The 2018 World Cup is well underway in Russia.
It’s day 20 and the final two games in the round of 16 take place, with England looking to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2006 as they face Group H winners Colombia. First up, Sweden take on Switzerland with the winner awaiting either the Three Lions or the Colombians in the next round, with all eyes on Harry Kane’s side as they look to rediscover their form.
Belgium, who beat England last time out, nearly came unstuck in their last-16 encounter on Monday night as Japan pushed them all the way in a last-gasp 3-2 victory. That win, coming through a last-minute goal from Nacer Chadli, books Belgium a quarter-final against Brazil, who earlier in the day came through their clash with Mexico in a comfortable 2-0 victory.
We will have all the latest news, views, pictures and video direct from Russia throughout the day as we pick up the pace at the biggest football tournament in the world.
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Good morning and welcome to The Independent's World Cup live blog, where we'll keep you up-to-date with the latest news and events in Russia as England prepare for their must-win last-16 clash with Colombia later this evening.
And what better way to begin your morning than in the company of The Independent's Chief Sports Writer Jonathan Liew.
'And, tell me if this is the thing we always do, the same old mindless optimism dolled up in a waistcoat, but England could win, couldn’t they? Couldn’t we?'
On England-Colombia, it is Russell Brand's World Cup column:
Colombia vs England kicks off at 7pm British Summer Time this evening at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow.
Gareth Southgate has invigorated the England squad, and he has challenged his players to 'write their own stories' ahead of the game.
The day's other game is Sweden against Switzerland in St. Petersburg. That is a 3pm kick-off.
We will have plenty more preview of the final two Round of 16 games as the day goes on.
Yesterday saw Brazil and Belgium advance in contrasting fashions to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final.
Brazil methodically and meticulously tamed Mexico in a 2-0 victory. The Seleção look like the favourites, as Miguel Delaney writes:
Neymar played a starring role with key involvements in both goals, but his over-dramatic antics once again overshadowed a superb performance.
Brazil were convincing; Belgium were anything but. However, thanks to a gutsy comeback and one utterly brilliant counter-attack, they are still alive and may be better for the hardship:
'Russia has always been one of those places where the lines between the real and the artificial are frequently blurred to the extent where it is no longer meaningful to draw any distinction between them. Where the end ultimately satisfies the means. Where what matters is not what is, but what you see.'
Jonathan Liew on the host nation:
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