Portugal edged out France in what was probably the upset of the decade to win Euro 2016. Now the two teams could meet again in the quarter finals of the World Cup. The European nations will look to emulate their 2016 run and reach the final again.
Except the road is filled with more hurdles than ever. In the Round of 16, Portugal face Uruguay, a team with a solid defense and Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani forward. France have the more difficult tie with Lionel Messi and Argentina in their way. The Albiceleste will be buoyant after their exciting Group D finale. If they manage to get past their South American opponents, Les Bleus and the Selecaoes will meet each other. None of those teams will relish facing off again, except maybe Les Bleus will want a chance at redemption after losing Euro 2016 on home soil to the Portuguese.
In the semifinals, it looks like the other Selecao, Neymar’s Brazil, might be waiting to ambush whoever makes it out alive from this dangerous part of the bracket. Brazil have Mexico to deal with and then a potential clash with highly rated Belgium. These will not be easy games but Brazil should manage to navigate through them and reach the semi finals. We could then have a remake of the 1998 final, where France stormed Brazil 3-0, with a certain Zinedine Zidane scoring twice.
All in all, a tough road to the final in that part of the bracket!
This reminds us of France’s march to the final in 2006, where they had to beat Spain, Brazil and Portugal on the way. This is a bit similar, except there is no Zinedine Zidane to lead them this time. At least Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo to conjure miracles.
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