Hey everyone, you know what time it is. That’s right, World Cup Wednesday is back again. We’ve had a number of editions of this, everyone’s favourite segment. In fact, I lost count, although I’ve made sure and this is the seventh edition. Wow, isn’t that just amazing? (If you didn’t say yes, then I don’t know why.) This just continues to break records doesn’t
it? Anyway, the World Cup Semi Finals have been completed, and we now move on to the Third Place Play Off, and the coveted World Cup Final. But first, a review of the Semis.
France v Belgium: The Semis were always going to be close, and so was this match. Belgium had played a stellar World Cup, and France were proving to be a tough opponent to beat. Both teams hadn’t lost a single match thus far. In fact, Belgium had actually won all their matches, and this opportunity was everything for them. It was their first World Cup Semi Final in 32 years. But despite their efforts, it wasn’t to be, with France taking the win from a single goal scored by defender Samuel Umtiti in the 51st minute. This puts them through to their first World Cup Final since 2006, 12 years ago. Unfortunately for Belgium, the dream for this year at least, is over. Although they will get a chance to play for third in the Third Place Playoff against England.
Croatia v England: The scene was set for England. The English fans were elated that their team had made it this far at this year’s World Cup. The dream was alive, and they were going to do everything possible to get to their first World Cup Final since 1966, when they won the Cup. The English were so hopeful, and their hopes rose dramatically when Kieran Trippier scored in the 5th minute of the match. The English held the 1-0 lead for the rest of the first half, and them kept it going in the second. But it all started to spiral for them when Croatia’s Ivan Perisic put one in the back of the net in the 68th. The two sides couldn’t be separated for the rest of the match, and so extra time ensued. And whilst the scores were level at the end of the first half of extra time, it all went wrong for England early in the second, when Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 108th. It was just too much for England, who had players that had sustained some injuries, including striker Harry Kane. But after all that happened, England were sent to the Third Place Playoff against Belgium, and Croatia made World Cup History, making their first ever World Cup Final, and will play France in one of the toughest matches they will probably ever play.
Highlight Of The Semi Finals: The highlight of the Semis, although not really what many people wanted to see, particularly the English supporters, was Croatia making the World Cup Final. This is the first time in World Cup History that Croatia has made the Final, and their supporters are quite obviously going crazy about it. They have quite a challenge to face now in France.
Controversy: In the Croatia v England match, the standard of refereeing seemed to fall short of what it should have been for a World Cup Semi Final. Of particular notice was when the ball went out of play but play continued on as the referee did not recognise it as out of play, and in all reality, this should have been picked up by the linesman. This occurred a couple of times in the match, and throw ins should have been given, but were not. The other blatant error in refereeing was when, towards the end of the second half of extra time, England were denied a corner even though the ball clearly came off the head of one of the Croatian players and went out of play. Croatia were given a goal kick by the referee, however, it was a clear corner, and the decision wasn’t even reviewed by the VAR, therefore showing it is, once again, being misused. These errors change games, and you never know if England would have equalised from the corner they were denied. Hopefully the refereeing is up to high quality standards in the World Cup Final.
What To Expect From The Third Place Playoff And The World Cup Final: Well, here we are. The final two matches of this year’s World Cup. It’s been a brilliant one this year, and now we are coming to its end. The Third Place Playoff. The World Cup Final. One match which, realistically, determines who is the bigger loser, and the other which determines who the Champions Of The World are. The Third Place Playoff will be an interesting one, all things considered. Both teams are playing for pride. England will be attempting to edge Belgium for the second time this World Cup, although it was debatable whether or not they were actually trying to win against them in their Group Stage match. Belgium will be looking to at least gain third place in a World Cup that has been almost perfect for them. Both teams are in some ways level, and so it will be quite interesting to see who will come out on top. And then there’s the World Cup Final. It’s going to be crazy. France in a World Cup Final for the first time since 2006. Croatia in their first ever World Cup Final in World Cup History. France are obviously the favourites to win the match, having won the World Cup once before back in 1998 in their own country, winning over Brazil 3-0. Croatia, however, will do everything they can to secure that precious World Cup, and the titles to go with it, and make history for their country with a first ever World Cup victory. Both teams have not lost a single match, Croatia having won every single one of their six matches so far, France having won five and drawn one in their six matches. Both teams have a shot at this Final, and both will be fighting harder than they ever have before to win, and be crowned Champions Of The World. Enjoy the Final!