RUSSIA’S FAB FINAL FOUR

We’re getting to the end, aren’t we? It’s been a rollercoaster from the start and now we’re left with just four contenders. The FIFA World Cup in Russia has thrown up loads of surprises and there is no telling what this tournament could yet bring. In the last four, you have 2 former World Champions in France and England, with Belgium and Croatia boasting of just quarter-final and semi-final appearances. None of these players know what it’s like to win a World Cup; in fact, the only person who knows about this is the legendary Frenchman, Thierry Henry…and he’s a coach for Belgium!

In France, we have perhaps the most talented squad at this World Cup. They’re also my favourite to win the competition. They’ve been clever enough to rely on Mbappe’s sheer pace to hurt teams on the break; with Argentina and Uruguay being the recent casualties. The midfield balance is one to admire. Deschamps can switch it up anytime: Pogba, Kante, Tollisso can provide the steel alongside the flair from Lemar, and Dembele. The back four was settled long before this tournament started; although I think Pavard sealed his spot with THAT strike against Argentina. But if we’re talking midfield, there’s also Belgium…

De Bruyne is a king of his craft. Take a look at all their games so far; he has been immense for Belgium. With Witsel alongside him (with Fellani on standby), Belgium have taken on everyone in their own way. The formation used is clearly focused on attacking with only 3 defenders being used (Meunier doesn’t count in my opinion). Add their top marksman in Lukaku being supported by Hazard, Carrasso, and Mertens, and you have yourself a killing machine. Everyone is capable of scoring; including defenders…and England will have a few to show about that…

Stones and Maguire are among the goalscorers for England at this year’s World Cup. Both have scored from well-crafted set pieces. For the first time in forever, England have a real weapon for beating teams. I’ve never seen them this innovative since 1998 when they played under Glenn Hoddle. The team certainly has some dynamism in their play; with Southgate somehow managing to fit both Alli and Lingard in the same system. It’s not perfect, but they’re getting results; which something Croatia is really good at.

You don’t thrash Argentina and go through grueling encounters with Denmark and Russia if you don’t know how to get results. It’s another golden generation on show by Croatia. Most of the team is peaking at the same time so this is a great shot at glory. It’s a team of winners; Modric, Kovacic and Mandzukic are winners on a yearly basis while talent is brewing in the likes of Rebic, Kramaric, Lovern, and Perisic. You can’t bet against these guys.

Look, I’m done trying to predict who will win what and how. We have 2 marksmen in Kane and Lukaku to watch out for. We have midfield dynamos in De Bruyne and Modric. We have goalscoring defenders in Varane and Stones. All four teams have top class goalkeepers. It’s too good to miss. This World Cup has been a class act from the get-go, and it’s about to get better.

Later.

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