With the World Cup winding to an end, the final four teams will now play two matches. The winners of the Semi Finals head to the Final to play for glory and fame, while the losers of the Semi Finals play another match to decide who wins third place at the World Cup. France, Belgium, Croatia and England fight for the slimmest of chances of moving on to the World Cup Final! Our World Cup Review takes a look back at the Semi Finals!
France: 1 Belgium: 0
In a match of two heavyweights, Belgium’s “golden generation” took on a youthful and ambitious France side! The game started off strong. Both nations pressed for an early goal. Stupendous goalkeeping from both sides saw amazing chances saved by France’s Hugo Lloris and Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois The action and intensity in the match was at the highest level, yet no goal was found!
As the second half started France were more on the front foot. They took it to Belgium, while the Red Devils were keen to sit back and try to counter France when they lost possession. Just five minutes into the second half France won a corner that would end up deciding the game. Antoine Griezmann sent in a beautiful ball into the box. Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini went up to try to defect the ball away from a dangerous area. However, France’s Samuel Umtiti rose higher. Umtiti was able to out jump Fellaini and flick a header past Belgian keeper Courtois. The goal made the game change Belgium had to play more directly, and France had to sit back and absorb their pressure.
This played well for France, as Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté stopped Belgian attacks in the middle of the field. Belgium not being able to rely on a numbers advantage on a counter attack, did little to penetrate Frances stout defense. Belgium’s star Striker had little success dropping deep to hold play up with France’s swarming pressure. In the end, Belgium pushed for an equalizer but found none.
France move on to the final of the World Cup, while Belgium head to the third place game!
Croatia: 2 England: 1
Before the start of Russia 2018, no one would have thought to favor England in a Semi Final of the World Cup. However in this game agaisnt Croatia, England were favored. Their historic run united a country who wanted football to come home. To do that England would have to make it to the final, and beat a very sneakily strong Croatian side. In the fifth minute it looked like England may have well been on their way to the World Cup Final.
After winning a free kick about 20 yards out. Kieran Trippier stepped up and scored a wonder strike. The ball had a bend on it that even David Beckham would be proud of. England had a dream start. The Three Lions were in control of the match for the rest of the first half. Croatian play makers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić struggled to get anything past England’s defense. The first half ended with England 45 minutes away from the final.
As the second half started Croatia looked more dangerous getting out on the front foot. England looked comfortable sitting back and defending the Croatian chances, while looking to break on the counter attack. As the second half move into the last thirty minutes Croatia ramped up their pressure, and the English looked to be losing their legs a bit. At the 68th minute mark some lazy English defending led to Croatia’s equalizer. Ivan Perišić rose his foot above the head of a diving Kyle Walker to poke in the tying goal. Both nation’s were forced to push for the winner with 22 minutes left. Croatia continued their pressure almost scoring a second goal on a few occasions, but this match would have to be settled in a 30 minute extra time period!
The first 15 minute extra time period was frantic, but it looked as if England were winded and Croatia were starting a brand new match. Croatia had played back-to-back 120 matches that went to penalty shootouts in their Round of 16 and Quarter final wins, and were in the midst of a third 120 minute match, yet they looked like the fresher team. Both sides tried for a goal in the first 15 minutes but found none.
The second 15 minute period was different. Just five minutes into the second half of stoppage time Croatia had another dangerous attack. England had plenty of defenders in the box, but none could deal with this crucial chance. A headed ball was sent into England’s box, John Stones was the closest English defender but he couldn’t get to the ball as Croatia’s Mario Mandžukić got onto the ball and slotted it past Jordan Pickford to give Croatia the lead. With 10 minutes left, England looked dead on the field. They couldn’t get back into the match after conceding late on.
Croatia move on to their first ever World Cup Final to face France, while England play for third place agaisnt Belgium!
The Final is set!
The World Cup is coming to its conclusion! France and Croatia play for the World Cup Trophy and eternal glory in world football! France have won the tournament just once before. Croatia have never been to a World Cup Final. Their nation of just over 4 million people have the chance to be Champions of the world!
Belgium and England play for third place and a chance to show their efforts by winning a bronze medal! While it may be a consolation game, pride and the golden boot race hang in the balance!
Check for our Third Place Match recap to see who took home the bronze!
As for France vs Croatia, tune in today at 11 am EST ton Fox/Telemundo to see who will become champions of the World!
The 2018 FIFA #WorldCupFinal:
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 11, 2018
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Mandatory Credit: Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports