Hours away from the first World Cup semifinal, it would be an understatement to say that the FIFA World Cup 2018 has been full of surprises and upsets. From defending World Champions Germany being defeated in the group stages to Russia almost winning the quarter final, this World Cup has seen it all.
The most exciting part of the tournament, however, is yet to come. The semifinals of the most anticipated sports event in the world are finally here! One would not be wrong to think that the remaining matches will pack a punch like none before.
The mighty Belgians take on the exciting French in the first semifinal and the motivated Englishmen face the Dark Horse, Croatia, in the second one.
Belgium vs France will have football fans across the globe excited as these were two of the teams, along with Spain, Brazil and Germany, that were thought of as potential winners of the cup. While France advanced to the knockout rounds with seven points, Belgium went through with nine points out of a possible nine.
Both teams have performed well so far
Both teams have impressed with their dynamic play and consistency. Belgium went down two goals to none against their Asian opponents, Japan, in the Round of 16, but were able to display great composure, which inspired a 3-2 comeback in favour of Belgium.
In the quarter-final, even though they won by a difference of one goal, they were able to tactically and physically dominate Neymar and his fellow Brazilians, who had been impressive in the tournament.
France, on the other hand, was responsible for Lionel Messi’s exit in what was perhaps the most exciting game of the tournament. France beat Argentina 4-3 in the seven-goal thriller. In the quarter final, France outplayed another South American team, Uruguay, and won by two goals to zero.
With both Belgium and France in great form and momentum, the first FIFA World Cup semifinal is bound to be to be nothing short of great.
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The midfield will be the space to watch tonight
The match tonight will be the toughest test so far for both sides. Both teams are well balanced, with strong benches. The battle today is one which will be decided in the mid-field. France has a skilful play-making unit in the midfield, while Belgium has a midfield which has put its physicality and direct football to good use.
Both line ups are full of big names who have performed up to the mark in this tournament. The star-studded French line-up consisting of Hugo Lloris, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante can perhaps only be matched by the brutal Belgian combination of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Romleu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany.
The game is set to be a highly entertaining one, with inspirational football all around. It is safe to expect both teams to make great plays and attack a lot.
In the rollercoaster of emotions that the tournament has been so far, it will be interesting to see whether France’s quick breaks and pacy forwards will be enough to beat the strong, offensive Belgians, who have simply dominated, in tonight’s World Cup semifinal.
One of these favourites will advance to the finals, but they have both certainly won applause, hearts, and a place in history for themselves.
My Predicted Winner: Belgium
Belgium- Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne
France- Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé
(Zoheb Bedi is the life of the party, with an endless repertoire of witticisms, and the ability to talk about most subjects for hours. When not taking time off to hang out with his friends, you can find him indulging his love of football, public speaking, and travel.)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s personal views.