OT: 2018 World Cup - Semifinals

28 down. Three to go. This past weekend saw four more teams fall short. The last four teams are guaranteed two more matches. Where do we stand as we head into the final week of World Cup 2018?

Uruguay 0-2 France - France dominated this game and it never looked to be in doubt. Book-ending the half time intermission with the only two goals of the match, France was in control throughout and punched their ticket to meet Belgium in the Semifinals. Most believe the winner of the France-Belgium tie will have the best shot at winning the Final.

Brazil 1-2 Belgium - Belgium looked to be in control early with two goals only 1/3 through the match. Brazil, to their credit, never gave up which made for an entertaining game for the viewers. Their goal in the 76th minute amped up the pressure for both sides but ultimately Belgium was able to stave off the Brazilian attack and take the win in regulation.

Sweden 0-2 England - Similarly to the France v Uruguay match this one never seemed to be in doubt. England was mostly dominant throughout the game and won comfortably to advance to the Semifinals.

Russia 2(3)-2(4) Croatia Croatia survived against the home-town underdogs. Russia scored first but could not keep Croatia from scoring for long. Both teams scored once in extra time but Russia made a costly mistake in the penalty shootout to open the door for Croatia to break the hearts of the Russians. Still, this will be an historic run for Russia which will be remembered fondly by Russians for a long time, I imagine.

Semifinals!

A lot has happened in the last three weeks but it's hard to believe we've almost reached the end. With only four teams and four matches remaining this edition of the World Cup is wrapping up in an exciting way. The remaining teams have a combined two World Cup championships. There is potential for history to be made this week. Croatia and Belgium have opportunities to win their country's first ever. France and England each have an opportunity to join the more elite group of champions with multiple championships.

France v Belgium - Tuesday 10 July, 2018
Many will say this match will feature the eventual champion. I'm sure both sides will feel that pressure to some degree. Belgium has looked strong from day one. France came out of the gate slowly but appear to be firing on all cylinders now when it matters most. I expect this to be a very entertaining match and there is potential for a lot of goals (which is odd this deep in the tournament). Both teams have plenty of goal scoring fire power and both sides' defenses have shown cracks throughout the tournament. If you had to pick between watching this match or Wednesdays, this is the one to pick.

Croatia v England - Wednesday 11 July, 2018
England figures to be favored but Croatia has been one of the more balanced teams in this World Cup. England may count on Croatia being tired and beaten up after two consecutive matches decided by penalties. Conversely, that experience could benefit Croatia down the stretch, should this game come to kicks. On paper, this one doesn't look to be as compelling as the France-Belgium tie but it could be a close, hard fought match between somewhat contrasting sides.

Winners will play in the Final on Sunday. Losers will see each other in the 3rd place match on Saturday. Regardless of what happens all four teams should be very happy with their position at this stage. Reaching the final four is no easy task and these teams and fans have nothing to be upset about.

As always, discuss below and Happy Watching!!

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Comments

I'm sad it's almost over, but thank God for the World Cup. It has made the offseason so much more bearable. It's like having a second march madness to tide you over until fall camp starts.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Will be rooting for Croatia to take it all now. Modric is life, Modric is love. Hala Madrid.

Also, really looking forward to that France Belgium game.

I believe winner of France and Belgium will win the whole thing, pending disciplinary records/suspensions.

I like England to beat Croatia and I will uncomfortably go with Belgium to beat France. I missed most of the semis for a wedding weekend - only got to watch extra time in Croatia v Russia.

Chem PhD '16

I got Belgium and England winning.

Normally, I'd take Croatia over England, but seeing just how utterly gassed they were throughout ET against Russia, even on a few days rest, I am not sure they're going to have the legs to keep up with England's attack for a full 90.

I think Belgium-France is going to be a great hard fought game that will leave the winner gassed themselves, I'm going with England to win it all, despite being the worst team in the semis. Pickford is absolutely killing it out there, the defense is doing just enough, and that offensive attack is relentless.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I believe if Belgium beats France and England beats Croatia, then England will have made a final (and potentially could win the final, obviously) without having played a single former champion in the tournament. This hasn't happened since West Germany in like 1974 or something.

I don't dislike England at all, but objectively they have had a shockingly easy path. Group with 2 good and 2 very bad teams makes for an easy path to Ro16, got the easier side of the bracket by coming in 2nd, got Colombia without their best and most important player, and got Sweden in the quarters. Would put this up there with Argentina's 2014 path to the final as one of the easiest ever in my lifetime.

