FIFA World Cup 2018: France, Belgium, England, Croatia - who will lift the title?

Jul 10, 2018, 10:34 IST | Dhaval Mehta

As we inch closer towards the finale, only four teams have left and who will lift the FIFA World Cup 2018 trophy? Let's dig a deep and find out

FIFA World Cup 2018: France, Belgium, England, Croatia - who will lift the title?
From clockwise: Romelu Lukaku, Luka Modric, Harry Kane and Antoine Griezmann. All Pics/AFP

FIFA World Cup 2018 is reaching its business end of the tournament and after 60 matches; we have got our four semi-finalists. This tournament by all consensus has been the most entertaining, pulsating and most open competition in recent years. Who would have thought that teams like Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain would struggle to make it to last four and this shows the close nature of this World Cup.

In the semi-finals, France will face Belgium and England will take on Croatia. Let’s have a look at these four teams, who have made it to the semi-finals.

1. France:

France football team

1998 champions France have remained unbeaten through the tournament and have been clinical, to say the least. France, after a couple of disappointing World Cups, has brought their ‘A’ game in the tournament and has played superlative football. France’s charge has been led by 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe and other senior players have also played really well.

France during the FIFA World Cup 2018 have played fearless kind of football and after a long time, at least from the outside, it looks like that French team is enjoying each others success and playing cohesively. The highlight of the tournament has to be the win over Argentina (4-3) in the round of 16 and the demolition of Uruguay in the quarter-finals. If France has two good matches then the World Cup will be theirs and going by the current form, few would bet against France becoming the world champions for the second time.

2. England:

England football team
England football team

England’s journey in this tournament has been nothing short of a fairytale as the team led by Harry Kane was written off before the tournament and expectations were very low. When there is not much pressure and expectations, you tend to relax and also want to prove a point to your detractors. The team has only suffered a loss against Belgium (while they were already through to the next round). Harry Kane might not be highly regarded as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi or Neymar, but the Tottenham striker has led from the front and is currently the highest goal-scorer (six goals) and is leading the Golden Boot category.

The only drawback for 1966 FIFA World Cup champions England is that they haven’t faced a tough opposition (no offence to Tunisia, Panama, Colombia, Sweden) and if things turn tight then they will have to play out of their skins. The quarter-final win against Sweden showed that they are not reliant on Harry Kane and that is a sign of a good team. Just like France, England has played as a unit and coach Gareth Southgate’s strategy of staying in the background and let players do the running has paid off.

3. Belgium:

Belgium football team
Belgium football team

The third semi-finalists Belgium also had a dream run at the tournament and will square off against France in the semi-finals. Belgium has remained unbeaten so far in the tournament and created a big upset when they knocked out Brazil (2-1) in the quarter-finals. Belgium has played like a unit and big guns such as Romelu Lukaku (4 goals), Eden Hazard (2 goals) have fired and the consistency which Belgium has shown have kept them in good stead.

Now, Belgium will face France and if Belgium has to get better of the French then they will have to play the same kind of football that they have played through the event and stay true to themselves. Belgium has always punched above their weight in global tournaments and winning the World Cup would be a just reward.

4. Croatia:

Croatia football team
Croatia football team

Last, but not the least we have another underdog in Croatia. Not many people before the start of the tournament would have believed that Croatia would reach semi-finals. But, a country with a population of 41.7 lakhs has turned the tables on its head and has remained unbeaten through the tournament (two wins via penalty shootout). The match against hosts Russia in the quarter-final went down to the wire and the gritty Croatians showed steels of nerves and pulled a brilliant win.

Croatia’s main man has been Luka Modric (two goals) and overall there has been a nice atmosphere within the team. The match which defined them in the FIFA World Cup 2018 has to be against much-fancied Argentina (3-0) and after that win, Croatia has been unstoppable.

Croatia has more than over achieved and out of four semi-finalists, they look the least favourite. If Croatia can stop an in-form England then we could see a new champion being crowned if they win the summit clash.

Also Read - FIFA World Cup 2018: France Beats Uruguay To Reach Semi-Finals

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