Watch: John Stones says England can't underestimate Sweden in quarter-final clash

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John Stones and England are set to face Sweden.

England may be the favourite in their quarter-final tie at the World Cup, but defender John Stones believes his side can’t take Sweden lightly.

While England have had an impressive tournament to get to this point, Sweden have been no slouches themselves as they topped Group F before topping Switzerland in the last 16.

Heading into the match-up on Saturday, Stones wants England to take their opposition seriously.

“They wouldn’t be where they are without quality and without having that hunger to get where they are. That sounds like a good team to me,” Stones said.

See Stones’ full comments in the video below.

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Watch: Brazil fans react after nation crash out of World Cup with loss to Belgium in quarter-final

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Brazil fans feel pain of loss to Belgium.

Brazil fans were left disappointed, saddened and angered after La Selecao fell to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

As heavy favourites, Brazil were expected to put together a successful campaign, especially after the humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in 2014.

Brazil players felt the sting themselves and many were seen crying after the loss – something one fan wasn’t interested in.

“A player crying? We have to end with that ridiculous thing of people crying all the time. It’s Brazil, there is no chance of crying all the time,” the supporter said.

Check out more fan reaction in the video below.

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Eden Hazard can become a true megastar by moving to Barcelona or Real Madrid

Andy West 7/07/2018
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The number ten received possession on the left wing, danced inside the despairing challenges of desperate defenders and raced towards goal, leaving a trail of havoc and causing the crowd to catch their collective breath.

It was a thrilling performance to illuminate the night sky in Kazan and thrill the souls of the millions of fans watching at home on television all over the world, showing once again that this player possesses a special talent.

However, this time we are not talking about Neymar.

The flamboyant Brazilian star headed into his team’s World Cup quarter-final against Belgium as the name on everybody’s lips. But by the end of the contest, he had been thoroughly outshone by the player wearing the same number at the other end of the pitch: Eden Hazard.

While Neymar – looking well below 100 per cent fit – laboured badly during the first half and saw his attempt at a late revival snuffed out by a brilliant save from Thibaut Courtois, Hazard sparkled throughout.

Helped along by a Brazilian midfield that was conspicuous by its absence, he combined with fellow marauder Kevin De Bruyne to pose a constant stream of problems to the opposition back line, setting a new World Cup record by attempting and completing ten dribbles over the course of the game (Neymar, by comparison, made just three).

Although he did not contribute directly to either of his team’s goals in the mesmerising 2-1 win, the danger posed by Hazard is reflected in another stat as he was fouled on seven occasions – and that often looked like the only way of stopping him.

He showed incredible levels of stamina, as well, managing to maintain his ability to carry the ball at pace right until the end, regularly frustrating Brazil’s attempted comeback by keeping possession for his team and taking the ball into the opposition half during the frantic final few minutes.

There’s no doubt about it: in the battle of number tens in Kazan, Hazard reigned supreme, leaving Neymar trailing in his wake.

All of this begs the question: exactly how good is Eden Hazard?

Clearly, he has been among the game’s top attacking performers for several years now, ever since springing to global prominence by inspiring Lille’s unlikely French league and cup double in 2011.

His form in France led to a big-money move to Chelsea and he has performed with consistent excellence for the London team, playing a full role in two Premier League title triumphs and scoring a healthy tally of 89 goals in 300 games for the Blues.

So Hazard is good. We all know that. But could he still be one of the very best? Or even the best of them all?

The last few weeks have been full of talk that thirty-somethings Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, after disappointing World Cup campaigns, are ready to relinquish their crown as the greatest two players in the world.

The common understanding for several years has been that Neymar will eventually depose them, although he is now being speedily pursued by PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe.

But what about Hazard?

On the evidence of Friday night’s thriller, the Belgian livewire is capable of outshining both Neymar and Mbappe, so perhaps he should be given a little more prominence in the conversation about the next greatest player in the world.

Neymar couldn't lift Brazil as they crashed out of the World Cup.

Neymar couldn’t lift Brazil as they crashed out of the World Cup.

In truth, though, that will only happen if he leaves Chelsea. The Stamford Bridge outfit are a big club, of course, but they are not a mega-club. The best player in the world never plays for Chelsea; he plays, with inexorable inevitability, for either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

There’s a common view among little Englanders that Messi’s achievements should be downgraded because he has “never done it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke.”

Well, considering La Liga’s near total dominance of the biggest European prizes over the last few years, perhaps that question should be reversed: it’s all well and good watching Hazard prosper against Watford, but could he do it on a wild and windy Wednesday in Vigo?

This is a crucial time in Hazard’s career. At the age of 27, he is right at his peak and his stock will soon start to fall. With Belgium’s World Cup progress raising his profile higher than ever, there will never be a better time for him to grab the biggest move of them all from a position of strength.

And he is needed at both clubs. Barcelona, after missing out on Antoine Griezmann, could use Hazard’s pace and penetration to enliven an attack which is becoming too predictable (Ousmane Dembele should also fulfil that role, but nobody knows whether he is ready).

Real, of course, appear to be on the verge of losing Ronaldo and potentially Gareth Bale as well. It’s clearly time to rejuvenate the Bernabeu attacking ranks, and until now the question has been whether president Florentino Perez will land Neymar or Mbappe.

Perhaps, though, it will be neither: perhaps this is Eden Hazard’s time to become a true megastar.

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