World Cup: Friday’s matchups



Where: Nizhny Novgorod

Time: 7 a.m. PDT.


TV: FS1, Telemundo.

The buzz: Four former champions are still alive in this tournament but one of them will go out here. France won the tournament it hosted in 1998 while Uruguay won in 1930 and 1950, both times in South America. Uruguay hasn’t gotten past the quarterfinals of a European World Cup since 1954. Uruguay is unbeaten and untied in Russia, where it has allowed just one goal. But the status of leading scorer Edinson Cavani may not be known until game time. Cavani scored both goals in his team’s 2-1 win over Portugal before limping off with a calf injury in the 74th minute. If Cavani is unable to go, that would leave Uruguay’s offense in the hands of Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, who has two goals here. France came to Russia as one of the favorites and it has done nothing to discourage that enthusiasm, going unbeaten in group play before rallying from a second-half deficit to eliminate Argentina in the round of 16. Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe – Cavani’s club teammate -- had a pair of goals four minutes apart in that game, joining Pele as the only teenagers to score twice in a World Cup knockout game. Mbappe leads France with three goals.


Where: Kazan


Time: 11 a.m. PDT.

TV: FS1, Telemundo.

The buzz: Belgium, which hasn’t lost a competitive match in more than two years, needed a rally of historic proportions to get past a stubborn Japan in the round of 16 while Brazil had a far easier time with Mexico, allowing just one shot on goal in posting its third consecutive shutout. Brazilian coach Tite says his team’s success stems from its balance but his star player seems to be forever losing his, with Mexico becoming just the latest opponent to accuse Neymar of flopping and embellishing fouls. Belgium and Brazil lead the World Cup with 77 shots and are 1-2 in shots on goal. Belgium has been the better finisher, with a tournament-best 12 goals, five more than Brazil. But Brazil has been the better defensive team, allowing just four shots on target in as many games. Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, with four goals, is Belgium’s leading scorer, while Neymar and Philippe Coutinho have two apiece for Brazil. | Twitter: @kbaxter11

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