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6 Jul 2018

Pogba, Neymar, Coutinho risk missing semi-final

The World Cup quarterfinals get under way on Friday, but for some players an appearance in the semifinals could cruelly be taken away.
Yellow cards are only wiped after the quarterfinals, so it means that any player shown their second yellow of the tournament in the next match will be ruled out of a potential semi.

France have four players on one booking, including Paul Pogba, right-back revelation Benjamin Pavard and striker Olivier Giroud. Uruguay, however, have only Rodrigo Bentancur.

The winners of the Belgium vs. Brazil tie could be without star names. Tournament favourites Brazil have three players on a yellow, notably Philippe Coutinho and Neymar, while the Red Devils have Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Meunier and Jan Vertonghen among their five players on a booking.

England have four on a yellow, with Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard and Kyle Walker walking the tightrope. For Sweden, Viktor Claesson and AlbinEkdal could be forced out of a potential semifinal.

It’s the fourth quarterfinal that has by far the most jeopardy, with eight players from Croatia and five from Russia already having one caution to their names. Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic and SimeVrsaljko would each be a serious loss or Croatia, while Russia would sweat over the availability of AleksandrGolovin and IlyaKutepov.

Any player sent off would also be ruled out of the next fixture.

Brazil will be without Casemiro against Belgium due to suspension, while Mikael Lustig misses out for Sweden.

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