FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals

The last four: Did you know?

Tuesday, 2018-07-10 13:59:08
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The four best teams in the 2018 World Cup prepare to play off for a place in the finals.
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The 2018 FIFA World Cup is entering its final phases with four European nations remaining in the tournament. Here are several things to know ahead of the semi-finals.

For the fifth time in World Cup history, the semi-finals will be all-European. Each of those times it was hosted in Europe (1934, 1966, 1982, 2006 and 2018).

France are aiming to repeat the glory of 20 years ago.

The last time the four teams qualified for the semi-finals in a World Cup: Belgium in 1986, England in 1990, Croatia in 1998, France in 2006.

Both Belgium and France are the clear favourites to win this year’s World Cup.

This will be the 74th meeting between Belgium and France, with the Red Devils holding an edge with 30 victories to 24 for Les Bleus. However, the French have had the better of their World Cup encounters, winning both meetings (1938 and 1986).

Coach Roberto Martinez (C) celebrates Belgium's opening goal against Brazil in the quarterfinals.

Belgium's Roberto Martinez (from Spain) is the first coach to take another country’s team into the last four since Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari with Portugal in 2006. His opposite number Didier Deschamps will coach his 11th World Cup match when they face Belgium, a new French record.

Belgium’s golden generation are seen by many as the most talented generation Belgium has ever had.

Belgium are the only team to have won all of their matches in Russia so far (five), and they are the top scoring side in the event (14 goals)

Croatia have survived through two consecutive penalty shootouts at FIFA World Cup 2018.

Croatia are the second team, after Argentina in 1990, to have won two penalty shootouts in the same World Cup. And in the Round of 16 against Colombia, England won their first World Cup penalty shootout – after three previous defeats.

England are in their third World Cup semi-final, with all three coming in Europe: on home soil in 1966, at Italy 1990 and Russia 2018. Croatia are on two record runs for them: five World Cup matches without defeat and scoring in nine matches in a row.

England’s Harry Kane is the tournament’s top scorer with six goals. The top scorer for the other semi-finalists are: Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku (four goals), France’s Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe (three) and Luka Modric (two).

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