So it has come down to the final four. In the past month, 32 of the finest footballing nations congregated in Russia to duke it out for bragging rights to be called World Cup 2018 champions. Suffice it to say, it has been one wild ride that reminded us of the 15/16 Barclay’s Premier League when Leicester City proved that you can never, ever be too sure what would happen in the chase for sporting greatness.
Ronaldo’s Portugal, Messi’s Argentina and even Neymar’s Brazil had since packed their bags and made way for Croatia, Belgium, France and England. The English lads truly believe that after 50 years, this year is when it comes home. The French are looking to replicate their 1998 glory with an exciting team of young wunderkind. Croatia has been scraping through on penalties, but like we said, never be too sure if you’re writing Real Madrid’s Modrić and co off.
Belgium could seal their fate as the ultimate underdogs and make bookies very happy.
Each team may have their own World Cup narrative, but one thing remains undisputed: they are all equally hungry to reach the holy grail of football.
As we write this, we are minutes away from the first semi-final match between France and Belgium, and a day before England vs Croatia. It’s a fool’s errand to pick a side in the haze of unpredictability – despite us having a very clear idea who’s hoisting the trophy – so we did a very sensible thing and got 11 ladies to break it down for us in a way only they can.
Whether you’re a football noob looking to pick a side just for the kicks, or an armchair sports commentator in need of expert analysis to do unnecessary mansplaining during the matches, gather your beers and buffalo wings and listen.
But try not to spill them because they probably know more about football than you do.
“I really want England to win but it’s going to be tough when they meet France or Belgium in the finals…” Sherilyn T., part-time student
“Belgium already got past Brazil, they could probably get past France. Definitely getting past Croatia or England, whom they’ve already beaten in the group stage.” – Chelsea A., public relations
“France. They’ve got a je ne sais quoi about the team. But also because there’s Olivier Giroud…” – Cathy L., flight attendant
“F*ck, I think it’ll be France but I want to see the underdogs (Belgium) win.” – Stephanie SJ, advertising
“France. They are the most well-rounded team.” – Khadijah, undergraduate
“France, man. They’ve played consistently well in previous matches.” Bernice T., strategic producer
“France. They’ve got big boys…” – H.Q., teacher
“It’s been an unpredictable tournament, so I’m going to go with an unpredictable team: Croatia!” Janice T, writer
“England is finally doing something right with their penalties – their kryptonite so far. With the penalty curse lifted they got good chance of winning!” – Jess, banker
“I don’t give a shit anymore after Portugal went out.” – Ana P., office manager
“Unfortunately my favourite Iceland, the team of pretty Vikings whom I would marry, are out. I am now going for Croatia! Love a surprise team victory and Croatia has displayed quality performance in this World Cup!” – Yumika H., TV host/model