The semi-final stage of the FIFA World Cup will begin from Tuesday. In the first semi-final, France will clash with Belgium at Saint Petersburg, while in the semi-final on Wednesday, England will face Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The summit clash is slated to take place on Sunday in Moscow. The ongoing 21st edition of the Football World Cup has, so far, been a roller coaster ride, as they have been surprises in abundance, right from the Group matches till the recently concluded quarter-finals.
The biggest shock was undoubtedly the exit of defending champions Germany in the group stage.
It was the first time in eight decades that the Germans were sent packing in the preliminary round.
Last year’s finalists Argentina and Brazil also failed to make it to the semi-finals, which means that this is the first World Cup that has not had Brazil, Argentina or Germany in the last-4.
Remarkably, all the three football powerhouses, who have 12 of the 20 World Cup won between them, were knocked out at the Kazan Arena.
With France, Belgium, England and Croatia set to battle it out for the trophy, this will be fourth consecutive time that the World champions will be a European nation.
Another highlight of the tournament was the early exit of Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal.
Both arch-rivals, with 5 Ballon d’Ors each, have never won a World Cup, and they couldn’t again this time, in what was probably their last World Cup.
19-year old French player Kylian Mbappe also wrote his name in the history books as he became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score at least two goals in a World Cup match.
He scored twice in the Round-of-16 game against Argentina sending Messi back home.
England breaking its penalty shoot out jinx and sealing a place in the semis for the first time since 1990; Croatia entering the last-4 after 20 years; Belgium becoming the first team to come from two goals down to win a World Cup knockout match, and to have two substitutes coming on and score a goal each, were some of the other headline grabbers.
With the semi-finals and final just around the corner, some more history making is sure shot on the cards.