FIFA World Cup 2018: From dramatic penalty shootouts to Argentina, Spain exits, a look at the Round of 16 in tweets

After a dramatic round of knockouts, the FIFA World Cup 2018 contenders have been cut down to eight. Five of the eight Round of 16 matches were absolute thrillers, needing late goals or penalties to decide the winners.

England became the last team to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals after a dramatic penalty shootout victory against Colombia to join Sweden, Croatia and Russia in the quarter-finals of the bottom half. England are the only former winners of the four teams.

The top half contains more heavyweights, with 1998 champions France taking on two-time winners Uruguay and favourites Brazil set to face dark horses Belgium.

The prevailing theme of the Round of 16 of this World Cup — which is already being labelled as the best edition ever — has been the triumph of the underdog. Heavyweights Argentina, Portugal and Spain have been left behind. And even in defeat, teams like Japan and Denmark won hearts and impressed with their fight.

Before we move on to the quarter-finals — Uruguay vs France, Brazil vs Belgium, Sweden vs England and Russia vs Croatia — let's look back at some of the memorable moments, shocking statistics and hilarious memes from the Round of 16.

The knockouts got off on the most dramatic note possible with the sport's two biggest superstars, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, exiting on the same day.

Spain followed Argentina and Portugal out of the tournament on Sunday when they were beaten on penalties by hosts Russia.

On a day of penalty shootouts and goalkeepers stepping up, Croatia avoided the same fate as Spain as they were rescued by their keeper Danijel Subasic.

Brazil defeated Mexico 2-0 to make the quarters but it was Neymar's histrionics that stole all the limelight.

Belgium were on the brink of another major tournament failure when trailing 2-0 with 21 minutes to play against, only for a magnificent breakaway goal by Nacer Chadli in the fourth minute of injury-time to cap a stunning fightback.

Sweden edged out Switzerland 1-0 in the last-16. Emil Forsberg grabbed the only goal of a tight encounter midway through the second half to send his country into the quarters for the first time since 1994.

And for England, three words sum up their entire experience at the World Cup.

Favourites Brazil will come up against Belgium's 'golden generation' in Kazan on Friday while an exciting young France side spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe take on a shrewd Uruguay outfit in Nizhny Novgorod.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Kevin De Bruyne are likely to give Brazil's defence the biggest test of their campaign so far, although the South Americans have only conceded once in four matches.

France never got out of first gear in easing through the group stage but turned on the style as Mbappe dazzled in a classic 4-3 victory over Argentina to set up the clash with Uruguay.

Uruguay's success has been built on a solid defence led by Atletico Madrid pair Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin, with the old-fashioned strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani doing the damage at the other end with five goals between them.

On Saturday, England play their quarter-final against Sweden in Samara, with a last-four clash against either Croatia or Russia up for grabs.

No South American sides 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.

With inputs from agencies

Click here to view the full schedule of FIFA World Cup 2018

Click here to view the full schedule of FIFA World Cup 2018

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Updated Date: Jul 04, 2018 17:20:28 IST

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