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07/07/2018 6:05 am UTC

Samba Stops, All-European Semi-finals in Russia

Samba Stops, All-European Semi-finals in Russia - FIFA
Image source : FIFA Website

Belgium                 2-1                Brazil 

Fernandinho

(OG, 13′)                             R. Augusto (76′)  

K. De Bruyne (31′) 


FIFA world cup is going to get an European champion for the consecutive fourth time. The last South American survivor Brazil encountered a heart-breaking defeat in the quarter-final on Friday. A brilliant night for Courtois kept their attacks fruitless for a long time. Two goals inside the first half-an-hour were enough to say the samba-dancers goodbye.

Brazil started the match very strongly. On seventh minute, Thiago Silva’s weak shot bounced back from the post. On the 11th, another corner gave a chance to unmarked Paulinho. He mishits it from a few meters away from the goal-line.

Belgium remained calm until the 13th minute. A corner kick from Chadli got a feather touch from Kompany and deflected from the body of Brazilian Fernandinho, who was trying to protect the near post. Alisson could do nothing but see the ball bouncing into the net.

After the own goal, Brazil tried hard to get the equalizer. Neymar showed some skills but got no finishers to beat the Belgian keeper. Marcelo’s long route shot was saved by Courtois.

Instead of making the game level, Brazil conceded another goal on 31st minute. A counter attack opened the chance for Belgium and they didn’t miss the opportunity. Fellaini headed the ball to Lukako, who was so fast throughout the night. He ran past two defenders, carried the ball a long way and passed the ball to De Bruyne, who kicks the ball from outside the box with the perfection to beat the Brazil keeper. Belgium went to the mid-break with 2-goals lead.

The second half was in a do-or-die condition for 5-times champions. On 51st minute, Marcelo’s cross could’ve opened the door for them. But Firmino missed the golden opportunity from 3 yards away from the post. The most thrilling moment was the hard tackle from Kompany on Gabriel Jesus on 55th. Referee remained unmoved while Brazilians cried for a VAR review. The fact is- Kompany got a hard touch on Jesus indeed, but it wasn’t enough to blow the whistle for a spot-kick in referee’s point of view.

Eden Hazard was outstanding as he played the anchor roll in the Belgian attacking side. He was fouled for several times but threatened the Brazilian defense many more. But the man with the gloves appeared to be the savior for Belgium. Courtois saved some goal-bound shot which could’ve been the game-changer.

Brazil got their only goal on 76th minute. Coutinho’s cross found Augusto inside the box and he headed that just away from Courtois. But Belgium conceded no further goal and kept themselves victorious in the world cup. Courtois palmed Neymar’s brilliant shot over the crossbar in the last moment of the match.

Kazan Arena confirmed that the trophy is going to remain in the hands of Europeans. But Brazil having 57 percent possession of the ball can count themselves unlucky. Brazil kept 9 of their shots on-target, but couldn’t beat the Belgian keeper more than once.

Belgium, defeating a giant, will face another hot favorite of the tournament. In Saint Petersburg, they are going to encounter France on 10th July. Can Belgium make a history? Can France move into the final again? The answer will be revealed in 3 days.

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Football

France’s Triumph: Second World Cup Title

France's Triumph Second World Cup Title - World Cup Final 2018 (France vs Croatia)
France's Triumph Second World Cup Title - World Cup Final 2018 (France vs Croatia) (Image source : Getty Images)
FRANCE  4-2 CROATIA
M. Mandzukic (OG, 18′) I. Perisic (28′)
A. Griezmann (P., 38′) M. Mandzukic (69′)
P. Pogba (59′)
K. Mbappe (65′)

Didier Deschamps is now only the third man in world cup history who win the title as a player and a coach. 20 years ago, it was his motherland where they raised the trophy after beating Brazil in the final. Today, at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, his team fetched a tremendous victory against a dream team of Croatia. This is a glorious moment, the ‘greatest show on earth’ ends with a bunch of records.

First part of the night was Croatia’s part. They rarely lost the possession of the ball and built up some very good attacks. They almost got a goal on 11th minute when Perisic got a lofted pass from Strinic inside the box. But he couldn’t get enough time to control that.

The moment of the most importance was the free-kick for France which was ‘awarded’ for a foul just outside the box. Honestly, Griezmann fell on the ground for no serous reason and won the free-kick. But the most terrible thing happened after the free-kick. Griezmann curved his shot into the middle of the box and the man who jumped highest was Mandzukic. He couldn’t clear it and just managed to deflect it into their own goal. It was the twelfth suicide goal of the tournament, which is a record. But this goal is the only own goal scored in world cup final match. Mandzukic surely doesn’t like to create this type of records.

But the lead didn’t last long for France. Perisic scored a stunning goal which gave their hope back. It was only 28 minutes on the referee’s clock.

Though Croatia controlled most of the time of the game, France utilized their all possible chances. Another record, a penalty from VAR review is a new history in world cup final match. Replays confirmed that Perisic took his hand away from the body and the ball deflected from the hand. The referee saw that many times and then blew the whistle signaling the penalty spot. Griezmann converted it into another goal deceiving the goalkeeper Subasic. First half ended with 2-1 scoreline.

