Brazil has stepped up its game where Mexico has dropped the ball; will they meet somewhere in the middle tomorrow? Read more…
FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
Stats, facts, streaming and results. Everything you need to know about this year's World Cup.
Welcome to Finder's home for all things World Cup 2018. Here you will find the latest stats and research, our post-match recaps and information on where to stream every single match.
We're getting close to the Grand Final. Here's how the semis went down.
Second Semi-Final (England vs Croatia): Croatia won 2-1.
England had a relatively easy time at this World Cup, with the three lions coming up against relatively unfancied teams in comparison to some of the other big names in the competition. Along with the luck of the draw, their manager Gareth Southgate’s transformation of the English team into a team with a very un-English way of performing brought about the results that had the whole of England fervently hoping that this time, “the World Cup was coming home”. Croatia, on the other hand, had to hold their nerves at multiple moments in this World Cup, including a few close penalty shoot-outs.
The game started off with a veritable bang as England’s Kieran Trippier unleashed a stunning free kick, just outside the Croatian penalty box at the five-minute mark to take the lead The rest of the first half was dominated by England and the Croatian defence was tested multiple times by the English midfielders and strikers. However, the tables turned in the second half, with England apparently losing steam.
A lot was expected of Harry (“The Hurricane”) Kane; however, he turned out to be a damp squib in this match compared to the previous ones in this World Cup. Ivan Perisic equalised for Croatia at the 68-minute mark, converting a whipped cross by Sime Vrsaljko right in front of the goal. Vrsaljko was the hero for Croatia again at the 99-minute mark, heading away Stone's attempt at the goal to deny England.
With the game going into extra time, Croatia appeared to have more hunger and clarity of mind than England. Mario Mandzukic struck at the 109-minute mark and beat English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to ensure Croatia's efforts bore fruit.
With just a few minutes of extra time left, Southgate brought in Jamie Vardy, hoping that he would be able to produce some of the magic that had led Leicester City to win the English Premier League in 2014. However, there was not enough time for him to make a difference, and the whole of Croatia erupted in joy after the final whistle blew. After all, they will be participating in their first ever World Cup final against France on Sunday.
England was left to rue their chances but exited the competition with their heads held high. They will take on Belgium on Sunday to decide who takes third place in the competition.
Meanwhile, the whole of the world will be waiting with bated breath on Sunday 15 July to see who wins the World Cup. Will it be the pulsating skills of France that prevails or Croatia's obstinate belief in themselves?
Only time will tell who wears the title of World Champions for the next four years. Remember to follow finder's analysis and pre/post match review of the FIFA World Cup 2018, which has been completely unlike any other football World Cup in recent memory.
First Semi-Final (France vs Belgium): France won 1-0.
Pundits expected the first semi-finals to be a taut affair with both sides going all out to make it to their finals. But this match ended up being staunch French defending against obdurate Belgium attacks. At the end of regulation time, France made it to their third final in the last 6 years thanks to Samuel Umtiti’s header at the 51-minute mark of the match. Belgium did have 64% of the possession but was left with nothing to show for it due to the disciplined French defence throughout the match.
When France attacked, their attackers Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe challenged the Belgium defence with their speed while N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba outclassed Belgium's attackers. Belgian Romelu Lukaku was ineffectual throughout the match and was not able to convert any of the passes given to him by his teammates. Even his teammates Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, who had promised so much in the initial stages of this World Cup, were thwarted with ease by the stolid French defence.
The end result? France is in the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup where they wait to face the winner of the second semi-final between England and Croatia.
Quarter Finals Recap
Before England got the boot in the explosive Semi-Finals they managed to succeed against the Swedes. Here's how the Quarter-Finals went down.
France vs Uruguay: France won 2-0.
France’s defence thwarted the Uruguayans, especially Luis Suarez who seemed to be missing the injured Edinson Cavani. Suarez did not manage a single shot at the goal thanks to the French defence stepping up to deny him.
For the French, Raphael Varane converted Antoine Griezmann's great pass to put them ahead at the 40-minute mark of the match. Four minutes after France took the lead thanks to Varane, Uruguay almost equalized. Hugo Lloris, the French goalkeeper, made a valiant dive to his right to keep out a header by Martin Caceres.
Griezmann himself scored at the 61-minute mark thanks to an error of judgement by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. The football hit Muslera on his palms and bounced off subsequently looping over him and going into the back of the goal.
