The semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA world cup ended two days ago. The 3rd place match will be played tomorrow and the final a day later. Belgium and England will reunite to contest the 3rd place after their last meeting in the group stages. In the Luzhniki Stadium at 7pm UK time, the final of the 2018 FIFA world cup will be played between France and Croatia. However before the two matches take place, I will discuss in this article 6 things that happened in the semi-finals of the 2018 world cup. Continue reading to find out if you also noticed or figured that out.
SEMI-FINALS: CROATIA MAKE FINALS FOR THE 1ST TIME
One thing we learned from the semi-finals is that Croatia will partake in the finals for the 1st time in their history. The European nation haven’t been to the finals of the world cup before. Their all-time best at the world cup before this year’s edition was the semi-final stage they reached in the 1998 France edition.
Just making the finals is already history for Croatia. Should they send the trophy home that will be an even bigger history or record? Their golden generation consisting of Modric, Rakitic, Perisic and Mandzukic are finally making their nation proud. They have been a joy to watch in this year’s world cup especially their star man and captain Luka Modric.
SEMI-FINALS: SET PIECES ARE THE WAY TO SCORE
The 2018 world cup have seen a lot of goals scored from set pieces and the semi-finals isn’t an exception. There have been 161 goals scored so far in the 2018 FIFA world cup in Russia. Set pieces have accounted for over 40 percent of those goals setting a new record. The situation wasn’t any different after the semi-finals ended.
3 of the 4 goals scored in the semi-finals came from set pieces. This astonishing statistics shows that set piece is a potent way and the easier way to score a goal at this year’s world cup. England are the most potent of all the teams in Russia in that regard. Over 80 percent of their goals have been scored through set pieces. This art or way of scoring goals is on full scale in this year’s world cup.
SEMI-FINALS: 2ND MEETING BETWEEN BELGIUM AND ENGLAND
The 2018 FIFA world cup 3rd place will be contested between Belgium and England tomorrow at 7pm UK TIME. The match will be their 2nd meeting at this year’s world cup. They met for the 1st time in the group stages of the world. It was a group G encounter to be specific. The match ended 1 nil in favor of Belgium.
The two teams used their 2nd eleven or reserve for that particular match having already qualified for the next round of the tournament. This match should be different, a chance for us to see the two teams use their 1st team. A chance for Belgium to show the 1st win was not a fluke and England to exact revenge.
SEMI-FINALS: MODRIC PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT
Although the 2018 FIFA world cup isn’t over yet, I think Luka Modric of Croatia have already done enough to go home as the best player of the tournament. In a tournament that have seen the big guns exit very early and smaller teams showing up to the party, there haven’t been too many star performers. However Luka Modric of Croatia have been more visible in Russia than the rest of the pile.
The closest competitor to him in my opinion is Kylian Mbappe of France. But even he hasn’t imposed his authority on the France team like Modric has on the Croatian team. Every good thing Croatia have done in this world cup have been through Modric. It is epitomized or summarized in his 2 goals and 1 assist for Croatia.
SEMI-FINALS: KYLIAN MBAPPE IS A JOY TO WATCH
Another thing we learned from the semi-finals is that Kylian is an absolute joy and delight to watch. The teenager has taken the world cup by storm with his directness, electric pace and skills. He almost attract a foul whenever he has the ball. He could have had an assist in the semi-finals if not for Giroud’s sloppiness. It wouldn’t be a total surprise should he win the golden ball award. He makes the France team ticks.
SEMI-FINALS: REPEAT OF FRANCE 98 SEMI-FINALS
The outcome of the semi-finals set up a grand finale between France and Croatia. The match will be a repeat of the 1998 FIFA world cup semi-finals between France and Croatia. That match which took place at the Stade de France ended 2-1 in favor of France ultimately ending the hopes of Croatia. France went ahead and won that year’s world cup.
Sunday’s match is a repeat but only better because they meet in the finals. Croatia will be hoping to exact their revenge on France having waited 20 years to meet in the world cup. France on the other hand will want to inflict a bigger misery on Croatia by grabbing the title from their hands. Whatever happens we are bound to see old wounds awaken and new wounds inflicted.
This are the 6 things I have witnessed, observed and learnt from the semi-finals. 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 in the comment section. Please share the article with your friends, families and football lovers if you found it fascinating and interesting enough. The finals is just a couple of days away. Savor the waiting.