Which teams will be the four semi-finalists for the FIFA World Cup 2018 and why?

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Mudassir Ali
Mar 11, 2020 12:00 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Mar 11, 2020 12:00 PM

Originally Answered: Which four teams will be in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup?
So let’s see, the round of 16 is beginning to shape up pretty nicely as the group stages are drawing out to a close. So far, we’ve had our fair share of upsets, a giant giant-killing and none of nails left to bite anymore. Unless you’re wierd for toenails or something.

But, yeah the group phase has been exciting, unpredictable and lastly, breathtaking.

So, that would mean the 1/8th finals would like up like this:

Uruguay v Portugal

Argentina v France

Spain v Russia

Croatia v Denmark

Brazil v Mexico

Switzerland v Sweden

England v Columbia

Belgium v Japan

A few mouth-watering clashes there, none more so than the Argentina v France game.

Enough of foreplay, let’s delve right in.

Uruguay v Portugal

This has everything to become one of those classic world cup games that gets foretold over and over again. Neither team is head and shoulders above the other and both teams have struggled to find form. Ronaldo however has not and overlooking that missed penalty against Iran, he has had a very good world cup so far. The Portugal team are built around him and Will Carvalho, but their plan A, B and C rely on Ronaldo firing. The team are United and have a good spirit, and will be confident of a result following their Euro win. Uruguay have had a deceptively slow start to the tournament, but 3 clean sheets in 3 tells enough about the strength and solidarity of this team. Upfront, the attacking prowess of Suarez and Cavani is lethal, but rests on Suarez having a good game. The midfield battle entices me, because the young Uruguay midfield of Bentancur, Nandez and Vecino are capable but have not shown enough in my opinion. The game against Russia will have given them confidence, but if they can’t find their feet quick against Carvalho, Moutinho and co. early one, chances may be limited for the South Americans. I expect a cage affair, but I am giving Portugal the edge, simply because of the x-factor that is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Spain v Russia

This is one of the easier ones to predict. Spain have been hot and cold really, dominating possession in all 3 of their games, scoring as well but shoddy in defense and often times looking a bit laboured in midfield. The team is as good as any, and this is as good a opportunity they’ll get to play their fluid, passing game. I expect a resounding win. With all due respect to the hosts, they just don’t have the defensive organization and guile needed to contain La Rojas

Argentina v France

2 strong favorites going head to head in what should be a treat for the nuetrals. France have been good, playing attacking, exciting football, especially in their game against Peru where they warranted more than their solitary goal. The attacking trio of Mbappe, Griezmann and Dembele can tear apart any defense and a midfield with Kante, Pogba and whoever else plays will be powerful, energetic and thriving. Pogba will have to show up and France’s defenders need to be focused at all times, because the Argentine attack is nothing less. Aguero, Di Maria, Pavon and of course Lionel Messi. Only team perhaps capable of matching France in the business end of the field. But that’s it for Argentina really. They are struggling in all other areas bith on and off the pitch. The defense is non-existent, all their keepers are second choice at best and the midfield does nothing to link attack to defence. The main burden falls on Messi and when he’s playing as deep as he is for Argentina for 90mins, you lose his potency upfront. Surely, Kante will be tasked to keep an eye on him at all times, but he only needs a milisecond to change a game. I expect attacking football from both sides, goals aplenty and drama in this game. But I also expect France to come out victorious, because of Argentina’s poor form, over-reliance in Messi and France’s overall squad strength which is much better than their opponents. Maybe AET, but France to win.

Croatia v Denmark

The game of the two Tottenham midfielders really. The ex, Luka Modric and the now, Christian Eriksen. But Croatia are more than Modric and 9 points from the group of death will give them immense confidence. Denmark look blunt infront of goal really, although the defense is solid. Their real chances will be if their wingers can beat the Croatia full backs and Cornelius winning the aerial duels. But Eriksen is a constant threat and setpiece will also play a part, but I just think Croatia have too much quality and have a manager who can adapt and change tactics when necessary. Croatia to progress.