But France took the advantage of the tiredness of Croatian players who played for six hours in last three matches. On 59th minute, they made it 3-1. Teenage sensation Mbappe crossed the ball in and Griezmann passed that to Pogba. His first shot was blocked but he attempted the second one and gets the goal. 6 minutes later, Mbappe himself sealed the match by scoring the fourth.

On 69th minute, Lloris’s terrible mistake caused a ridiculous goal against France. Mandzukic, spreading his leg, surprisingly got a goal from a mistaken shot of French keeper. This goal made a new record. This match is now the highest scoring world cup final. Before that, Argentina beat West Germany by 3-2 at the final of 1986.

France have won their second trophy and it’s under the training of 1998’s captain. Deschamps is certainly going to be the hero again, even though supporters didn’t want him to continue as the coach.

The golden ball is achieved by Luka Modric, the captain of unlucky Runners-up team. The golden boot is gifted to the England captain Harry Kane for scoring 6 goals. Thibaut Courtois wins the Golden glove. The best young player is none other than magnificent wonder-boy Mbappe. Spain get the Fair Play award. An award is never given, a thankful applause for the hosts for giving a mesmerizing tournament. See you World Cup, 4 years later, in Qatar.

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Football

Belgium Claimed the Third Spot

Belgium Claimed the Third Spot
Belgium Claimed the Third Spot (Image source : Getty Images)
Belgium 2-0 England
T. Meunier (4′)
E. Hazard (82′)

Belgium ended the world cup with a victory which doesn’t really matter in the race of the title. They finished with their best position in a world cup. They won the play off for the third place against England. Meunier and Hazard scored for their team. Harry Kane remained pale in this match as well. Still he is the highest goal-scorer of the tournament.

Belgium got a flying start in the match. Just 4 minutes after the kick off, Chadli sent a brilliant cross to Meunier, who beat a couple of defenders to reach the ball and poked into the net.

Belgium dominated the play from the beginning. De Bruine was denied by Pickford. Then Lukaku got a chance which could’ve been a goal. He just carried the ball to much and Pickford did no mistake again.

The mos goal-scorer of the tournament so far, Kane, missed a good chance on 23rd minute. Then Belgium missed some opportunities to double their lead. But an equalizer was almost brought by Dier, on 70th minute. He chipped the ball over Courtois who was coming forward. Alderweireld somehow managed to clear that ball from inches outside the goal.

Meunier almost got his second one, on 79th minute. But Pickford’s brilliant save stopped his powerful volley which would’ve been a goal in 95 percent occasions.

The last nail in England’s coffin was put by Eden Hazard on 82nd minute. His goal doubled their lead and the match ended with the same scoreline.

Belgium beat England twice in this world cup. In the group round, they won by the minimum difference. Only one match remaining in the world cup, that’s the final.

After few hours, France or Croatia will celebrate the historical victory. They’ll remain ‘the world champions’ until the final match of world cup 2022 in Qatar.

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Football

France Again, or a New Era?

2018_fifa_world_cup_trophy_russia
Who's going to win this trophy? (Image Source: Getty Images)

France won the world cup once, at their home-ground, defeating Brazil by 3-0. They got another chance to win the cup after 8 years. Italy won the final after the penalty shoot-out. Most importantly, Zinedine Zidane was sent off by showing red card. But this year, they have the best opportunity to win the best trophy of the football world. 

Griezmann is playing so well throughout the tournament. Matuidi or Pogba can be lethal for any opponents anytime. They have a quality defending side including Varane, Umtiti, Pavard. Mbappe has been outstanding, he might be considered as the most consistent young striker of this world cup. Lloris has saved them from any kind of disaster in the crucial times. 

On the other hand, Croatia never qualified for the world cup final before this time. But a brilliant combination between the experienced players has paid off. They are marching towards glory. Modric, Mandzukic, Rakitic and others including the savior Subasic are the light-bearers of the Croatian dream. They played semifinal in their first presence in the world cup as a independent nation. But the next 3 times they played the main round of the tournament, they had eliminated from the first round.

ROAD TO FINAL

CROATIA FRANCE
2-0  (vs Nigeria) 2-1  (vs Australia)
3-0  (vs Argentina) 1-0  (vs Peru)
2-1  (vs Iceland) 0-0  (vs Denmark)
1(3)-1(2)  (vs Denmark) 4-3  (vs Argentina)
2(4)-2(3)  (vs Russia) 2-0  (vs Uruguay)
2-1  (vs England) 1-0  (vs Belgium)

 

France and Croatia met once in the world cup finals. On 8th July 1998, host France won that match by 2-1. Like the 2nd semi-final of this world cup, the losers got the lead first. But two strikes from Lilian Thuram broke the dream of Croatia and kept their own flag waving. 

Can France repeat that history and achieve their second trophy? Will Croatia let them do that? They have all the abilities to win their first ever world cup. We have to wait, not a long time, till 15 July. 90 minutes, or 120, or a penalty shoot-out in Moscow will decide the kings of the world football for next four years.

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