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Ranking 2018 World Cup final matchups between Belgium, France, England, Croatia

July 09,2018 08:38

We are just days away from knowing who will play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Moscow, Russia. The semifinals are on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the remaining four teams battling for the opportunity to win the most coveted trophy in the sport.


We are just days away from knowing who will play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Moscow, Russia. The semifinals are on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the remaining four teams battling for the opportunity to win the most coveted trophy in the sport. 
England, Belgium, France and Croatia have battled through five matches to make it to the last four. All four are guaranteed seven matches, but it remains to be seen who will be playing in Moscow on Sunday, July 15. Out of the four possible final matchups involving the final four teams, which is the best and worst? Let's dive in and rank all four scenarios:
4. France vs. Croatia 
There would be enough blue and red in the crowd to give you a headache, aesthetically speaking. This would be a nice matchup between two teams with different styles of play, but it's safe to say it's the least exciting of the potential matchups, even though every World Cup final is must-see TV. Kylian Mbappe going up against a physical Croatian defense would be enticing, as would seeing how N'Golo Kante tries to contain Luka Modric in the middle. 
3. Belgium vs. Croatia 
You may think this matchup should be fourth because Belgium and Croatia aren't synonymous with World Cup titles, historically speaking. Neither country has ever won the World Cup, but that is exactly what makes it an awesome matchup. How great would it be to see a first-ever winner, just like with Spain in 2010? Croatia's tough defense would have to deal with that clinical Belgium counter, and it would cement the careers of these players and managers in the history books of the sport. 
2. Belgium vs. England
This would be such an interesting matchup when it comes to the tactics. You have Belgium manager Roberto Martinez who coached in England and knows a lot of these players on the England squad. Then you have the players on Belgium who play in the Premier League and are teammates with some of the English players. Belgium's Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen play at Tottenham with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, and Eric Dier. There alone you have eight players connected. Then both teams have players at Manchester City (Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones) and at Manchester United (Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford). In all, Belgium has 12 Premier League players on their squad, while every English player plays in its domestic league. So much familiarity there, and it would be interesting to see how pre-match planning goes as a result. It's likely England would play more defensive and potentially move away from the three at the back or have the outside midfielders to sit a bit back. These England players know just how good guys like Eden Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku are, and it would show in how they line up. 
1. France vs. England
This is a dream matchup, especially if you want two traditional powerhouses chasing a title. Both nations have one World Cup and they could earn their second and leap up into a new tier of historical success. They are sort of building a rivalry as well. It's not quite England vs. Germany, but France vs. England is special. These teams have met 31 times, dating all the way back to 1923. They met in five Euros, including 2012 (draw) and 2004 (France win), and they also played against each other in two World Cups. The two met in the group stage in 1966 when England won it all, with the Three Lions winning 2-0. England also beat France 3-1 at the 1982 World Cup in the group stage. This would be a game loaded with stars, but there's no doubt France, because it has a stronger squad on paper, would be viewed as the favorites.   
A France-England final?

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