The quarter-final matches are set, without Spain, Argentina, and Portugal who exited in the round of 16. Belgium almost went out against Japan but recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in riveting action. England needed penalty kicks to get past Columbia.
One thing I have advocated for a long time is that possession statistics aren’t very meaningful in predicting or determining the outcome of games. What matters most, in my opinion, is scoring chances generated and goals. Spain.s 75% possession against Russia and Germany’s 75% possession against Korea are good examples. Finally, the soccer experts in media are catching on and are heralding the end of possession soccer. In my opinion possession soccer that involves a lot of square and back passes allows the opponents to set up defensively, win the ball, and counter quickly. The teams used to playing possession soccer will have to find new strategies to beat these counterattacking teams. I have always advocated that one or two touch soccer with quick runs and passes, switching point of attack, etc. is the way to go, even for highly skilled teams. You have to find ways to get the defense off-balance. We offer an entire practice book to fast transition play and attack.. Competitive Pro Practices – Fast Break Soccer.
Looking ahead to the quarter finals, on one side of the draw we have:
France v. Uruguay and Brazil v. Belgium, the winners meeting in the semi-final. There are three previous world cup winners.
On the other side we have Croatia v. Russia and Sweden v. England, one previous world cup winner. It is nice to see that a new face will make the final out of this group (I include England since they haven’t been in the final since 1966).
The games are getting tense, the action is exciting. Enjoy !!!