Absolutely, and its why I said earlier that they won despite losing to Belgium. They guaranteed themselves the easiest possible path to this stage, and now they don't even have to face Spain, its a Croatia team that has gone to penalties the last 2 matches after some insanely crazy ET play, while England got by a hobbled Colombia, barely broke a sweat against Sweden, and go into the Semis completely rested.

Meanwhile, Belgium had to open against a surprisingly tough Japan, then faced Brazil, and now gets a rested France. Belgium probably has the best team left, but I'm wondering how beaten and battered they're going to be after running that kind of gauntlet against an England team that might enter the game fresh.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I definitely agree that Belgium will be more worn out than France. I am really hoping that this game will be as wide open as the Belgium-Brazil game as these two teams are two of the most absurdly talented sides, based purely on quality. Would love to see a game full of attacking, open play. France really has an embarrassment of riches as far as depth goes, but it still feels to me like they aren't entirely sure what their best XI is. I believe Belgium has a much better sense of their best XI outside of the strange Carrasco as a wingback nonsense.

I believe Croatia will be missing a number of players due to yellow card accumulation...England will have their full squad to choose from...so naturally, England will lose.

Winner of Belgium/France to take it all. Please.

Unless Croatia beats England, then I'm happy no matter what. Although I doubt I could be any happier than if Oli Giroud nodded in the winning goal in the 88th minute of the final.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

That Russia-Croatia game was...not good. I didn't see pretty ball from either side and maybe Russia drove that style with their park the bus defense, but I just don't see Croatia as a world beater right now. England should have won 4-0 over Sweden and at some point their lack of finishing is going to get them, but I don't think it happens against Croatia.

Bold prediction: the winner of Belgium/France has a key player get sent off and England actually takes advantage and wins it all.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I think you could argue that it is Croatia's lack of finishing that has kept them from looking like world beaters. Their midfield has bossed every match, but they have squandered so many opportunities in front of goal. They should have easily beat Russia and Denmark in 90' if they could finish their chances. Mandzukic has been very wasteful in front of goal for the most part this WC.

I think that Russia did a great job of roughing up Rakatic, who is a world class midfielder but a little bit soft. Any team that gives him time and does not get inside his cage is going to have to deal with the dual headed monster that is Rakatic / Modric. Russia did a great job making that game the Modric show. I don't love Modric, always feel like I could do what this little guy does. But he is tough, he puts in the work, and seems to elevate his game for the big challenges and big shots. If England doesn't realize that Rakatic is a much more skillful player than Modric and needs to be planned for if only because Modric is so tough and driven, they risk losing out to a midfield centric team.

I just don't think Croatia can beat England unless Rakatic, and Rabic elevate their games to a Modric like level. Even then Mandzukic will have to play a part and the orchestration has been just good enough so far. Not sure they are going to be able to make it happen against the English back line. Still staying with my Croatia pick, but they are going to have to elevate to win tomorrow. Will be easier for England to win this game.

I knew the announcers explained that Sterling was doing a lot of work off the ball to free up space for other players but my goodness, he was shit. Has been the whole tournament. Seems like most of the time he gets the ball, he either loses it or passes it backwards. Put in Rashford and hopefully that solves the problem. Sterling one-on-one with a goalkeeper is comical, has been since his Liverpool days.

so disagree. Sterling has by far been England's most dynamic player. He is doing all the work on the attacking end linking up play between the midfield and Kane.

Me thinks you're a tad biased. That dude opened up the sweden defense time and again and his stats this season speak for themselves. The guy was a part of 36 goals and had a .90 goals and assists per game which is higher than 1 harry kane

Just look at england vs Columbia after sterling was subbed off for vardy. They were all poachers with no substance. Sterling is absolutely crucial to Englands game

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

He was creating a lot. He's snakebit more than anything. Without Sweden's keeper making a pretty impressive stop on a nifty move by Sterling to get around him, he would have easily netted one last game toward the end of the first half.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

^a historic run for Russia

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Their football team may not be the best, but my goodness Russia's doping program is still #1!

Okay, prediction time. (disclaimer: both of these picks are extremely biased)

I think Belgium will surprise France and win a high scoring affair 4-3

England will survive against Croatia by scoring a late go-ahead-goal to avoid extra time and finish 2-1

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Croatia looked so beat up against Russia, it's hard to see them being able to hang 90 minutes with England. I think it'll be a close first half, but I would expect England to create some separation in the second and win by 2 or 3.

