Sunday, 22 July, 2018


Russian Federation 2018: Semi-final combatants set for showdown

England players celebrate scoring a goal. Image PA England players celebrate scoring a goal. Image PA
Noah Ferguson | 10 July, 2018, 18:33

They were terrific in getting a two-goal lead against Brazil and then put in a mature second half display to hold off the fightback from their South American opponents.

While Les Bleus of France are hoping to repeat their success in 1998, their next door neighbour, Le Diable Rouge (The Red Devils) of Belgium will play in their first semi-final in 32 years.

"I remember people saying he's going to be a one-hit wonder and he's just completely proven them wrong and blown it out the water".

Denis Cheryshev's spectacular goal in Russia's 2-2 draw against Croatia was the only opening goal in the quarters not to come from a set play, although Croatia's Domagoj Vida later struck from a corner in extra time, and Mário Fernandes headed in a free kick to force a shootout in which Croatia triumphed.

"All the England players have got to do is watch each other's back", he told Sky Sports News.

The last match between the two teams took place in 2015 with Belgium running out 4-3 winners with two Marouane Fellaini goals in an exciting friendly in Paris.

On his part, Coach Roberto Martinez will seek to use the "Golden Generation" of Belgium talents under his tutelage to grab one of the final slot for the grand finale at the Luzhniki in Moscow.

The Three Lions booked their spot in the semi-finals of the competition with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday in Samara.

The 26-year-old was born just a few months after England's last appearance in a World Cup semi-final at Italia '90, along with another 16 members of the current squad who also weren't born as Sir Bobby Robson's Three Lions lost to West Germany on penalties.

This will be a much harder match for England than their previous games, with Croatia's dynamic midfield as well at the back.

"The results of the two semi-final matches will of course depend on the four teams' performances and strategies", said an unnamed organiser of the event. They should beat Croatia.

England's forward Raheem Sterling gestures during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018.

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