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World Cup predictions: Pedroza, Mariner, Moreno, Puig and Bertozzi advance to the semifinals

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The round of 16 is over, and that means there are just eight games left in the 2018 World Cup. Eight games in which to crown our predictions champion!

We whittled our list of contestants down to 10, with the pundits who recorded the highest average score carrying on into the quarterfinals.

But who will be the overall winner? Only five experts can go through to the semifinals; let's see how they get on.

The first game on Friday sees Uruguay take on France, which means Luis Suarez vs. Kylian Mbappe. Most of our pundits have gone for a France win; only Gab Marcotti bucks the trend by saying Uruguay will make the semifinals. ESPN Deportes' Alex Pareja goes for the most comprehensive victory, predicting 3-1 to Les Bleus.

UPDATE: A superb start for ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Ale Moreno, plus ESPN Brasil's Leonardo Bertozzi, who all picked out 2-0 to France. Plenty of other correct result points too, but it's an uphill battle from here for Gab to make the semifinals.

Then it's Brazil and Belgium's turn to try to continue their World Cup adventure. Both teams are packed with attacking talent, so surely we'll see plenty of goals? Our pundits seem to think so, with only two predicting a win to nil, and with Gab and ESPN Mexico's Ricardo Puig tipping 2-0 to Brazil. Leonardo says 2-1 to his countrymen, and ESPN Deportes' Mauricio Pedroza is the only pundit to go for Belgium.

UPDATE: Belgium's win means only Mauricio picks up points from our second quarter-final, grabbing 10 points and moving 10 points closer to our leaders.

After an eventual first day of quarter-final action it is Paul Mariner, Ale Moreno and Leonardo Bertozzi who lead the proceedings on 30 points with Mauricio Pedroza just 10 points back. Will the leaders be caught after our second two quarter-finals? Tune in on Saturday to find out.

Saturday is a day of all-European quarterfinal ties. We begin with England against Sweden, after Gareth Southgate's men finally banished their World Cup penalty shootout hell against Colombia. And there's a lot of support for them here; former England international Paul Mariner says 2-0, one of six predictions in favour of the Three Lions. Scotland's Steve Nicol is the only one to go for Sweden, but three experts reckon we are headed for penalties.

UPDATE: England's 2-0 win over Sweden sends the Three Lions into the semifinals of the World Cup. Our experts are competing for a spot in our predictions semifinals and England's result will be a big boost for one Paul Mariner.

The ex-England man, along with Ricardo Puig, nailed the 2-0 scoreline prediction of the England match for the 30-point bonus. The win moves Mariner into first with 60 overall points heading into our last game of the round. Ricardo Puig, Ale Moreno and Leonardo Bertozzi are tied for second on 40 points as our pundits jostle for a top-five position.

Eight of our pundits have Croatia winning our final game of the round, so for many nailing the scoreline prediction of Russia-Croatia is their only hope of reaching the semifinals. Let the drama begin!

And the round completes as host nation Russia look to continue their unexpected fairy-tale run when they meet much-fancied Croatia. Not one pundit believes Russia will win the game, with eight going for Croatia while just Mauricio and ESPN FC's Stewart Robson predict a draw, and thus a penalty shootout. Leonardo eyes a big 3-0 win for Luka Modric & Co.

UPDATE: We asked for drama and drama is what we got. Russia forces extra time with a late equaliser meaning Stewart Robson and Mauricio Pedroza pick up points for projecting the draw. Pedroza, though, nails the 2-2 scoreline meaning he also gets the 20-point bonus and jumps from outside the top five all the way up to second position.

Our semifinal roster is now set as Paul Mariner, Pedroza, Ale Moreno, Leonardo Bertozzi and Ricardo Puig advance to the last-five of our predictions bracket.

Who will take home the crown? Find out next week.

See how all of our pundits got on earlier in the competition by checking out the full table. Plus, it's not too late to join the pundits' league in Match Predictor.

The final 10:

ESPN FC: Gab Marcotti, Craig Burley, Steve Nicol, Stewart Robson, Paul Mariner, Ale Moreno
ESPN Deportes: Alex Pareja, Mauricio Pedroza
ESPN Brasil: Leonardo Bertozzi
ESPN Mexico: Ricardo Puig