Four key attributes for four semi-finalists09/07/2018 22:03
Belgium, France, Croatia, and England boasts very different attributes, so read on the following views of the experts on the semi-finalists main strengths.
Belgium: Team spirit
Belgians biggest success in Russia has been establishing strong collective value and has arrived with one of the best squads
on paper. Including the magic trio Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, their star individuals have stepped
up when needed. Everyone’s playing their part. They are representing their most important asset simply because it has not always been present in the past.
Everyone is fit to play in the Belgian squad and ready to make sacrifices on the pitch or, in some cases to support their team-mates by accepting their status as substitutes.
Didier Deschamps has been criticized not so long ago for this aspect of his France team, that Les Bleus had a thousand faces and no real identity, as some journalists alleged. And in fact, it is emerging as a vital attribute! France was spectacular against Argentina, efficient and solid against Uruguay and so far that means functional during their group matches. Do we see three different teams? No – the same team just different tactics.
There are no weak teams anymore as we have seen already during this World Cup, and even giants like Spain and Germany had a hard time playing ‘their game’. Options are everything and a possession doesn’t ensure victory and experience doesn’t guarantee success.
Croatia: Midfield talent
Surviving two stern tests in the knockout stages and sailing through arguably Russia 2018’s most difficult group, Croatia have been one of those teams of the tournament. The midfield of Croatia is the greatest asset that Zlatko Dalic’s side possesses. Their midfield ranks as one of the best at this World Cup because the players in that department of the team almost always seem composed, unruffled and organized.
It is not often that players from Real Madrid and Barcelona combine to such devastating effect, but Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are the lynchpins of the Croatian team. Far from alone though, adding in Marcelo Brozovic, Inter Milan’s player, Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic and Milan Badelj playing for Fiorentina it all adds up to a truly superb generation of Croatian midfielders.
As Gareth Southgate’s side continues to find new and different ways to win, picking a single strength to define England is increasingly difficult. England’s young team is prepared for any match situation, any opposition and their ruthlessly effective game management can’t be better. We testify this ever-improving, young side using its confidence, their modern system of playing and togetherness.
Examining the individual stars in the team, they have their heroic goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, the tournament top scorer Harry Kane – each just 24 years old. Sine 1990 this could be the most complete England side we have seen. And it seems like they’re here to make their own history.