There were no games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia overnight but there’s still plenty happening heading into this weekend’s quarter-finals.
Uruguay’s talisman Edinson Cavani is in a huge race against time to prove his fitness for the clash with France, while Jordan Henderson admits his penalty-taking days for England in this tournament could be over after his miss in the shootout win over Colombia.
RUSSIA WRAP: England defy history, Sweden edge through
It’s all here in our Russia Watch.
FRANCE DON’T EXPECT TO SEE CAVANI
Two-goal Round if 16 hero Edinson Cavani seems unlikely to play for Uruguay against France on Saturday morning (12am AEST) due to the hamstring injury picked up in the 2-1 win over Portugal.
Cavani hasn’t trained since the match and French defender Adil Rami feels the 31-year-old PSG striker would have to "destroy science" to line up against Les Bleus in Nizhny Novgorod.
"Unfortunately, one man's loss is another man's gain," Rami said.
"We're talking about Edinson Cavani, one of the world's best strikers and he's been on form during this tournament, so I think it's not bad for us that he's injured.
"I had the same kind of injury and it took time, I tried to defy medical science, and it wasn't easy. So if he plays against us, he'll have destroyed science, so stop making us believe that he'll play against us."
Cavani’s absence would be a huge blow to Uruguay’s hopes against the improving French.
The winner of the clash will play either Brazil or Belgium in the semi-finals.
HENDO PUTS HAND UP FOR ANOTHER PENALTY
England midfielder Jordan Henderson would be happy to take another penalty at the FIFA World Cup™ but admits manager Gareth Southgate might not let him.
Henderson was the only Englishman to miss in the shoot-out win over Colombia but was relieved as the South Americans missed their next two to send the Three Lions through.
The Liverpool skipper insists his miss wouldn't put him off taking another penalty if needed in the tournament but concedes it may be taken out of his hands.
"It wouldn’t put me off but it might put Gareth off! I'd take another one but obviously it's down to the manager and I would understand if he chose someone else.
"I just went through the process that I normally do, that I've been working on. Maybe it was a good height for the keeper if anything, it needed to be higher or lower but in penalties you can miss or there can be a good save."
NO TIKI TAKA FROM SWEDEN
Skipper Andreas Granqvist has vowed that Sweden will not alter the way they play heading into their FIFA World Cup™ quarter-final with England.
Janne Andersson's side have had less possession than their opponents in three out of their four matches at the tournament so far, relying on their strong defensive structure to keep teams at bay.
That tactic has worked well, and if not for Toni Kroos' sublime free-kick in the last minute of the Group F clash with Germany, Sweden would have a 100% winning record.
And Granqvist, who has scored twice from the penalty spot, claims Sweden have no plans to change how they set-up when it comes to facing England in Samara on Sunday morning (12am AEST).
"Normally the other teams have better players on paper. We let them have the ball in the places we want them to have the ball," Sweden's captain told reporters.
"If you look at the games we have played, of course, the opponents have more ball possession, but we have created more chances.
"This is how we play, this is what we need to do. This is our strength and we need to show our quality against other strong teams. This is the way for us to have success and we're going to continue this way."
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