Not sure if anybody noticed, but England won a penalty shootout and are in the quarter-finals of a World Cup! Oh, and Argentina, Portugal and Spain all failed to make it past the Round of 16. What effect has that had on our game? Who still has all four Pot Teams? And who could have selected all four semi-finalists?!
France 4-3 Argentina
First up on day one of the knockout stages was a cracking match between France (the most selected Pot B team) and Argentina, who had just Damian Chapman & Derek Wilson rooting for them.
After Mbappe’s considerable influence, 24 players safely had their Pot B team into the last eight, while the World Cup waved goodbye to Lionel Messi for (probably) the last time.
Uruguay 2-1 Portugal
The perceived wisdom would have been that Pot A Portugal (Craig Ellis, Jemma Gibbons and Richard Gamble) would defeat Pot C Uruguay.
Fortunately for 24 Uruguay selectors they finished off the European Champions in 90 minutes to set up a quarter-final with France.
Spain 1-1 (3-4 pens) Russia
14 people went with Russia as their Pot D team, including challengers Dave Mason & Matt Carter – who were both top five before the match.
Spain weren’t a very popular Pot A selection – just four players including Martin Hayman & Jason Brown. Martin was an emerging challenger in the latter stages, while Jason (6th) had a slightly off-piste Pot selection (who were all still in) – Spain, England, Sweden and Japan!
The surprise victory ensured Russia reached the last eight for the first time since they competed as the Soviet Union in 1970, and ensured half the Pot A teams (four) had exited the tournament already!
Croatia 1-1 (3-2 pens) Denmark
Well nobody cared about this one! Both teams were in Pot B with England and France and so were overlooked.
Croatia are the second smallest nation left in the tournament and will now play the hosts.
Brazil 2-0 Mexico
Pot A Brazil beat Mexico in the only match of the Round that was won by more than a single goal.
Brazil are also the only Pot A team left in Russia that can still score any points in SPAGames World Cup Predictions with 12 players selecting them, including four of the then top ten – Chris Eastment, Steve Keay, Debra Kaye and Darren Bellamy.
Mexico were knocked out in the Round of 16 for the seventh consecutive time.
Belgium 3-2 Japan
Apart from Brazil & Switzerland, Belgium were the only other Pot A team still in Russia 2018, though no-one had the foresight to select them.
Of the three people who chose Japan in Pot D, Jason Brown was the one with the most to gain. At the start of the match he was in tenth place with England, Sweden and Japan still involved.
Japan were 2-0 up at one point, before losing 3-2, with the winner coming in the last minute of injury time!
Sweden 1-0 Switzerland
Switzerland became the sixth Pot A team to leave Russia, disappointing no-one playing our game.
The big news here though is that Sweden’s success allowed top-three Debra Kaye to retain all four of her Pot Teams. Even better for her, none of the teams will face each other in the quarter-finals meshing she could end up having chosen all four semi-finalists!
England 1-1 (4-3 pens) Colombia
After that injury time leveller, England became the third side to progress into the Quarter-Finals through a penalty shoot out, taking 11 SPAGames players with them.
Literally no-one will have shead a tear for the cynical, cheating Colombians’ departure from an enthralling World Cup.
Top ten after the Round of 16…