Hey everyone, welcome to the record sixth edition of World Cup Wednesday, the segment that just keeps on giving. This week, it’s back once again to wrap up the Quarter Finals, and hype up the Semi Finals. There will no doubt be another edition of this beloved segment this week, but for now, let’s get into the Quarters.
Uruguay v France: Uruguay had proven themselves to be resilient, and had played a great World Cup so far. But France were just a cut above them, proving to be the better side on the night, with goals from Raphaël Varane and Antoine Griezmann keeping the hopes of the French alive, whilst Uruguay’s hopes were dashed, eliminating them from the tournament despite their efforts. France now progress to the Semi Finals for the first time in 12 years, where they will take on Belgium.
Brazil v Belgium: The Belgians have just been something else entirely this year, and they showed it once again in this match. Although the Brazilians had a few good chances, they were only able to capitalise on one, with a late goal not being enough to win them the match, after Belgium had two early goals to their name, one being an own goal from Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho. The Belgians took out the Quarter Final 2-1, eliminating Brazil from the tournament whilst progressing to the Semis for the first time since 1986, 32 years ago. They will take on France in their Semi Final.
Sweden v England: Well this was the match a lot of people were waiting for. England playing in a Quarter Final was crazy enough, until they managed to win it. The Swedes were very much dominated by the English side, having to defend more often than attack, and the English didn’t hold back on the attack, putting in two goals, both headers. A corner midway through the first half, and a brilliant play early in the second half after numerous attacks, saw England take out the match 2-0, eliminating the Swedes and putting England through to the Semi Finals for the first time in 28 years, back in 1990. They will certainly be looking to go for glory now, playing for a spot in the coveted World Cup Final against Croatia in their Semi Final.
Russia v Croatia: Well, this was a close one. The host nation opened the scoring in the 31st minute, only for the Croatians to equalise around 8 minutes later. The score remained level at 1-1 for the remainder of the match, neither team being able to find the back of the net in regular time after the initial goals. And so the match went to extra time, with the Croatians scoring late in the first half of the added half hour, putting them 2-1 at the end of the first half of extra time. But it wasn’t enough, with the Russians reciprocating late in the second half of the added time period, levelling the scores once again at 2-2. And so a penalty shootout ensued, the second for both teams at this World Cup. After the Russians missed one and had a second saved, the Croatians had the advantage. And despite missing one themselves, they capitalised on the other four, winning the match in penalties 4-3. Croatia, having eliminated Russia from the tournament, now progress to the Semi Finals for the first time in 20 years, where they will play England for a spot in the Final.
Highlight Of The Round: For the Quarter Finals, I’ll have to go with seeing England progress. They have just been playing so well this year, and there’s no doubt that they’ve got it in them to keep going. They kept attacking tremendously against Sweden, and took out two well earned goals. And the keeper, Jordan Pickford, is brilliant. He’s playing at the top level against some magnificent teams, and deserves to be commended for his performance so far in the World Cup, after making some extraordinary saves.
Historic Semi Finals: You’ll notice that all four of the teams playing in the Semi Finals this year have all been vying for this opportunity for so long. It’s been decades since these teams have played in a Semi. France have waited 12 years, having played their last World Cup Semi Final against Portugal in 2006, where they made it to the Final. Belgium have waited 32 years, their last Semi Final being in the World Cup of 1986, where they lost 2-0 to the eventual Champions Argentina. England haven’t played a World Cup Semi Final since 1990, that one being against West Germany where they lost on a penalty shootout to the eventual World Cup Champions. And Croatia hasn’t played a Semi Final in the World Cup since 1998, that one being against France, where they lost 2-1 to eventual Champions and host nation of the 1998 World Cup, France. So this year’s World Cup Semis will be very interesting indeed, and we could see a historic World Cup Final.
What To Expect From The Semi Finals: This year’s World Cup Semi Finals will be some of the greatest we’ll ever see. Each of the four teams playing in these Semis have waited a long time for this moment, and will no doubt be looking to make the most of the opportunity they’ve each been given. These four teams; France, Belgium, England, and Croatia, are all just one step away from the coveted World Cup Final. They will all be playing the highest quality football they’ve ever played, because this is their big moment, their chance to make the World Cup Final. France will play against Belgium, and England will play Croatia. What is for certain is this, all four teams will play another match after the Semis, no matter what the outcome is. The two winning teams will progress to the World Cup Final, whilst the two that don’t make the cut will play in the third place play-off match the day before the Final. It’s exciting, it’s going to be a spectacular one this year. You do not want to miss this. Enjoy the Semis!