Europe and South America will do battle again for soccer supremacy in the World Cup quarterfinals but with many of the usual combatants having already exited, there is a fresh feel to a line-up that promises a new or long-absent finalist. While Africa, Asia and North America will not be represented, dashing any hope of a revolutionary breakthrough in the eventual destination of the trophy, at least one of 2018’s finalists will not have reached the title decider for half a century, if at all. With perennial challengers Germany, Spain and Argentina all having exited a tournament that has thrown up a never-ending series of surprises, the draw has a distinctly unbalanced feel in terms of the talent weighing on either side. In one half, England, who played their one final when they won the title in 1966, and Sweden, who lost to Brazil on home soil in the 1958 final, will meet on Saturday with a last-four clash against Croatia or Russia awaiting the winner. Neither the hosts, whose previo...

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