Read my Semi-Final predictions.
And then there were two. France and Croatia. It’s a match that I predicted would happen at the World Cup. It’s just a bit later than I predicted. Either France will lift the World Cup for the second time or Croatia will lift it for the first time. But who will it be?
France have overcome Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout stages and won each match inside 90 minutes. They were excellent against Belgium in the semi-final and kept a potent Belgian front line quiet. Croatia overcame Denmark, Russia and England in the knockout stages and all three matches went to extra time, with the first two requiring penalties. England had the better of the first half in their semi-final, but Croatia came into the game more as it progressed and deservedly won.
Which is all very well and good, but who wins? I can’t look beyond France. They’ve been solid when they need to be and have goal threats across the forwards. If the Croatian full backs try to push on as they did against England to pin wide players back, it will leave a lot of space for Mbappe to run into and he will be difficult to catch. If Croatia stay deep, I fancy France to be able to create chances from Giroud knocking balls down and linking up play. I predict a 2-0 victory for France.
Leave a comment with: who you think will win the World Cup Final; why; the score.
Uruguay V France
The French put in their best performance of the tournament in beating Argentina in the Last 16, whilst Uruguay eliminated Portugal. Two very good teams in a game that could go either way, but I think the French have a bit of extra quality and it will be enough to get them past Uruguay and into the Semi-Final.
Brazil V Belgium
Brazil have been improving through the World Cup and knocked out Mexico in the Last 16; it seems as though everyone is still waiting for the promise of the Belgian team to deliver a performance that they should surely be capable of with the players at their disposal. The Last 16 tie against Japan saw them have to claw back a two-goal deficit and score the winner with the last kick of the game. Giving up two goals against Brazil would surely end their tournament. I expect Belgium to play better than they did against Japan, but it will not be enough and Brazil will progress.
Sweden V England
The Swedes saw off Switzerland in the Last 16 with a 1-0 victory and England finally won a penalty shootout in eliminating Colombia. England are expected to progress with ease, but Sweden beat Italy over two legs to qualify and topped a difficult Group F, with their only loss being to Germany with a goal deep in stoppage time. It won’t be an easy game for England, but I think they will progress to the Semi-Final.
Russia V Croatia
Russia produced the shock of the Last 16 in knocking out Spain, whilst Croatia struggled against Denmark; both sides required penalties to progress. It’s difficult to imagine Croatia struggling again, especially as Russia are unlikely to get players forward to push the Croatian wide players back; it will be a big ask for Russia to keep their shape and soak up pressure again, especially as the Croatian possession is likely to have more attacking intent than some of the Spanish possession had. I expect Croatia to knock out the hosts.
My predicted Semi-Finals:
France V Brazil
England V Croatia
Check out how accurate my predictions for the Last 16 were.
France V Argentina
Neither team have been at their best so far, but I think France are the better team and will beat Argentina.
Uruguay V Portugal
Uruguay are showing signs of growing into the tournament and are favourites, but Portugal are very different to beat and in Ronaldo, have a player who can turn a game in a moment. I think Uruguay will progress in extra time.
Spain V Russia
Home support has undoubtedly helped Russia, but they struggled in their first big test of the tournament and I think Spain will be too strong for them.
Croatia V Denmark
Croatia impressively topped a tough looking Group D and I expect them to advance against a Denmark side that progressed as expected.
Brazil V Mexico
A tough Last 16 draw for Mexico, but also for Brazil; Mexico beat the 2014 champions in the group and if they play like that again, Brazil could exit the tournament much earlier than expected. However, I expect Brazil to have too much for Mexico.
Belgium V Japan
Group H was an open group and Japan were able to qualify from it. I predict they won’t advance any further and Belgium will record a comfortable win.
Sweden V Switzerland
Sweden qualified from the tough Group F as winners and should not be underestimated, while Switzerland gained a credible draw against Brazil in Group E. A match that I predict will go to penalties, with Switzerland progressing.
Colombia V England
Any joy for England about being in the ‘easier’ side of the draw seems premature, with Colombia posing a stern test. Colombia’s loss in the group stages was a 2-1 loss in a game in which they played with 10 men for 87 minutes. It may require extra time, but I think England will progress.
My predicted Quarter-Finals
France V Uruguay
Spain V Croatia
Brazil V Belgium
Switzerland V England
Based on my predictions for the groups, below are my predictions for the knockout stages of the World Cup courtesy of the Sky Sports Road to Moscow app.
Leave a comment letting me know what you think of my predictions and who you think will win the World Cup.
The final group at the 2018 World Cup is made up of Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal. This is a group in which all four teams will believe they can qualify from and I expect a number of close games. I think that the two teams that will progress to the Last 16 are Colombia and Poland and in that order.
Leave a comment with your prediction for Group H.