After four days of exciting Round of 16 (pre-quarterfinals) matches in the Fifa World Cup 2018, eight teams have overcome the first knockout hurdle to enter the quarterfinals of Russia 2018.
Here are the players that are most likely to make an impact in the quarterfinals of Fifa World Cup 2018:
France: N’Golo Kante
Although Kylian Mbappe and Antonie Griezmann are leading the attack for France in FIFA World Cup 2018, N’Golo Kante is the one ruling the midfield. A shy, unassuming, short contrivance runs the midfield of one of the top contenders of this year's trophy. In the group stage, Kante saved France's blushes against Australia -- which gave France a hard time -- moping up every stray ball and actively going after it whenever it was taken off his teammates. He completed all the dribbles he attempted during that match, made 55 passes with 93% accuracy, won 5 duels, and cleared the ball 4 times.
In the Round of 16 match against Argentina, the Chelsea midfielder Kante shadowed Lionel Messi and almost nullified his impact.
Brazil: Philippe Coutinho
For Brazil, it is Neymar who grabbed the headlines before and during the ongoing tournament. But the team owes its success, so far, in a huge part, to a way understated player, Philippe Coutinho who has refused to let his form dip unlike his curler that tend to dip as they find the corner of the goal nearly every time he attempts those. Throughout the tournament, he’s commanded the Brazilian midfield with aplomb, stringing together majestic pass after pass, creating space and opportunities for his teammates to flourish. In the Fifa World Cup 2018, Coutinho has a 91% passing accuracy with 10 key passes. He also created 2 big chances and scored 2 goals in the Fifa World Cup 2018. Coutinho is the one of the Brazilian player to watchout for.
Uruguay: Diego Godin
Uruguay have been one of the top teams in the tournament and many people would be right to point to their goalscorers Suarez and Edison Cavani, who have, in their own right, been crucial players. But Uruguay, the team that boasts the most formidable defence, have their captain Diego Godin to thank for his efforts. In the four World Cup matches, he covered 36.2 km with a 100% accuracy of goal kicks that successfully reached teammate. He won the ball from the opponents 23 times and has been the wall in the defence.
Belgium: Eden Hazard
The Red Devils have the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard creating chances for star man Romelu Lukaku who will score goals. Eden Hazard led the team from the front and in the 3 matches he has played, he has 2 goals and 5 attempts on target to his name. Hazard is an elusive dribbler and is blessed with dazzling skills. A player seemingly immune to pressure, the Belgium captain plays the game with remarkable calm and coolness. A team-high on talent and low on the experience of winning international tournaments would benefit from such a personality and player as their leader as they enter the crucial phases of the World Cup.
Sweden: Emil Forsberg
Even though Sweden eliminated Italy to qualify for the Fifa World Cup 2018, people had doubts about this Sweden team that lacked a star player like its former player Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But, Sweden have thrived under those low expectations and have played brilliantly in the World Cup so much so that they defeated one of the tournament favourites Germany in the league game to top the group. For Sweden, Emil Forsberg is the player that one should look for in the build up to the quarterfinals. In the Round of 16, Forsberg couldn’t have picked a better time to underline his importance to the Sweden squad. Although Janne Andersson’s team are a collection of functional individuals who operate together like clockwork, Forsberg is the big name and in Saint Petersburg, the RB Leipzig midfielder almost didn’t score only to be helped by Swiss defender Manuel Akanji’s deflection. He emerged as one of the best attacking midfielders in the Bundesliga, Forsberg is one of the players on whom Swedish fans will be pinning their hopes in the quarterfinals. In the Fifa World Cup 2018 he scored 1 Goal with 3 attempts on target.
England: Harry Kane
Sweden and England will meet at the World Cup for the third time this century when they go head-to-head in Samara in Saturday's quarterfinal. England’s World Cup dream depends on Harry Kane's performance in the quarterfinals. He is already this World Cup's leading scorer with six goals from three games, and will be the player England will look to for inspiration when they face Sweden in the quarterfinals. The likes of Harry Maguire and John Stone look rock solid in the back line while Jordan Henderson will play a prominent role in the midfield but the England squad will face a tough test when they take on Sweden on Saturday. If this English side wants to bring it home, Kane will need to keep up his goalscoring form on.
Croatia: Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic
Croatia entered the World Cup 2018 with high expectations, boasting what is arguably its strongest roster since the 1998 cup. Led by Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, the Croatians delivered a relatively easy win in their first match against Nigeria, and then shocked Argentina to top Group D. They finished the group stage with another win against Iceland, making them the second team with nine points (Uruguay) in this World Cup. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic have displayed some stellar performance in the midfield while the likes of Perisic, Mario Mandzukic and Rebic have given tough times to the opposition defence.
Russia: Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba
The hosts have been one of the revelations of Fifa World Cup 2018. The likes of Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba have produced some stellar performances. Russia also ousted the 2010 World Cup champions in the pre-quarters before setting up a quarter-final clash against Croatia. Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba have already scored three goals each while Golovin showed a glimpse of his skills with his stunning freekick against Saudi Arabia. Uruguay gave the hosts their first reality check when they drubbed them with three goals in the final group stage match, and Russia would do well to remain alert and churn out their best when they meet Croatia in the final match of quarterfinals.