With the World Cup now all but done and dusted and in the history books, time to take a look at how things are standing in this year’s Golden Boot race. The Golden Boot is, of course, awarded to the player who has scored the most goals in the tournament proper, and has historically been won by some legendary players in football. Brazilian Ronaldo won it in 2002, for example, while the last English player to do so was Gary Lineker in 1986. This time around another Englishman is in the running – and no prizes for guessing which one! Harry Kane had a wonderful start to the campaign, and has netted six goals on England’s path to the semi-finals where they would eventually bow out to a superior Croatia side.
France have booked their place in the first World Cup final in 12 years at this summer’s tournament. They overcame a talented Belgium side 1-0 to move to within 90 minutes of regaining the status of world champions. In Sunday’s Final they will come up against the winner of the other semi-final, contested between England and Croatia, and whichever side gets through to the biggest match in world football the French will go in as favourites – but needing star striker Antoine Griezmann to be on top form. Griezmann’s World Cup campaign so far has of course been decent – he has bagged three goals for himself while partnering arguably one of the stars of the show, Kylian Mbappe, through the youngster’s first senior international tournament.
As you will probably already know, Juventus have confirmed one of their biggest transfer deals since the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Pavel Nedved signed for the Turin club back in 2001. They confirmed that Real Madrid’s Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo would be wearing the black and white stripes of the Old Lady next season, signing a four-year contract for a fee of around €105M. The deal ends his nine-year stay at the Bernabeu, where he moved from Manchester United in 2009 for a then-world record transfer fee of €94M. His time at Real was laden with glory, though he surprisingly only managed two La Liga titles. 15 trophies were won in total though, including four Champions League crowns, and now he turns the page on a new chapter in his career.
When thinking about everything that has taken place during the Russian World Cup, one simply has to step back and give a round of applause to Belgium. Having been fancied ahead of the tournament kickoff, they secured their qualification from the group stages after just two games, before beating England – who had also qualified – to get into the knockout stages as group winners. While that all sounds great, things could have been more comfortable as that result meant that they entered the knockouts in the half bracket which included a host of former world champions such as Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and France. Somehow, Roberto Martinez’s side have brushed off the pressure and breezed through to the semi-final, matching their best-ever finish at a World Cup.
As France prepare for their World Cup semi-final clash with Belgium on Tuesday evening, all eyes will be on Saint Petersburg as they battle it out for a place in the 2018 World Cup Final. While Belgium will of course be no pushovers the French are likely to be slight favourites going into the game. Both teams have claimed major scalps in this tournament, with France having eliminated Uruguay and Belgium overcame Brazil to get to this stage. The Belgian national team are enjoying a golden age, however, with several world class players among their ranks. Interestingly enough, the last time Belgium got this far in a World Cup tournament was in Mexico in 1986. They lost 2-0 to Argentina in the semi-final – before losing the third place playoff to France.
With the World Cup now having whittled itself down to its final four teams, it is now time to take a look at which midfielders have impressed the most over the past few days. This was a close-run thing this time, as the players played their hearts out in order to help the nation book a place in the World Cup semi-finals. Belgium were arguably the most impressive side in the last eight, overcoming tournament favourites Brazil. Their 2-0 win means they now face a date with destiny against neighbours France in the semi-final this week, with the French having also advanced past South American opposition when they disposed of Uruguay. With both sides now just two wins away from becoming world champions, much is at stake.
The semi-finals are almost here so Nicholas Carroll and Chloe Beresford are back to pick their best fantasy team of 11 from the four remaining teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Five-times World Cup champions Brazil bowed out of the World Cup last week after a mediocre campaign was finally brought to an end by Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side in Kazan.
In a crunch match in which Brazil would have to show their mettle and championship-winning credentials if they were to continue into the latter stages of the competition, the side found themselves behind early on when Nacer Chadli’s corner struck Fernandinho’s arm, beating an unsuspecting Alisson.
Brazil had conceded just one goal in their past four games in Russia and their opponents took advantage of the malaise that followed the surprise goal – creating a Continue reading
France have become the first team to advance to the World Cup semi-finals after overcoming the threat of South Americans Uruguay in Nizhny Novgorod. The stage was set for one of the bigger quarter-final games – the only one to feature two previous winners of the tournament – and Didier Deschamps’ men ultimately emerged comfortable victors. The result set up a semi-final tie against the winners of the other quarter-final being played on Friday, contested between Brazil and Belgium. This will be France’s first semi-final appearance since 2006 and has denied Uruguay the chance of their first tie in the final four since finishing fourth in 2010.
Belgium secured their place in the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a dramatic finale to their last 16 clash with Japan.
Japan took a shock 2-0 second half lead over Roberto Martinez’s star studded side, and threatened to cause the biggest upset of the competition so far.
Even the hosts win over Spain in the round of last 16 required a penalty shoot out, this was pure football from Japan.
However it was not to be, as Belgium’s quality and big game experience hauled them back into – with an injury time winner from West Brom’s Nacer Chadli breaking Japanese – and neutral – hearts.