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Brazil and Belgium set for quarter-final

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany's Belgium take on Brazil in the last eight of the World Cup on Friday

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany's Belgium take on Brazil in the last eight of the World Cup on Friday

After two days rest and recuperation – for both players and fans alike! – the World Cup finals get back underway with a vengeance in Russia today with two mouth-watering quarter-finals to look forward to.

Now we are down to the last eight teams, what’s shaping up to be one of the most memorable World Cups in recent memory is very much at the business end.

And with City still having a remarkable 11 players left involved in the tournament – a bigger representation than any other club – Blues everywhere will be glued to their TV sets over the next 48 hours eager to see who succeeds in securing a place in the semi-finals.

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While England’s clash with Sweden tomorrow afternoon is dominating the media landscape, ahead of Saturday night’s showdown between hosts Russia and Croatia, today’s two matches promise quality in abundance.

First up in Nizhny Novgorod, Benjamin Mendy and his richly-talented French colleagues, who have been tipped by many as potential World Cup champions, will lock horns with a Uruguay side who have proved both durable and deadly in navigating their way through to the last eight.

Kick-off is at 3pm with the game being screened live on ITV.

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That’s then followed by the day’s second quarter-final in Kazan between tournament favourites Brazil and Belgium in a match-up that could well prove to be one of the best yet at Russia 2018 with six City players featuring in the two squads.

Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils, who secured their quarter-final place with a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Japan in the last-16, are set to field both Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne in a starting line-up that is packed with star quality.

Five-times winners Brazil, meanwhile, have got stronger and stronger as the tournament has progressed and are expected to again deploy Gabriel Jesus up-front with Fernandinho and Ederson among the replacements. However, Danilo is sidelined with an ankle injury.

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The winners of today's two quarter-final ties will then meet in the last four in St Petersburg next Tuesday.

Following Friday’s action, the focus will then be firmly trained on England’s World Cup quarter-final with Sweden on Saturday – the Three Lions’ first appearance in the last eight since 2006.

City will again be well represented in Samara with Kyle Walker (cramp permitting!), John Stones and Raheem Sterling all primed to start against the Scandinavians with Etihad team-mate Fabian Delph expected to be back on the bench having returned to Russia on Thursday following the birth of his daughter.

Quarter-final schedule

Friday

France v Uruguay (Nizhny Novgorod) 3pm ITV

Brazil v Belgium (Kazan) 7pm BBC 1

Saturday

England v Sweden (Samara) 3pm BBC 1

Croatia v Russia (Sochi) 7pm ITV

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