EMMANUEL DUNAND / Getty Images
Only four countries remain in 201
France and Belgium had already secured their beds in the semifinals with victories on Friday. England and Croatia followed Saturday, where the latter needs punishment to defeat Russia.
VM 2018 Schedule
Tuesday 11 July
France vs. Belgium at 2 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. BST (Fox, ITV)
Wednesday 12 July
Croatia vs. England at 2 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. BST (Fox, BBC)
Saturday 14 July
Third Playoff at 10:00 ET, 3 p.m. BST (Fox, ITV)
Sunday 15 July
World Cup final at 11:00 ET, 4 p.m.
Miguel Delaney @ MiguelDelaney
Really, alchemy from Deschamps is to make a team of This very flamboyant talent, this boring.
After years of imploding at international tournaments, a qualifying qualification for the semifinals can be exactly what France needed.
An earlier version of Les Bleus may have been self-ruined after falling behind 2- 1 to Argentina in the round of 16. Instead, the French made three goals to blow what had been a close game open. They followed up with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay where Fernando Muslera gave a helping hand, but they never looked to be in serious danger.
Of the four teams left in the tournament, France has certainly seen the strongest. They have won four of their five matches, and the outlier was a draw with Denmark where Deschamps planned for the next round.
The winner of this match will be a favorite in the World Cup final.
Croatia vs England
Shaun Botterill / Getty Images
Croatia survived Saturday, but it came to a clear physical cost. Sime Vrsaljko limped off as he left the match after 97 minutes. Danijel Subasic seemed to struggle for bad cramps in his hamstring and Mario Mandzukic had nothing left in mind after playing the whole match.
Both Kroat's knockout scene matches went to punishment. It does not just add an extra hour of play, but nobody says what sort of effect the back- Two back penalty games have been on the players.
Croatia does not play again until Wednesday, but perseverance is likely to be a problem when they take England in the semifinals:
Maximiliano Bretos @ mbretosESPN
] Damage, extra time. England is like .. #WorldCup https://t.co/aJt7kS6zWv
How Davies @ thehuwdavies
England can probably play football and beat this Croatia l I think they are so tired
Irvine Welsh @ Irvine Wales
The Croatian players look like they have already lost it. Thought they would be a tougher test for England at the strength of the rounds but the bottle and stamina look suspicious when the tournament comes to the business end.
The idea of the World Cup coming home to England has become a meme, but the three lions have led a little charmed life in the World Cup in 2018.
They opened the tournament with a injury winner against Tunisia. Their 1-0 defeat to Belgium hit them down to the simplest half of the row. And they finally won a penalty shootout at the World Cup after releasing their first three.
England players have often succumbed to the importance of history. Many players in this England installation have not tasted years of failure with the national team. Certainly there was 2-1 defeat to Iceland at UEFA Euro 2016, but the move to coach Gareth Southgate represented a clean slate.
While losing the World Cup semi-final can never be considered a disappointment, England can never have a better chance of returning to the World Cup final and lifting the trophy for a second time.