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World Cup 2018: What's at stake for France, Belgium, England, Croatia chasing World Cup trophy in Russia



We have reached the World Championship Semifinal, and there is a lot on the line for all four remaining teams. Belgium, Croatia, England and France are all two victories away from an exciting World Cup title. They are two victories away from etching their names in history's books of the world's most popular sporting events.

So there's a lot going on next week in Russia.

Yet, while we all know what each team is playing on the surface, each national team has its own separate story and motivation. Let's take a look at what's at stake for each squad before Tuesday and Wednesday matches.

Belgium: Time for Gold Generation to Deliver

The Red Devils Do not Have the Most Famous World Cup History. Their best goals since the event began in 1

930 came in Mexico in 1986. Belgium reached the semifinal for the first time in its history that year. It was actually the first time Belgium had advanced advanced to the group stage. In the 16th round, it came across the Soviet Union with a 4-3 victory, and in the quarterfinals it squeaked Spain by penalty shootout.

It was then that the red devils ran into Diego Maradona and Argentina in semis and lost 2-0. They would meet France in third place and lose 4-2. So, in some way, Belgium can get revenge on France for the third match, but that's not what will be in Belgium.

While the country may not have any success on the international stage (it also has a third place in the 1972 Euro and was runner in 1980), in recent years, the expectations have increased thanks to Belgium's talent level. The team has players like Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen and so on. Top player of the best clubs in Europe's best leagues, but it has not succeeded in making this talent a success. It did not qualify for Euro 2012, went into the quarter 2014 and then in the Euro 2016 quarter.

This is Belgium's chance to take advantage of all the talent it has, otherwise this gold Belgium's football age can be seen back in disappointment.

Croatia: The Only Cinderella Remaining

If there is a team left that fits the "play house money" story, it is Croatia. Everything is at stake, but these croats have nothing to lose. They are the only remaining Cinderella in a World Cup already having a few candidates.

Croatia's international success is largely non-existent (remember, Croatia was not a country eligible for the World Cup until 1994). By reaching the six months this year, it has already matched its biggest achievement on the global level. Croatia reached semis in France in 1998. It was a situation that was not quite different in the World Cup in 2018. Croatia was in a group with Argentina, Jamaica and Japan. This year, the Croatians were in a group with Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria. The difference is that they ended others to advance 1998 and won their group this year.

They then went to the 16th and beat Romania 1-0 and shocked the world by beat Germany 3-0 in the quarter. After losing to host and possibly champion France in semis, Croatia beat the Netherlands 2-1 to take home third place.

It has not passed the group phase since this year. It did not even qualify for 2010.

Euro's life has not been very different, as Croatia reached the quarterfinals in 1996 and 2008, but it is the longest it has ever passed.

So while every remaining troop feels a bit of pressure, Croatia has the least weight on its shoulders. Everything from this point on is mostly sauce.

England: Lovable losers no more

There have been eight countries to win a World Cup and England is one of the two left in this tournament. The problem is that the country claiming that they invented the sport we know today have not had a lot of international success since the 1966 World Cup title!

England finished third in both Euro 1968 and 1996. It reached the World Cup in 1990, where it lost Western Germany into punishment (a well-known theme for England in tournaments like this) and it has been nothing but the heart and disappointment since.

England did not even qualify for the 1994 World Cup here in the United States, and it had not advanced past the quarterfinals since 2006 until the summer.

What Gareth Southgate team has done in Russia has won its first knockout competition since 2006, winning a penalty for the first time in its famous world cup history. So some of the biggest dragons in England have already been killed, so in one sentence, this is already a successful World Cup for England. But even if this is the case, England is now in an unknown position.

It's not just in semis, but it's considered a heavy favorite to reach the finals and is one of the two favorites together with France to win the whole thing. So suddenly, the lions have gone from football version of loving losers to a team that may feel disappointed if it does not win everything.

By the end of the day, England will still be home to what is likely to be the best league in the world, where many of the world's top players craft their crafts, but it will still ring a little hollow without another World Cup title.

France: A seat at the table with the world's elite

Like England, France is one of only eight countries to win a World Cup. Like England, France has only won once. Unlike England, France has won the euro. In fact, it is done twice (1984, 2000). Also in contrast to England, France has been close to victory in the World Cup on a few occasions to just fall completely under the second title.

The fact is that the three nations with a World Cup title (Spain is the third) can argue that France has always seemed like a country that should have won more. It should be the third European nation with several world cups who joined Germany and Italy, but it has not done so yet.

In 2006, France fell outside its second world cup, resulting in Italy's fourth as the Italians hit French in punishment. One of the worst ways to lose any match, even less a world cup final.

Overall, the semifinals have been rough in the French. Of course they came across them both 1998 when they won everything and 2006 when they lost to Italy. But 1958 lost French to Brazil 5-2. France then returned to semis in 1982 when it disappeared to West Germany on punishment. It would make it back to semis again in 1986, where it would again lose to western Germany, this time 2-0.

Notice a theme for these defeats?

Brazil, the winner of the five world cup, struck out in 1958. West Germany, a winner of the four world cup, struck it out in 1982 and 1986. In 2006, it was four-time champion Italy who defeated France in the final.

Yes, there are no Brazil, Germany or Italy left on France's road this year. It's a favorite to win everything at this point, and this is France's chance to legitimize what many have known about it for so long.

If it wants to strengthen its position as a global power in sport, it may be the best chance it must be for so long.


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