The quarter finals of the ongoing global football fiesta in Russia is over and the semi-finals is in sight. The tournament is increasingly getting to it end or conclusion. The semi-finals starts in a little over 24 hours’ time. The teams or nations to participate in the semi-finals have been determined. A number of things happened or occurred in the course of the quarter finals. This article discusses 5 of those events or findings. Keep reading to see if you also observed those things.
QUARTER FINALS: FIFA WORLD CUP STAYS IN EUROPE.
The 2018 FIFA world cup hosted in Europe specifically Russia will stay in Europe. The participants in the semi-finals (England, Croatia, France and Belgium) are all European nations. This will be the 4th consecutive tournament that the trophy will stay in Europe. This year will be the same case as it was in those past 3 occasions.
The last time the trophy didn’t stay in Europe was during the 2002 South Korea/Japan world cup. At that time Brazil, the South American giants whisked it away. Since then the trophy has stayed in Europe. It did so in the 2006 world cup held in Germany when Italy won it. That was the case when Spain and Germany won the 2010 and 2014 editions respectively. This year’s edition will be no different as the 4 semi-finalist who progressed from the quarter finals are Europeans.
QUARTER FINALS: OLD FACES IN THE SEMI-FINALS IN A LONG TIME.
This year’s world cup semi-finals will feature teams that haven’t been in the semi-finals of the world cup in a long time. They are England, Croatia, France and Belgium. None of them haven’t featured in the semi-finals of the world cup for at least 12 years. Belgium have the longest years of the 4 nations with their last semi- final appearance coming in the 1986 edition. This is also the 1st time in more than 20 years that a previous world cup semi-finalist isn’t in the semi-finals of next world cup.
This old faces will want to qualify into the final after successfully navigating the quarter finals. They go into the semi-finals with a lot of hope and confidence having come this far. None of them knew they could get here with teams with much better ratings like Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain tipped to be here. Whatever happens in the semi-finals they will be proud of their achievement in Russia.
QUARTER FINALS: GOALKEEPERS DAZZLING IN RUSSIA.
Another thing we learned from this year’s world cup quarter finals is that the tournament is for goalkeepers. Having excelled for their individual teams to bring them to the quarter finals, they did so again to qualify them to the semi-finals. Pickford, Subasic, Lloris and Courtois are the goalkeepers I am talking about. They are the goalkeepers of England, Croatia, France and Belgium respectively.
Pickford made a string of saves when the scores between England and Sweden was at 1 nil and 2 nil to send England through. Subasic also killed himself for Croatia by making a lot of saves whiles in a state of injury. His penalty shootout save ultimately send Croatia through. Lloris and Courtois also made key saves in their respective matches to qualify their teams to the semi-finals.
QUARTER FINALS: ENGLAND BASED PLAYERS DOMINATE SEMI-FINALS.
The 2018 edition of the FIFA world cup semi-finals will be dominated by England players. The England premier league have long been a league with influx of foreign nationals from all nations. But there have not been so many occasions where the closing stages of the world cup had more players plying their trade in England. The last time England based players dominated the semi-finals and finals of the world cup was 1966 when England won.
Fast forward 52 years later and we are in the 2018 edition of the FIFA world cup and the semi-finals as such. Of the 92 players in the squad of the 4 teams left in world cup an astonishing 40 of them ply their trade in England. To put it into perspective that is almost 50 percent of the total players and one fewer than the combined number of La Liga (12), Bundesliga (9), Ligue 1 (12) and Serie A (8). It is safe to say this world cup is a premier league affair because England based players dominates the semi-finals.
QUARTER FINALS: HOST FINALLY EXIT THE WORLD CUP.
Russia the host nation like I said in my previous articles came into this tournament destined to exit the tournament from the Group stages like South Africa did 8 years ago. They were in a Group with Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and had lost almost all of their preparation matches. It is safe to say they were not prepared and had low chances of progressing.
However all those things did not curtail them? Boosted by their home supports they began the tournament in style by trashing Saudi Arabia and Egypt 5 nil and 3-1 respectively. With 6 points in 2 matches they were able to qualify despite losing 3 nil to Uruguay. Their end was supposedly in sight when they were paired with Spain in the round of 16. They again fought very hard to send the match to penalty shootout and won it eventually.
Their next match was against Croatia. They came from behind 2-1 deep in extra time to draw the match and send the match to shootout. Their heroic journey however ended when they lost the subsequent shootouts. Russia have defied expectations all tournament long however their end have finally come, in a bitter and heroic manner as such.
This are the 5 things I have witnessed, observed and learnt. I hope you did too. If you agree with me, comment on it in the comment section. If you disagree with me also, share your opinions and views as well in the comment section. Please share the article with your friends, families and football lovers if you find it fascinating and interesting enough. There are just a few more days to go so enjoy the world cup together with Russia.