Finally after so much of drama last night, we have our final four. Other than Brazil, all the favorites won their matches and we are all set for an all European semi-final.
While France cruised through against Uruguay, Russia gave Croatia a run for their money as they dragged them to the penalties.
Brazil were once again knocked out by a European team as their star player Neymar flopped and England have finally reached the semi-final after 28 long years.
As the teams get ready for the semi-finals, let’s have a look at The Statesman’s dream XI from the quarter-finals in a 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Courtois was exceptional against Brazil as he made nine amazing saves. Jordan Pickford gave him a run for his money for a spot In this line-up but Courtois just edged past him because of the number of saves he made.
If not for him, Brazil would have won the match. He made a last ditch save to deny Neymar the equalizer in the 90th minute. This was easily one of the best performances at this World Cup and definitely the most important one of Courtois’s career.
Right-back: Mario Fernandes (Russia)
Mario Fernandes almost broke the Croatian hearts when he scored the equaliser in the 115th minute. Croatia was all set to reach the semi-finals but Fernandes had other ideas as he made sure that the host nation did not go down without a fight.
Fernandes was also very solid in defence as he made five successful tackles, made won 13 duels and recovered eight balls. For his solid all-round display, Fernandes makes it to our dream team.
Centre-back: Raphael Varane (France)
Raphael Varans is leading the French defence from the front. He was touted as the next big thing in football, and what better stage than the World Cup to justify this tag.
He scored the opening goal for France against Uruguay and even helped his side keep a clean sheet. He kept Luis Suarez quiet for the entire match and did not allow him a single touch inside the box.
He was monumental for France, in attack as well as in defence.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire (England)
Harry Maguire is turning out to be one of the finds of the tournament as he makes it to our dream XI second time in a row. As if his solid defensive play was not enough, he topped it of with a brilliant goal this time.
He opened the scoring for England with a headed strike from the corner. He was once again instrumental in defence winning a staggering 12 duels and made six clearances. The Leicester centre-back looks destined for a move to one of the big four.
Left-Back: Lucas Hernandez (France)
Lucas Hernandez is a part our list yet again as Keeps putting in a shift one match after another. France have kept three clean sheets in five matches and Lucas is one of the reasons for that.
He was brilliant once agains vs Uruguay as France kept another clean sheet. He made eight clearances and won 10 duels. These numbers are World Class for a left-back.
Centre-midfield: Paul Pogba (France)
Paul Pogba has finally arrived at this World Cup. He has been consistent for France so far but his performances have been overshadowed by his teammate N’Golo Kante.
With his commanding performance against Uruguay, he made sure that no one could overshadow him. He won 14 duels, recovered eight balls, made five clearances and gave two key passes. Wow. These numbers are just something else and explains Pogba’s inclusion in our dream XI
Centre-midfield: Luka Modric (Croatia)
Luka Modric was an obvious pick for our side as he displayed another Man of the match performance.
He bossed the midfield once again versus Russia as Croatia won 4-3 on penalties. He converted from the spot yet again as Croatia reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1998.
He gave the assist for Croatia’s second goal in the extra-time, Made 15 ball recoveries, won 14 duels and completed 90 passes. The numbers don’t lie, he was phenomenal.
Central-attacking midfield: Jesse Lingard (England)
This pick may surprise many people but Lingard was amazing against Sweden, just like the rest of the tournament.
He controlled the midfield throughout the match as he sat just behind the two strikers, Kane and Sterling. He gave a brilliant assist for England’s second goal as he completed 93 per cent of his passes.
He is a very underrated player and usually goes unnoticed with Harry Kane taking away all the attention, but he remains equally important for his side.
Right-wing: Kevin De Bryune (Belgium)
This was an obvious pick as De Bryune scored the second goal from 20 yards out with a thunderous strike. He was instrumental in Belgium’s 2-1 win over Brazil as he often dropped behind Lukaku and pulled the strings from the midfield.
Hazard may grab all the headlines but make no mistake, De Bryune is equally important for Belgium. He extended Belgium’s lead with a powerful shot from outside the box, which ultimately proved to be vital as Brazil scored one later on.
If he keeps up his red hot form, Belgium may just win this World Cup.
Striker: Antoine Griezmann (France)
After his heroics during Euro 2016, Antoine Griezmann has not really performed according to the high standards he set for himself. He has failed to make an impact for much of the tournament as Mbappe grabbed all the headlines.
Regardless, he still has three goals to his name including a thunderous strike against Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
He connected well with Olivier Giroud and Mbappe and gives the side much needed balance. He has also been good at penalties, being France’s first choice penalty taker, he hasn’t missed any.
Left-Wing: Eden Hazard (Belgium)
Hazard has silenced all his critics at this World Cup, giving man-of-the-match performances one after the other. Along with players like Lukaku and De Bryune, he has carried this Belgium side to the semis.
He was exceptional once again versus Brazil as he gave the assist for Belgium’s opening goal and won a staggering 20 duels. He completed 9 dribbles and was the chief orchestrator in the middle of the pitch for Belgium.