Sports

WC semi-final line-up: An all-European affair

WC semi-final line-up: An all-European affair
France players during a training session ahead of their semi-final clash with Belgium.
Moscow, Jul 8 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/9/2018 12:58:34 AM IST
The 2018 World Cup semifinal matchups are set and it is an all European semifinal with France facing Belgium on Tuesday and England battling Croatia on Wednesday. Each team is now just a victory away from the biggest match in the sport and a loss away from heartbreak. 
France, as expected, is the favourite, but Les Bleus have really not been all that convincing in the knockout stage, beating a poor Argentina team and then facing Uruguay without Edinson Cavani. 
However, any of the four remaining teams, on their day, can beat each other. France haven’t been as impressive as Belgium in this tournament, not even close in fact, so they have to be at their absolute best when they turn up in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Not many expected 1966 champions England or Belgium to get to this point either. Both were viewed as teams with tons of potential but not enough experience but both have proven doubters wrong. They have also increased their chance of winning the tournament by producing some convincing performances along the way.
While it’s hard to argue that England squad don’t have great players, the general feeling is that many of them fall just short of being top class, and that their success on the field is as much down to a great team spirit as it is anything else.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by Southgate, his incredibly calm nature and professional approach to everything he does has brought the whole nation together and back in love with the England national side.
Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday night will be an extremely tough encounter, but England are favourite against a team that has come through two penalty shoot-outs against national sides rated inferior to England. Come through this and a World Cup final against either France or Belgium really is a coin toss game. 

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