Semi-Finals – World Cup 2018 Russia
Dates: July 10 – July 11
Location of games: St Petersburg and Moscow.
The 2018 World Cup has been one of big shocks. Some of the most fancied teams in the pre-tournament betting have already been sent home including Germany, Spain and Mexico. Those big name absences have opened up the draw considerably, especially in the bottom half.
The top half of the draw does look considerably stronger than the bottom. The semi final from the top half will be Uruguay or France versus Brazil or Belgium. Whichever game we end up getting it promises to be a class given the strength of those four nations. The bottom half of the draw is much more open. One of Russia, Croatia, Sweden or England will make it all the way to the World Cup final which nobody would have believed before the action got underway.
Of those still in with a shot, Brazil have the greatest World Cup pedigree. They’ve won the World Cup five times, Uruguay have won it twice while England and France have one World Cup win each.
The hosts, Russia, will need the massive support they’ll get from the home crowds as they are comfortably the lowest ranked nation to make it to the final eight. They’re 70th in the FIFA rankings while Brazil are second and Belgium, France, England, Uruguay and Croatia are all inside the top 20.
England’s chances of qualifying
You can never take anything for granted with England at the World Cup but the omens do look good for their chances of making it to the semi finals. Before the tournament every England fan went through the potential route to the final four but nobody could have predicted it would just be Colombia and Sweden in their way to the semis.
Having somehow made it through a penalty shootout in the round of 16 against Colombia, England are the odds-on favourites to get past Sweden. Gareth Southgate has done a great job as England manager but he has a big job on his hands now to ensure that he can keep his player’s feet on the ground. The Three Lions’ chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup semi finals are significantly greater if they take each game as it comes.