Brazil v Mexico

Since 02, the team that has defeated Germany has won, if Germany themselves have not. Mexico could write history in this one, mark my words. They have their best team in years, players at their peak, performances exemplary and morale sky high. Vela has been outstanding in every sense, be it attacking, defending or linking play. Hector Herrera has been everywhere in midfield, attack and defense and has been the driving force behind so much of Mexico’s goods. And Hernandez seems to be back to his old best, the Chicarito who took out Berbatov from the UTD team and spearheaded their attack. If Osorio gets his tactics right and the players perform, they could kill another of the Giants. Brazil on the other hand have finally found their feet. While the 2–0 over Serbia didn’t seem like a classic Brazil performance, it was exactly what Tite’s new look, balanced Brazil team are all about. Jesus had a fantastic game; although he didn’t score, his run to take the CBs away freed up Paulinho for the first and he was always lively and threatening. The defense is rigid and no nonsense. Whether Marcelo will be fit is going to be a question but Felipe Luis showed that he is a capable sub. Casemiro has been doing his job in keeping play flowing but a lot will rest on Neymar and Coutinho. Roberto Carlos recently said that Counting was the driving force behind this Brazil team, leading and making play. I agree totally. If Neymar can keep the Mexican defenders busy, Coutinho can pull the strings and dictate play. Osorio needs to keep Guardado on Coutinho at all times. Silva and Miranda need to stay alert because Hernandez is a tricky player to deal with, especially from set-pieces, but if Brazil control the midfield and keep Coutinho free, they should find it easy. I expect Neymar to drop deep many times, but he hasn’t really stepped up for Brazil yet. Calcedo isn’t going to give him an easy time either, but maybe this game will be his moment. I expect Brazil to win, but I would not be at all surprised if Mexico did one on them.

Switzerland v Sweden

Sweden have been so difficult to watch at times, but they have probably been the most efficient and effective team at this WC. 3 games, only 2 conceded against Germany. 2 clean sheets, 5 goals and 6 points. Top of the group. Defensive solidarity that would make the Italians proud. A midfield that works tirelessly, but has enough quality in Ekdal, Forsberg and Larrson to trouble anyone and strikers who know and execute their jobs to perfection, especially Toivonen, who has been the unsung hero behind all their good performances. Switzerland will be glad to have Xhaka and Shakiri available for this. They are another team who are very well organized and perform jobs on the pitch to point. Their midfielders regularly get goals and they play with a very narrow, compact shape which is very hard to break down. The are likely to leave no spaces between the lines, and play high up because counters aren’t one of Swedens strong suits, but this game will be played more on the tactics board than anywhere really. It’s definitely going to finish 1–0, or going to go to penalties. I have the liberty of sitting on the fence for this one, and I’ll take it.

Belgium v Japan

If this match plays out, I expect Belgium to thoroughly dominate. Japan are decent, but nowhere near the Red Devils. Belgium will be tactically suited to face the Asians and have nifty ball players and dribblers who will make it very tough for Japan. Japan aren’t too strong anywhere on the pitch and rely mainly on the deep playmaking abilities of Hasebe and Shibasaki, and the creativity of Kagawa, their most recognizable player. Their defense is generous and I expect Belgium to win and progress comfortably.

England v Columbia

Another match that has what it takes to be a thriller. Columbia, if they defeat Senegal tonight will be through and I expect no less given the return of James and the attacking football they played against Poland. Much will rest on their star number 10, but in Quintero and Monica they have other players who could trouble the English backline. England have started this tournament flying and are on fantastic form. Their formation is a breath of fresh air and has great balance. They will press high and make it very hard for Columbia to get out and play their game. I expect the English wing backs to play a heavy role in propelleling England to a victory, because it is the wings where Columbia are the most vulnerable. And if Stones, Macguire and co keep their cool and Henderson can find space to dictate play, England should win.

That would mean the QFs would line up as something like this.

Portugal v France

Brazil v Belgium

Spain v Croatia

England v Switzerland/Sweden

I won’t go into analysis of these games just yet, but from the matches, I predict the 4 semifinalists will be Portugal, Brazil, Spain and England.

But we can talk about that once the round of 16s are drawing to a close and we have seen a few more exciting games of this FIFA WC.

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