Previewing 2018 World Cup Semi-Finals

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France vs Belgium

This could be a clash of epic proportions as two Western European countries meet in the semi-finals. Belgium just defeated a power house in Brazil and actually did so seemingly in easy fashion even though the score was 2-1. The Belgians got a goal from Kevin De Bryune, while they also got a gift on a own goal from Brazil’s Fernandinho. Belgium will be making their second ever trip to the semi-finals and now they have the distinction of being the fourth consecutive European side to oust Brazil from the World Cup since the 2006 edition. France on the other hand will be making their sixth appearance in a World Cup semi-final. France defeated Uruguay 2-0 as they got goals from Raphaël Varane and Antoine Griezmann as they dispatched the South American power with ease. This could be a great match between Belgium and France as Belgium has a lot of fire power with their Golden Generation, while France is a very balanced squad.

Predictions

James Rowe: Belgium. I’ve finally bought into them as they beat a very good Brazil squad. Plus with the amount of talent they have, it would be nice to see them advance.

Thomas Martin: Belgium rides their wave of success and powers through France to reach the finals for the first time ever.

Tali Raphael: Belgium. Belgium are now battle tested and have shown the depth and talent of their squad. This I think should be the most balanced and compelling match of the tournament. Either squad could reasonably win this one.

Croatia vs England

England is making their third World Cup semi-final as they England won 2-0 over Sweden in which England got goals from Dele Alli and Harry Maguire. Croatia and Russia drew 2-2 after playing in regulation and extra time, but Croatia won in penalty kick’s. Croatia got goals from Andrej Kramaric and Domagoj Vida as Croatia will be making their second ever World Cup semi-final. Croatia also made history as they became the second squad to win two penalty shootouts in one World Cup (Argentina in 1990 was the other). Russia became the first host country to be eliminated in the quarter finals since Mexico bowed out in 1986. Croatia has seemingly been the cinderella story this World Cup despite the array of talent they possess and England looks to have exorcised their World Cup demons. This could be a fun match to watch.

Predictions

James: England. England is riding high while Croatia is running on fumes. Plus I just think England is built better, at least on paper they are.

Thomas: While the Croatian squad has been strong, they have just broken down a bit too much over the course of the tournament. England manage to overcome them and make it to the finals for the first time since they won it all in 1966.

Tali: England. Croatia looked gassed after two consecutive matches going to penalties. I think it catches up with them here. England probably win in extra time with a bolster from a lung bursting run from Raheem Sterling.

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