Even though Kylian Mbappe didn't score in the match, he looked dangerous whenever he had the ball. He spent the match either directing speedy passes in Uruguay's half or trying to pull one of his uber-quick runs into Uruguay's penalty area.
Until this match, Uruguay had remained unbeaten in this World Cup and had saved 11 shots at the goal while letting in just a single goal in the previous four matches that Uruguay had played in the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
Brazil vs Belgium: Belgium won 2-1
Brazil was the sentimental favourite to win this match but stumbled against Belgium who won 2-1. Belgium went into the World Cup semi-finals thanks to an own goal by Fernandinho at the 13-minute mark. Kevin De Bruyne struck brilliantly at the 31-minute mark after an assist from Romelu Lukaku who went through the Brazilian midfield as if they were standing still.
Brazil, trailing by two goals, stepped up the pressure and poured into the Belgian half in an attempt to score, but Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was more than equal to the task. He successfully parried a header by Gabriel Jesus at the 36-minute mark and then stopped a fierce shot by Phillipe Coutinho.
Brazil scored a goal at the 76-minute mark, courtesy of Renato Augusto. Augusto's header at the end of a Coutinho chip brought relief to the Selecao and they renewed their attack in an attempt to equalise. There were two attempts which nearly helped Brazil draw level. The first was a shot by Augusto that just missed the goal. The second was an attempt by Coutinho who tried to put in a pass by Neymar, but ended up skying the shot instead.
With this loss, Neymar's Brazil has to go back home, while Belgium plays France in the semi-finals to win a spot in the finals.
Croatia vs Russia: Croatia won 4-3
Croatia went through to the semifinals by beating Russia on penalties by 4-3, after a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation time. With this loss, the valiant Russian team's dream run at this World Cup came to an end. Not too many people had expected Russia to win even a single game in this World Cup, but the lowest ranked team in the competition surprised a lot of people by making it so far.
Luka Modric, the mercurial Croatian midfielder was named the man of the match after yet another superb display during the match.
Russia took the lead after a goal by Denis Cheryshev at the 31-minute mark, but Croatian Andrej Kramaric equalised the score 8 minutes later. Domagoj Vida put Croatia in front at the 100-minute mark, but a consummate goal by Mario Fernandes at the 115-minute mark forced the match into extra time. After two goalless halves of extra time, the penalty shootout beckoned, which happened to be the second one for Croatia in successive matches. Danijel Subasic, the Croatian goalkeeper, was the hero for his team as he blocked Russian Fedor Smolov's shot during the penalty shootout. Russian Mario Fernandes missed his shot which meant that Croatia went through.
England vs Sweden: England won 2-0
England beat Sweden 2-0 thanks to goals by Harry Maguire and Dele Alli. Ashley Young took the corner kick to help Maguire head in his very first international goal at the 30-minute mark of the match. English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford denied Sweden thrice in quick succession after halftime. Dele Alli headed Jesse Lingard's looping cross into the Swedish goal at the 58-minute mark.
Pickford won man of the match for his successful effort in helping keep out Swedish attempts to score. His first save was a spectacular effort moments after half time, diving full stretch to keep a dangerous header by Marcus Berg out of the goal. The second save came moments after England's final goal, when Pickford flung himself to his right to keep out Viktor Claesson's low shot.
With this victory, England went into a World Cup semi-final for the first time in 28 years.
The group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2018 are over, and we are into "sudden-death" time. Football pundits from all over the world are unanimous in declaring this to be one of the most unpredictable and exciting World Cups ever.
During the group stages in the FIFA 2018 World Cup, 32 teams played in 8 groups of 4 teams each. Quite a few high octane matches took place, but the following were the most memorable ones:
1: Portugal vs Spain
This match ended in an exciting 3-3 draw, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick. His final goal was a sublime free kick in the dying moments of the match.
2: Germany vs Mexico
This match resulted in the defending champions losing to Mexico 0-1. Germany was unable to get past Guillermo Ochoa, the Mexican goalkeeper who pulled off some spectacular saves throughout the match.
3: Brazil vs Switzerland
This match ended with Switzerland holding the Brazilians to a 1-1 draw. Neymar, recovering from an injury before the World Cup, appeared a bit tentative and this could have contributed to the listless Brazilian performance.
4: Argentina vs Iceland
Iceland, taking part in its first ever World Cup, defended vigorously and denied Argentina, the 2014 finalists, the chance to win their first match. Willy Caballero, the Argentinian goalkeeper, messed up a clearance and Alfreð Finnbogason scored Iceland's first ever World Cup goal. To make matters worse for Argentina, Lionel Messi, one of the most lauded football stars in the world, fluffed a penalty.
