World Cup Bracket 2018: Semi-Finals Matchups After Quarter-Final Results | Bleacher Report

World Cup Bracket 2018: Semi-Finals Matchups After Quarter-Final Results | Bleacher Report

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World Cup Bracket 2018: Semi-Finals Matchups After Quarter-Final Results | Bleacher Report | Newest Information, Movies and Highlights

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James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

Croatia's forward Andrej Kramaric (L) attempts a shot during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Russia and Croatia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Photographs

England and Croatia booked their locations within the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after successful their respective quarter-final ties on Saturday.

The day started with the Three Lions seeing off Sweden by a 2-Zero scoreline in Samara. Harry Maguire and Dele Alli discovered the online as England powered previous a well-organised workforce, however one missing in sufficient firepower up high regardless of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford placing in a effective show.

England realized their last-four opponents when Croatia beat hosts Russia Four-Three on penalties on the Fisht Stadium in Sochi later within the day to finish the bracket:

Ivan Rakitic scored the winner in the shootout after Denis Cheryshev, Andrej Kramaric, Domagoj Vida and Mario Fernandes found the net in a 2-2 draw after extra time.

Of the two matchups, Belgium against France on Tuesday looks the more enticing, yet England’s meeting with Croatia has a few intriguing layers, including the battle between midfield playmakers Alli and Luka Modric.

     

Croatia vs. England: Wednesday, July 11

The good news for the Three Lions is their chief source of creativity is back on form ahead of the business end of the tournament. Alli scored a minute before the hour mark to erase the memory of an erratic first half, during which he struggled to find his radar in possession.

In the process, Alli also took a prominent place in the record books for his country:

The goal buoyed Alli’s confidence, with the 22-year-old showcasing some deft touches and keen vision between the lines. One of Alli’s favourite targets was Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, whose pace and movement gave Sweden a host of problems:

This combination can carry England into the final, provided those around Alli and Sterling find a way to control Modric. The 32-year-old ran the show against Russia, even though he couldn’t help the Blazers muster their usual fluency.

Modric was still heavily involved in all the good things his nation did going forward:

Keeping a pass-master this astute under wraps won’t be easy, but England do have some midfielders with destructive tendencies. Specifically, skipper Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Ruben Loftus-Cheek can win any physical battle with Modric.

It will also be important for Alli or Jesse Lingard to shadow Modric when he’s on the ball.

     

France vs. Belgium: Tuesday, July 10

Two teams full of goals will meet when France take on Belgium in St. Petersburg, with both sides playing an entertaining brand of football.

Pace and versatility along the forward lines define both squads. For France, the combination of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe offers the speed and movement to move Belgium’s experienced defenders out of their comfort zones.

In particular, Mbappe’s long stride and comfort playing out wide or through the middle can wreck the back three Belgium coach Roberto Martinez favours. Martinez is able to call on Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, as well as Tottenham Hotspur duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

They will need to take turns tracking the runs of Griezmann. His goal in the 2-0 quarter-final win against Uruguay capped a typically busy and intelligent performance:

Belgium can counter with a host of talented attackers of their own, including Romelu Lukaku, who has 4 objectives to his credit score in Russia. The query is the place will Lukaku play after Martinez moved him round for the superb 2-1 win over Brazil within the final eight?

Writing for The Unbiased, Zonal Marking’s Michael Cox detailed how Martinez used Lukaku in a approach he as soon as did when the pair had been at Everton:

“Having beforehand used a Three-Four-Three formation all through this match, right here he switched to a Four-Three-1-2, or arguably a Four-Three-Three with a false 9, and used Romelu Lukaku as a right-sided ahead, a place he’d sometimes performed beneath Martinez at Everton with nice success. Eden Hazard was subsequently enjoying the a part of Kevin Mirallas, which roughly works based mostly upon nationality alone, and left Kevin De Bruyne because the Steven Naismith determine, a much less apparent comparability.”

Lukaku's role will be key against France.

Lukaku’s position will likely be key towards France.Ian MacNicol/Getty Photographs

Having Lukaku and Eden Hazard function out huge, whereas enjoying with out a pure centre-forward, pulled Brazil’s defence off form. The same ploy might do the identical towards a France aspect additionally favouring a again 4.

Whichever ahead line fires first will seemingly determine this semi-final. Each groups have ample match-winners up high, however the huge names must ship when it counts.

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