World Cup Semifinal Preview
It has come to this – European soccer dominates. We love you, South America, Brazil and Argentina. But the ball is in the court of Europe for the World Cup championship.
The first of the 2018 semifinals is Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET on Fox, matching France and Belgium. Wednesday brings us Croatia (OK, so we’re stretching Europe just a bit) and England (which is trying desperately to escape Europe, but that’s a political story for a different blog).
What can we say about France-Belgium? Let us turn to an expert at FIFA.com. FIFA is the world soccer federation that, in a Sopranos sort of way is the owner and operator:
Team Official Reporter for France: Adrien Gingold
Uruguay were generally expected to be resolute at the back and clinical up front during Friday’s quarter-final at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, but in the end it was France who proved to be defensively sound and efficient in front of goal. La Celeste’s failure to penetrate the French rearguard was in large part due to the excellent performances of Raphael Varane and Hugo Lloris, both of whom shared their thoughts with FIFA.com after the match.
“Lloris was involved in one of the encounter’s pivotal moments at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, diving full-length to save a header by Martin Caceres that appeared certain to hit the back of the net. In contrast, the subsequent handling error made by his opposite number, Fernando Muslera, allowed the European side to double their lead and eventually seal a memorable win.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Gotta like the part about penetrating the rearguard. As for Belgium?
Official Team Reporter of Belgium: Simon Massart
Aware that they were not going to beat Brazil in a beautiful football contest, Belgium found another way to shine when the two sides met in the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in Kazan on Friday. Sitting deep on coach Roberto Martinez’s instructions, they invited the five-time world champions on and then countered at every opportunity, using the wide open spaces to show their considerable talents.
“After falling behind to Fernandinho’s own goal 13 minutes in, A Seleção were caught cold by Belgium’s precise planning. “We had a gameplan and we executed it to perfection,” Romelu Lukaku told FIFA.com afterwards.”
So there you have it. No doubt, the tilde makes this whole thing work.
The blog always prefers the American versions of hype (even if it isn’t true). And so, we offer to replace the above with:
A: These two teams just don’t like each other.
B. When these two play, just throw out the record book.
C. It’s a game of two halves. And an overtime. And penalty kicks.
D. If it’s still tied, rock-paper-scissors.
E. If it’s still tied again, I challenge you to a duel for the honor of all of France.
F. It it’s still tied again, I challenge you to a duel for all of the sprouts in Brussels.
Now we’re talkin’ sports!
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