By: Alice Kim
How we landed to 2018 world cup semi finals which includes; Croatia, France, England, Belgium
They started their trophy search on a good footing on 16th June 2018 against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at Keliningard Stadium where they garnered the maximum three points thanks to Oghenekaro Etobo 32nd own goal and Luka Modric 71st minute penalty.
On 21st June 2018 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium they swatted Lionel Messi’s Argentina side in a very competitive match. There was no goal on the first half of the match but on the 8th minute of second half Ante Rebic netted the first goal of the match opening way for Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic 80th and 90+1 minutes goals respectively which ensured the Croatia side garnered maximum points possible in a football match.
They ended their group D campaign on 28th June at Rostov Arena against Iceland where they won 2-1 thanks to Milan Badelj and Ivan Perisic 53rd and 90th minute’s goals respectively. Iceland’s consolation goal was scored by Gylfi Sigurosson on 76th minute through a penalty kick. They qualified to knock out stage with maximum 9 points.
At Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on 1st July 2018 they faced Denmark in a knockout match and after 120 minutes play they settled to a 1-1 draw thanks to Mario Mandzukic 4th minute equalizer after Denmark’s Mathias Jorgensen 1st minutes goal. Croatia won 3-2 through penalty shootout booking a place to the World cup quarter-finals since 1998 at France.
At Fisht stadium on 7th July 2018, Croatia played against hosts Russia in a very competitive match where they managed to remove them from competition. Russia’s Denis Cheryshev scored first on 31st minute of the game, 8 minutes later Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric on 39th minutes equaled after he scored. After 90 minutes of play they settled at this draw forcing them game to extra 30 minutes. After 10 minutes of play in the added time Croatia’s Damagoj Vida scored giving the visit the lead only for Russia’s Mario Figueira Fernandes to equalize 5 minutes later and the match ended 2-2 draw pushing them to penalty shootout and Croatia carried the day with 4-3.
The semi-final between Croatia and England will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. The 80,000-capacity venue will also host the final.
So far Croatia have scored 15 goals and conceded 9.
France ‘’Les Blues’’ opened their campaign at the Kazan Arena on 16th June against Australia with a 2-1 win, Antoine Griezmann 58th minute penalty and Aziz Behich own goal give France the much needed 3 points and Australia’s Mile Jedinak scored from the spot on the 62nd minute.
Les Blues second group match was against Peru at the Ekaterinburg Arena on 21st June 2018 and 19 years old Kylian Mbappe 34th minute goal was the only goal of the match.
They played their final group stage match against Denmark at Luzhniki Stadium on 26th June to a barren draw qualifying to knockout stage with 7 points to face Argentina.
At the Kazan Arena on 30th June they faced Lionel Messi’s Argentina’s side in a very entertaining and competitive match which 19 years old Kylian Mbappe was crowned the man of the match after being found in the box on 12th minutes where penalty was given which was scored by Antoine Griezmann, Benjamin Pavard scored on 57th minute and later on 64th and 68th minutes Mbappe scored twice making it 4 goals. On the other hand Angel Di Maria, Gabriel Mercado and substitute Sergio Aguero scored at the 41st, 48th 90+3 and minutes respectively. It is worth noting that France is unbeaten in their last nine world cup meetings with South American nations, since losing 1-2 against Argentina in the 1978 tournament.
At Nizhny Nogorod Stadium on 6th July at 14:00 GMT they faced Uruguay a game which Edinson Cavani missed because of injury. ‘’Les Blues’’ Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann scored on 40 th and 61st minutes respectively sending Uruguay home and proceeding to Semis where they will face RomeLU Lukaku’s Belgium side on 10th July at the Saint Petersburg Stadium, a game which is expected to be very competitive.
So far France have scored 9 goals and conceded 4 goals.
They were in group G and they started their world cup campaign against African side Tunisia on 18th June 2018 at Volgograd Arena, a game which they won 2-1. England captain and Tottenham hotspurs forward Harry Kane scored on 11th and 90+1 minutes while Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi scored from the spot on 35th minute.
Second game was against Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium where they swatted them 6-1. John Stones opened scoring on 8th minute he double his score on 40th minute; Captain Harry Kane scored hat trick from the spot twice on 22nd and 45+1 minutes and on play goal on 62nd minute. Manchester United player Jesse Lingard also scored on 36th minute. Felipe Baloy scored Panama’s consolation goal on 78th minute.
England’s final group stage match was against Belgium at Kaliningrad Stadium on 28th June 2018, a thrilling match it was where Belgium took the day thanks to sole goal of the match by Adan Januzaj on 51st minute. They were number two in group G with 6 points booking a place to knock out stage.
England faced South America side Colombia in round of 16 knockout match on 3rd July 2018 at Spartak Stadium Moscow, a game which ended at 1-1 draw after 120 minutes of play. England captain Harry Kane scored from the spot on 57th minute and on 90+3 minute, Colombia’s Yerry Minna equalized pushing the game to another thirty minutes. England won 4-3 after penalty shootout.
England has qualified for a quarter-final of a world cup for the first time since 2006 in Germany.
At Samara Arena on 7th July 2018 England Played Sweden where they won 2-0 thanks to Harry Miguire and Dele Alli who scored on 35th and 58th minutes of the game respectively. England’s first appearance at a world Cup semi-finals last since 1990 and they will play Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. The 80,000-capacity venue will also host the final.
So far they have scored 15 goals and conceded goals and their captain Harry Kane is the top scorer so far with 6 goals.
Belgium were in group G and they opened their world cup campaign at Fisht Stadium on 18th June 2016 against Panama where they swatted them 3-0 thanks to Dries Mertenes 47th minute goal and Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku 69th and 75th goals.
Second group stage match was at Spartak Stadium on 23rd July 2018 against North Africa side Tunisia, a game which ended 5-2 in favour of Belgium. Manchester City Eden Hazard scored twice on 6th and 51st minute, Romelu Lukaku also scored twice on 16th and 45+3 minutes and Michy Batshuayi 90th minute goal made them five. Tunisia’s Dylan Bronn scored on 18th minute and Wahbi Kahzari 90+3 goals to make them 2.
Belgium’s final group stage match was against England at Kaliningrad Stadium on 28th June 2018; a thrilling match it was where took the day thanks to sole goal of the match by Adan Januzaj on 51st minute. They emerged top of group G with 9 points booking a place to knock out stage.
At Rostov Arena on 2nd July 2018 they faced Japan in a thrilling game which they came from behind to win 3-2. Japan’s Genki Haraguchi opened scoring 3 minutes after halftime break and Takashi Inui doubled the score on 52nd minute. On 69th minute Belgium’s Jan Vetronghen scored their first goal, Manchester United Marouane Fellaini came in as substitute and headed in 2nd goal on 74th minute; the match ended dramatically where Romelu Lukaku had the vision to leave the ball and allow Nacer Chadli to score the winning goal for Belgium in the last few seconds of the game!
At Kazan Arena on 6th July they faced 5 times world cup winners Brazil in a very thrilling match where they eliminated them from the tournament. They won 2-1 thanks to Fernandinho own goal on 13th and Kelvin De Bruyne 31st minutes goal. Brazil’s consolation was scored by Renato Augusto on 76th minute.
Belgium have reached the world cup semi finals for only the second time, where they lost to Argentina in 1986 who eventual won the trophy.
They will face France on 10th July at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
They have scored 14 goals and conceded 5 goals. Romelu Lukaku has scored 4 goals.