that has kept three clean sheets out of four games so far, but Harry Kane and Co. have never looked more confident than they do now. Sweden finished as group winners over England on goals scored. With an impressive strike partnership of their own in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, the Uruguayans believe they can surpass their most recent best of a semifinal in 2010 - though Cavani is sweating on a calf injury that may keep him out.
Mexico's Rafael Marquez in action with Brazil's Gabriel Jesus.
Nigerian legend, Nwankwo Kanu, had predicted that an African team would do well at this World Cup.
On Thursday, 5 July, the right back suffered a sprain ligament injury in his left ankle during a training session in Kazan.
"Since 2008 we have never gone beyond this first knockout game and it was very important for us to get that monkey off our back", Modric told the Federation Internationale de Football Association website.
"Thousands of visitors to the city, also consuming water, contribute to the increase in water", Samara Communal Systems wrote in a press release.
The company advises locals to "save water - take showers in pairs", adding a smiley face to the message.
The quarterfinals of the world's biggest sporting event wraps up on Saturday, with games starting at 10am and 2pm.