The World Cup is getting closer to the final stages. The group stages are done now and 16 teams have progressed from their groups. There were some big shocks, like world champions Germany exiting the tournament after finishing last in Group F, while some unexpected teams soared. Sweden went on to win their group, while Brazil finished first after a rocky start against Switzerland.
Here is which Man United players will be playing in the eight matches of the first knockout round.
Paul Pogba vs Argentina & Marcos Rojo vs France
This will be the only clash where Man United will have a player in each of the two sides. And what a match this should be! Argentina did struggle in the group stages and almost went out of the tournament, but it was United’s very own Marcos Rojo that scored a lovely right-footed half-volley deep into the match against Nigeria.
France were unimpressive in group C, as well, but they got the job done. The only goal they conceded was against Australia from a Mile Jedinak penalty, but also, they scored just three goals. Against Denmark, the team did not want to try too hard as the draw was enough to seal the first place. It will be interesting to see Pogba in an important role against a big oponent.
Fred vs Mexico
We maybe did not see Fred in Man United’s red shirt at Old Trafford, but we will definitely want to see him go far in this tournament, maybe even meet with England in the final. It is still unknown whether we will see him against Mexico, but this match should be an easy one for Brazil. Mexico did start amazingly well in their first two matches, but their inexplicable display in second half of the 3-0 loss against Sweden is what will cost them dearly.
Instead of winning the group and playing against Switzerland, El Tri will now have to meet with Neymar, Coutinho and others.
Lukaku And Fellaini vs Japan
Two Man United players could be on pitch against Japan. Belgium won all of their matches and went on to win group ahead of England and now will have an easier oponent. Truth to be told, they will be expected to play against Brazil in quarterfinals, but Romelu Lukaku will first have to score a couple of goals against the only Asian side to progress from groups.
His four goals are a great tally, while Fellaini impressed against England with a good all-round performance.
Victor Lindelöf vs Switzerland
As mentioned before, Sweden topped their group and Lindelöf was part of that team. They will now play against Switzerland who are a tough side, but hardly unbeatable. This will probably be the most open clash of all eight, as both sides would be extremely happy with reaching the quarter finals. It would be a huge success for Sweden and an even bigger experience for Lindelöf.
England Quartet vs Colombia
What to expect from England? If you are an England fan, then only the victory will satisfy you. Jesse Lingard played well in group stages, Ashley Young was reliable, while Rashford and Jones got their biggest chance to play against Belgium. Colombia is an interesting and dangerous side, but if England get past them, then everything will be possible.