With just under two weeks to go the World Cup has been whittled down to nations from just South America and Europe.
Japan were the last men standing from elsewhere, putting in a heroic performance before the speed and skill of Belgium led to heartbreak in the dying seconds.
That’s led to a scintillating tie with Brazil in what could be one of the games of the tournament.
The road to the final is becoming clearer for most now, but will the tournament go to a side from South America? Or will it be heading back to Europe?
Most football predictions and tipsters are backing the Brazilians, despite the tricky tie with Roberto Martinez’s men. They’re certainly worth an accumulator backing to reach the Semi Final given they haven’t really got out of first gear yet.
They’ve slowly been improving from round to round, which could be a good sign of them reaching the final. However, they can’t “just do enough” against Belgium, with the European side already proving this tournament they can both blow teams away and have the resilience to come from behind.
The Red Devils perhaps don’t deserve to go into the tie as underdogs, despite their struggle against Japan, given they have the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.
On paper, they’re perhaps the side that will bring the trophy back to Europe, with France, a side they could meet in the Semi Final also heavily favoured.
The French are following a similar path to Brazil. Comfortably through the group, they switched on the style in the Round of 16 with a stunning performance from Kylian Mbappe securing a 4-2 win.
Turning that heat up further could cause some real problems for Uruguay, who have been steady throughout the tournament.
They’re cruising along at the moment, and have some real pace getting forward. They certainly will have to turn the heat up, particularly with Edinson Cavani in excellent form for the South Americans.
Uruguay are certainly dark horses for the tournament, conceding just one goal so far this summer. They’ve been perhaps the most defensively sound nation, which could be vital when faced with the likes of Griezmann, Neymar or Lukaku.
It’s going to prove an interesting tournament final eight no matter which continent the World Cup heads to. A South America v Europe final looks entirely possible with the five time champions and the world’s first World Cup winners in the same side of the draw.
A European nation looks incredibly likely to come from the second half of the draw, although the quality is perhaps a little less. July 15, it’s all to play for…