5: Argentina vs Croatia
Argentina's World Cup went from bad to worse as Croatia hammered them 3-0. This was Argentina's biggest loss in the first round of a World Cup since 1958 when they had lost 1-6 to Czechoslovakia. Messi was a damp squib in this match without managing a single shot at goal until the 64-minute mark. Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric were the stars for Croatia who toyed with Argentina's players for the majority of the match.
6: England vs Panama
England routed Panama 6-1, recording their best-ever World Cup win, to storm into the second round. Harry Kane, aka "the hurricane", scored a hat-trick in this match to join company with John Stones who scored twice in the first half itself.
7: Germany vs South Korea
Arguably the biggest upset of the first round, South Korea pummelled Germany 2-0. This loss meant that Germany was knocked out in the group stages and unable to proceed to the second round. With 74% ball possession and 28 shots at the goal, Germany appeared to control the match but was stunned by Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min of South Korea in the second and sixth minute of injury time.
With most of the renowned football teams having made it to the second round (except for Germany), the battle lines were drawn, and football aficionados across the world were waiting with bated breath to watch some exciting matches. Out of the 16 teams that qualified, the favourites were Brazil, Spain, Portugal, England and Argentina. Little did the world know that within a short space of four days most predictions would fall by the wayside, old stars would falter at the final hurdle and new stars would dot the firmament of global football. Here is what happened in each of the eight matches that took place in the round of 16.
8: Argentina vs France: France won (4-3)
Not too many people outside of a select few had heard of Kylian Mbappe, who represents Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the French Ligue. Before this World Cup, Mbappe was mainly known as the second most expensive player ever in club football, with PSG having forked out a whopping EUR€180 million for him.
He scored his first World Cup goal during France's group stage match against Peru, making him the youngest goalscorer from France. But it was his exploits in the second-round match against Argentina that made the world sit up and anoint him as somebody to keep an eye out for.
During the match, Mbappe was so fast on his feet that Argentina's veteran midfielders and defenders seemed to be sleepwalking. It was Mbappe who was hacked down by the last of Argentina's defenders to give France the penalty that was confidently converted by Antoine Griezmann for France's first goal.
The hearts of the Argentinian fans stopped for a while after this blow, but they started beating again when their team stoutly tried to make up the deficit. Angel di Maria hit a 25-yard stunner to equalise for Argentina at the 41-minute mark. The rest of the first half was akin to a fencing match, with feints and counter-feints. But this appeared to be a different France to the one that had seemed to sleepwalk their way into the second round.
Three minutes after halftime, Gabriel Mercado scored to put Argentina in front. Messi took the shot from outside the penalty box, but Mercado stuck his foot out to divert the ball past the diving French goalkeeper.
With Argentina leading 2-1, many expected the French player's spirits to wilt. But, instead, they stepped up the pressure and started making frequent forays into the Argentinian half.
Benjamin Pavard took a long-range shot from outside the Argentine penalty box to score and put France ahead at the 57-minute mark. It was a beautiful right foot half-volley that unerringly found the back of the goal.
Thus far, the match was turning out to be more exciting than many had expected, but more was to come. Mbappe had been threatening to break loose throughout the match, and his first goal came by him bursting left and catching a loose ball from Lucaz Hernandez's cross. He then unleashed a shot that went like a tracer bullet past Franco Armani. His second goal was a stunning finish at the end of a series of passes that started from Hugo Lloris, went to Samuel Umiti, then to Griezmann and then on to Blaise Matuidi who passed the ball to Olivier Giroud who successfully picked up Mbappe deep in the Argentinian half.
France was leading by two goals to one at the end of the 68-minute mark, and Argentina tried to step it up to somehow find a way to keep their World Cup dreams alive. Messi fell back to more of a midfield position trying desperately to find somebody who would be able to finish off his passes. Sergio Aguero managed to score in the third minute of injury time, but by then it was too late to make a difference.
As the final whistle blew, the dreams of Messi to lead his country to win a World Cup were shattered – at least for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
9: Portugal vs Uruguay: Uruguay won (2-1)
Edinson Cavani struck two goals in this marquee match and helped Uruguay stride into the World Cup quarterfinals. With this loss, the dreams of Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo ended for this World Cup at least. Pepe from Portugal, scored the equaliser in the second half after Cavani had headed the first goal of the match on behalf of Uruguay just before the end of the first half. But Uruguay was not to be denied as Cavani curled in a superb shot 17 minutes into the second.
