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Strong World Cup for Inter Milan players

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Four players make the round of eight.

Croatia v Denmark: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Marcelo Brozovic of Croatia and Martin Braithwaite of Denmark battle for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on July 1, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Needless to say, it has been a very good World Cup for Inter Milan players.

The Nerazzurri has been well-represented in Russia with the final two games of the round of 16 nearly in the books.

Here’s a look at teams to watch as the round of eight kicks off Friday:

Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Matias Vecino of Uruguay celebrates victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Uruguay and Portugal at Fisht Stadium on June 30, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Uruguay

Inter Milan midfielder Matias Vecino has made a strong impact on the field for Uruguay as they progressed through the group stage and into the knockout rounds.

His play coupled with fellow midfielder and Juventus product Rodrigo Bentancur have made Uruguay a team to watch over the course of the tournament.

In fact, his play has been so good, Inter are reportedly ready to offer Vecino a contract extension amid interest from Chelsea.

Last out: defeated Portugal 2-1 in the round of 16

Up next: vs. France, 10 a.m. (ET) Friday in quarterfinals

Brazil v Mexico: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Carlos Vela of Mexico is challenged by Miranda of Brazil during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Brazil and Mexico at Samara Arena on July 2, 2018 in Samara, Russia.
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Brazil

The World Cup darlings managed to move their way through the group stage with the help of stalwart defender Joao Miranda.

The defender has factored big for Tite’s backline throughout the tournament by starting in every match thus far in Russia.

His rock-steady defense is a prime factor in Luciano Spalletti’s plans moving forward, despite Miranda’s age (33). By bringing on Stefan De Vrij coupled with Milan Skriniar, Inter’s backline is positioned to be one of the best in the league next season.

Last out: defeated Mexico 2-0 in round of 16

Up next: vs. Belgium, 2 p.m. (ET) Friday in quarterfinals

Croatia v Denmark: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Jonas Knudsen of Denmark challenges Ivan Perisic of Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on July 1, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Croatia

The Croats have been somewhat of a Cinderella team this season by blowing through their group unscathed despite facing the likes of Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. Their goal differential of +6 in the group stage was second only to Belgium

Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic have proven to be strong additions for Croatia. For Perisic’s part, he netted the game winner against Iceland.

The team did show some dents in the armor in the round of 16 against Denmark — only winning the match on penalty kicks — but Croatia seems to be a team on a mission.

Croatia sports one of the strongest midfields left in the field and while they can’t look past the next round, they seem to have a solid path to the semifinals.

Last out: defeated Denmark 1-1 (3-2 pens) in round of 16

Up next: vs. Russia, 2 p.m. Saturday in the quarterfinals

Belgium v Japan: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Yuto Nagatomo of Japan and Gen Shoji of Japan look dejected following their side’s defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Belgium and Japan at Rostov Arena on July 2, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

While not left in the tournament, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Yuto Nagatomo and Japan. Although it appears he is on his way to Galatasaray, Nagatomo was long a part of Inter Milan’s defensive plans.

His Japan national team made a solid run through the group stage only to be eliminated from the tournament by what can only be described as one of the biggest comebacks in World Cup history as Belgium scored three unanswered — including the winner in stoppage time — in the round of 16.

Say what you will about Nagatomo, he long honored the Inter shirt and I think it only appropriate to make mention of his national team exploits.


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