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Four takeaways from the two semi-final matches of the World Cup

Football: France vs Belgium at World Cup
Football: France vs Belgium at World Cup
Modified 13 Jul 2018, 00:21 IST
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France has reached their third World Cup final after defeating a very good Belgium team, whereas Croatia defied the odds to reach their first ever World Cup final. Two exhilarating matches ending on a good note for the winning teams but not for the losing team. After some brilliant showings during the previous matches, both Belgium and England faltered at the end to two hard working teams. After defeating the likes of the mighty Brazil and Columbia during their previous matches, both Belgium and England filled their fans with optimism of winning the World Cup. But now they will play for the third place play-off.

The level of energy shown by the Croatian players during the whole match must be credited. It would be hugely unfair on Zlatko Dalic’s team not to acknowledge the ambition that helped them recover from a goal down. They have won all three of their knock-out matches in extra-time. After all the effort, they will surely want to take the Cup home. But first they must need to defeat France.

After defeating their neighbours Belgium at the semi-final, France sent a message around the world that they are there to win it. With Paul Pogba striding around midfield and Kylian Mbappe running with no fear, France definitely has the team to win the World Cup. And they will surely want to win it after the heartbreak of Euro 2016 final.

Here are the four takeaways from the two semi-final matches of the World Cup 2018.

France is a team to be taken seriously

Jubilant staff of the France World Cup team will definitely remember what happened two years ago in a major final. After the final whistle, the members of the staff and their manager huddled in union and probably sang a victory song. But deep down inside, they know the job is not over. The hurt of losing a major final at their home soil will probably make them hungrier to win the final. And Didier Deschamps knows his players will not take the match as any other match while the opponents will know that France is a team not to be taken lightly.

Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Deschamps and his players are in this World Cup final because they have been the most consistent team in this tournament so far (the other being Belgium). The brilliance of variety that this French team has got is its defensive strength, the composure on the ball and the simplicity with which they attack. Moreover, Argentina is the only team who has scored against France from open play. So the defensive assuredness that they have got is the forte in their game.

Given the players at his disposal, Didier Deschamps is making his players play to its potential. They have a squad that could (or should) be tearing through opponents with their abilities. Bearing in mind that they passed their test as for now, but the real test is what lies beyond. They are dangerously good because they hint at what might be. This is a team that has another level that it can find as. For now, though, they will only want to recover well for the final.

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Published 13 Jul 2018, 00:21 IST
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