Was this the last we’ve seen of Ronaldo in a World Cup, arguably one of the best strikers ever? Only time will tell.
10: Spain vs Russia: Russia won [1(4)-1(3)]
Russia was not expected to make it past the first round of this World Cup, and when they did, a lot of fans expected Spain to knock them out in the second round. However, by the end of a dramatic afternoon, football gurus from the world over were grappling for words. The end result was Russia knocking out Spain during an exciting penalty session after a 1-1 draw. First blood was drawn early in the match by Spain thanks to an own goal by Russia's Sergei Ignashevish. Artem Dzyuba levelled the score at the 41-minute mark. The rest of the game in regular time was a game of attrition, with neither team giving an inch.
The penalty session was nerve-racking for the spectators and the players. Igor Akinfeev turned out to be the hero denying a shot by Spain's Koke and then denying Iago Aspas's effort during the dramatic shootout.
11: Croatia vs Denmark: Croatia won [1(3)-1(2)]
Denmark lost to Croatia by 3-2 on penalties after the teams played to a 1-1 draw during regulation time and the subsequent extra time. Kasper Schmeichel, the son of iconic goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, saved a Luka Modric penalty during extra time to prevent Croatia from going ahead. However, Modric kept his nerve during the penalty shootout to score a goal. Both teams had scored each of their goals in the first four minutes of the match, elevating the heartbeats of all the fans watching the game. However, the rest of the game was goalless, and the penalty shootout had thrills worthy of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. At the end of it all, Danijel Subašić was the hero for Croatia as he saved Christian Eriksen's and Nicolai Jorgensen's efforts during the penalties.
12: Brazil v Mexico: Brazil won (2-0)
Neymar helped Brazil enter the quarterfinals by scoring a goal and assisting in a second one during their win over Mexico. Neymar scored the first goal at the 51-minute mark after a first half which saw the Brazilian team start cautiously before coming into their own after the break. Neymar took advantage of a beautiful cross by Willian, making no mistake in front of the goal. Mexico immediately piled on the pressure, but the Brazilian team’s staunch defence held them off until Neymar's assist to Roberto Firmino put the issue of qualification beyond any doubt.
13: Belgium v Japan: Belgium won (3-2)
Nacer Chadli scored deep into second-half stoppage time to complete Belgium's 3-2 comeback win against Japan in the World Cup round of 16 on Monday.
The win puts Belgium into the quarterfinals, setting up a mouth-watering clash with Brazil in the last-eight.
The first half was goalless, with neither team giving an inch. But, Japan scored twice within the first ten minutes of the second half thanks to goals by Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui. The rest of the second half was thrilling with Belgium finally tying the game. They were successful thanks to goals by Jan Vertonghen at the 69-minute mark and Marouane Fellaini at the 74-minute mark.
Chadli scored during the stoppage time of the second half to send the plucky Asian team out of the World Cup.
14: Sweden v Switzerland: Sweden won (1-0)
Switzerland fought hard with Sweden during their attritional match before Emil Forsberg scored the winner at the 66-minute mark. He was helped in part by a deflection by Switzerland's defender Manuel Akanji. The entire game was gritty, with both teams defending well. There were speculative forays by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and Sweden's Marcus Berg in the first half, but both their shots were off target. With this win, Sweden successfully laid to rest the cult of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden's prolific striker who had retired internationally after being the captain of the team during Euro 2016.
15: Colombia v England: England won [1(4)-1(3)]
England finally won a penalty shootout in an international football match. The last time they had successfully prevailed in penalties was when their 24-year-old goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, was two years old. The match itself was one of the ugliest of this World Cup with thirty-six fouls and eight yellow cards handed out by the referee.
England initially took the lead through Harry Kane's successful penalty at the 57-minute mark. In the third minute of stoppage time, Colombia's Yerry Mina headed the ball into the England goal to drag the match into extra time and the subsequent penalties.
English fans were biting their nails because of their team's poor record in penalties. But Pickford turned out to be the hero by stopping Carlos Bacca's shot during the penalty shootout. Eric Dier calmly slotted in England's next shot to win the penalty shootout, which was followed by delirious scenes in the England camp and back home in Old Blighty.
World Cup 2018 Penalty Stats: Is VAR the issue?
We crunched the numbers before the semi-finals kicked off and by the end of the knockouts, World Cup 2018 had broken a new record for penalties given. For an in-depth analysis of the data below, check out our breakdown here.
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