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World Cup 2018: It's about France, Belgium, England, Croatia, chasing the World Cup Trophy in Russia



We have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup and there is a lot at stake for all four remaining teams. Belgium, Croatia, England and France are all two victories away from an elusive world title. They are two victories from the etching of their names in the history books of the most popular sporting event in the world.

So much is at stake next week in Russia.

Although we all know what every team plays on the surface, every national team has its own story and motivation. Let's take a look at what's on the cards for each squad before the games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Belgium: Delivering Time for the Golden Generation

The Red Devils do not have the most celebrated World Cup history. Their best result since the start in 1

930 came in 1986 in Mexico. Belgium reached the semi-finals for the first time in its history this year. In fact, for the first time ever, the Belgians had passed the group stage. In the round of the last 16 it came with a 4: 3 victory over the Soviet Union and in the quarterfinals it was Spain with penalties.

At that time, the Red Devils scored Diego Maradona and Argentina in the semi-finals and lost 2-0. In the match for third place, they face France and lose 4-2. In a sense, Belgium can rank third for this match to avenge France, but that will not please Belgium.

Even though the country is not particularly successful on the international stage (it has also finished third in the Euros of 1972 and became runner-up in 1980), expectations have risen in recent years thanks to Belgium's talent level. The team consists of players like Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen and so on. Top players in the top clubs in Europe's best leagues, but it has not been able to turn this talent into success. It has not qualified for the European Championship in 2012, has retired in the World Cup areas in 2014 and then in the European Championships.

This is Belgium's chance to profit from all the talent it has The age of Belgian football can be considered disappointed.

Croatia: The only leftover Cinderella

If there is a team that fits the game "on house money", then it is Croatia. Everything is at stake, but these Croats have nothing to lose. They are the only remaining Cinderella in a World Cup that already had some candidates.

Croatia's international success is largely non-existent (remember, Croatia was not a country eligible for the World Cup until 1994). By reaching the semis this year, it has already achieved its greatest performance on the global stage. Croatia reached the 1998 semifinals in France. It was a situation that was not unlike the 2018 World Cup. Croatia was in a group with Argentina, Jamaica and Japan. This year, the Croats were in a group with Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria. The difference is that they took second place in 1998 and won their group this year.

They then went to the Round of 16 and defeated Romania 1-0 and shocked the world with a 3-0 win against Germany. After Croatia lost in the semi-final against hosts and later champion France, the Netherlands beat them 2-1 and secured third place.

It has not gone beyond the group stage since this year. It was not even qualified in 2010.

Life in the Euros was not much different as Croatia reached the quarter-finals in 1996 and 2008, but this is the longest so far.

So while every remaining squad feels pressure, Croatia has the least weight on its shoulders. Everything from this point on is mostly gravy.

England: Likely losers no longer

Eight countries have won a World Cup, and England is one of the two left in this tournament. The problem is that the country claiming to have invented the sport as we know it today has not had much international success since the world championship title of 1966!

England became European champion in both 1968 and 1996. In 1990 he reached the World Cup semi-final, where he lost on penalties against West Germany (a well-known topic for England in tournaments like this), and since then it's been nothing but heartbreak and disappointment.

England did not even qualify for the 1994 World Cup here in the United States, and since 2006 it has not pulled out of the quarter-finals until the summer of this year.

What Gareth Southgate's team did in Russia is their first knockout game since 2006, and a penalty shootout for the first time in their illustrious World Cup history. So some of the greatest dragons on England's path have already been defeated, so this is in some ways already a successful World Cup for England. But even if that's the case, England is now in an unfamiliar position.

It's not only in the semifinals, but it's considered a big favorite to reach the finals and is one of two favorites along with France to win the game. So the Lions have suddenly become from the football version of Lovable Losers to a team that may feel a bit disappointed if it does not win everything.

At the end of the day, England will still be home to what is probably the best league in the world, where many of the world's best players will play their skills, but without another world it will still sound a bit hollow Cup title

France: World elite sitting at the table

Like England, France is one of only eight countries to win a World Cup. Like England, France has won only once. Unlike England, France has won the Euros. In fact, it's done twice (1984, 2000). In contrast to England, France were on some occasions close to the World Cup victory, just to be close to the second title.

In fact, one of the three nations with a world title (Spain is third) could claim that France has always been the country that should have won more. It should be the third European nation with several World Cups joining Germany and Italy, but that has not happened yet.

In 2006, France fell just short of its second World Cup, which made Italy Italy's fourth, as the Italians defeated the French on penalties. One of the worst ways to lose any game, let alone a World Cup final.

Overall, the semi-final was tough for the French. Obviously in 1998 they lost both the World Cup and Italy. But in 1958 the French lost 5-2 to Brazil. France returned to the semi-finals in 1982 when they lost to penalties against West Germany. It would return to the semi-finals in 1986, where it would be lost again against West Germany, this time with 2-0.

Do you notice a topic on these defeats?

Brazil, the winner of five World Cups, suspended it in 1958. West Germany, a winner of four World Cups, threw it out in both 1982 and 1986. In 2006 it was the four-time winner Italy defeating France in the final.

Well, Brazil, Germany or Italy will stay in France this year. It's the favorite to win anything at this point, and that's France's chance to legitimize what many have felt for so long.

If it wants to consolidate its position as a global force in sport, this might be the best chance to do so for a long time.


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