St Petersburg: Sixty matches have gone, four to go. Many of them were memorable. Here is a list of the best of the lot.
Portugal vs Spain (3-3)
The see-saw match served as an appetiser for what was to follow. After conceding the lead twice, Spain finally went ahead 3-2 with a stunning Nacho goal. But Cristiano Ronaldo made the match his own by completing a hat-trick with an exquisite free kick in the dying minutes.
Germany vs Sweden (2-1)
It was a thriller from start to finish as the defending champions went for the jugular after having lost their opener against Mexico. Just when it appeared that the Germans would have to be content with a point, Toni Kroos blasted in a sensational last-gasp free kick. The match was a great advertisement for the World Cup.
Switzerland vs Serbia (2-1)
Few would have expected the match to turn out to be such an absorbing contest. After Serbia took an early lead, the Swiss gave their all for the equaliser. A booming beauty arrived from the boot of Granit Xhaka to make it 1-1. Energised by the outstanding long-distance goal, Switzerland went for Serbia’s neck and got it through Xherdan Shaqiri’s cool finish.
France vs Argentina (4-3)
The Kazan Arena rocked with Argentina fans but their team didn’t as teenage Frenchman Kylian Mbappe tore them to shreds. The exuberance of Mbappe electrified the match that pitted two top sides. Angel Di Maria’s thunderbolt was Argentina’s only takeaway in a shambolic end to their campaign.
Belgium vs Japan (3-2)
Japan put Belgium on the brink of exit after taking a 2-0 lead in the round of 16. Talks of Belgium’s golden generation taking the World Cup by storm appeared rather silly before the Red Devils mounted a stirring rally in the last 20 minutes. Substitute Nacer Chadli scored the winner with the last kick of the match to complete the comeback of the tournament.
Belgium vs Brazil (2-1)
Brazil had to do a Belgium on Belgium after conceding a two-goal lead. They chased the game with all their might but an equaliser eluded them thanks to the stellar work of Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The contest between two technically accomplished teams was a feast to football lovers.