The World Cup semi-finalists and their top division football league in numbers
After three weeks of non-stop footballing action in Russia, we have finally reached the Semi-final stage of football’s most coveted trophy. Along the way, we have witnessed a lot of drama from late goals to controversial VAR decisions. We watched in awe as giants of the game fell less fancied teams and proving to the world that they are not in Russia just to make up the numbers.
Belgium, Croatia, England and France have made it to the final four. Although some Football pundits did predict France and Belgium to make it to the semi-finals, no one thought in their remotest of imaginations that Croatia and England would also go this far. Ahead of the semi-finals clash let’s take a look at each country’s top division league and try to make sense of the numbers.
Going by the table above, the Premier League and Ligue 1 are no match for the Croatian and Belgian league as proven by their UEFA rankings. But don't let these numbers fool you since only one Belgian and two Croatian players play in their respective country's top division league. Let’s now also take a closer look at the no of players from each of the four countries playing in the four leagues mentioned above. Some interesting figures for sure...
Let's analyse the numbers from each country closely and what can it possibly mean going ahead of the crucial Semifinal match
England: The only team in the last four to have all their squad playing in their country's top division league. This certainly has an added advantage since all the players know each other very well courtesy of facing each other in the Premier League. The players know each others playing style well and can this can better translate to better communication in the field of play which was evident in England's rout of Panama in the group stages. For Football to come home the players must utilise this fact that their players come from one single league and effectively use this to their advantage.
France: Nine players of the French squad plays in Ligue 1 and five in the Premier League and the remaining plying their trade across Europe. The starting eleven will likely have a mixture of players from across Europe's top league With the pace of Mbappe and the trickery of Griezman and a good mix of players from across Europe; this French definitely has what it takes to lift the cup after twenty years.
Belgium: A staggering fifteen members from their squad play in the Premier League which will surely come in handy if they meet the three lions in the final. The Red Devils certainly have an added advantage with the core of its squad playing in what arguably is the most competitive and physical league in the world. Touted as the dark horses of the tournament the Belgian fans can certainly look forward to this heavily Premier League influenced side to deliver the goods and bring home their first World Cup.
Croatia: The Croatian squad has one player each in Ligue 1 and EPL while only two plays in their country's top league. Out of the remaining four, Croatia seems to have a well-travelled squad spanning across Europe's top league. This well-travelled squad brings with them a wealth of experience they have gained playing for top sides across Europe. The Vatreni have definitely impressed in parts. For them to have any shot of winning their maiden title, this right mixture of players needs to come to the party.
Come the 15th of July we will come to know whether England the only team with all players playing in the Premier League or Croatia with the wealth of experience across Europe’s top league or the French with a perfect combination of players from top sides across Europe or maybe the heavily Premier League influenced Belgian squad will lift the World Cup trophy.
Who is your money on?