And now it's time to show the world
That victory is ours tonight

I think England will look much better in the second half. Corluka in for Vrsaljko is a big deal for Croatian defense

Chem PhD '16

it took me a second to realize those were names. I thought you might have had a seizure while typing.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Chem PhD '16

You should be glad that Poland didn't make out of the group stage, then

I hope you are right but I'm still a jaded England fan so even my optimistic predictions are infused with cynicism. I'd love a 4-0 win for England which I think is entirely possible with the talent we have. But at the same time usually I can count on England to keep me on the edge of my seat far longer than I'd like

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Enjoy the moment, whatever happens, its been a good run for England.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

True! I'm very very pleased. And a loss tomorrow doesn't mean all is lost. They'll have one more game to try for 3rd.

I think an England Belgium final would be interesting, especially if England were to win. How many times has the world cup champion beaten the only team to also beat them in a tournament? Or put another way, when have the two teams in the final played each other twice and traded wins?

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Stuck at work and I have to say... the FoxSports stream of this game is utter garbage... Its worse than ESPN during football season.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Giroud's performance so far has been... bad.

some moments of great hold up and iffy attempts at finishing, ie The Olivier Giroud Experience

Chem PhD '16

I don't dislike the guy at all, he just feels so out of place on this young, incisive, and pacey French team that loves to get out on the break. His iffy attempts at finishing haven't been easy chances, but if his reason for being on the pitch is to finish chances and hold up play, then he needs to be more clinical.

He's there to hold up play, win aerial duels, and feed the ball to the overrunning pacey players like Griezmann. This wasn't his best performance but France's goals come from Giroud's assists, not as much his shots.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

No doubt he has a role to play, Giroud is the poster boy of the lunk it deep so he can flick it on to a pacey player running in behind him, I still think he doesn't fit the style of this French team very well. That isn't to say it doesn't work and this French team won't win it all anyway. It's a small complaint on my part, but I do think the future of the French team will not rely on this type of large, traditional, target man 9.

That might be a little reductive. There are few target men who are as adept at passing in tight spaces than he is. But I agree with your overall assessment of "awkward fit" with the French side.

Chem PhD '16

great header by Umtiti at the near post. now that there's a goal, this game is gonna get wide open

Chem PhD '16

France 1-0 Belgium...Umtiti with a header from a corner. Cracking game.

France gets on the board. And now the game should become real fun.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

goodness gracious that pass

Chem PhD '16

why are these semi final games on a weekday again? bummed I can't watch 'em

Because the Final has to be on a weekend and there isn't much time to host the tournament. Most professional leagues get underway again in a little over a month.

The fact that Mbappe plays for PSG makes me furious. I'm just not a fan of Ligue 1 in general, it's too easy for these stars.

Edit: Hahaha bad with geography, was too caught up on Ronaldo.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Um, you sure you mean Serie A?

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Chem PhD '16

You're so furious I think your wires may have gotten crossed for a second there

Just a tad bit.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

huh, and here I always thought if PSG was going to move, it would have been to the Bundesliga

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

If anything, PSG is going to join the Warriors.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Neymar to the Warriors?

I thought he played for Duke?

You...good one!!!

I'm a man! I'm 44! Hokie thru and thru.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

So now we might be looking at France-England?

What a boring matchup, there are no potential storylines and historical rivalry to play up there, boo.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

England v Belgium could still happen...more hot reserve-on-reserve action

Called it! England were like Barca in the first half and bath city thereafter

this is sarcasm yes?

It's not like they had a Hundred Years' War or anything...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I'm just glad it didn't go to extra time. Hopefully Les Bleus get nice and rested up for the big day.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Some absolutely indefensible dives in that game. And Mbappe's antics at the end were shameful. I'll be rooting hard for England or Croatia on Sunday.

Some absolutely indefensible dives in that game

I first read this as "absolutely indefensible divas", and it still made sense.

"Tajh Boyd over the middle . . . and it's caught for an interception! Michael Cole, lying flat on his back, ARE YOU KIDDING???"

Indeed. Mbappe shredded the Belgian defense in a way that hasn't been done since Germany in the 40's. Kid is extremely talented on the ball, and is a ton of fun to watch when he plays, but the shit he pulled in that game was trash. Running around with the ball like a jackass wasting time has no place on the pitch, and I wish referees addressed it more harshly.

And here we go! Is Croatia going to gut out another one, or is England going to continue this run all the way to the WC Final match?

It definitely sounds like they are playing in Wembley East

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

TRIPPIER! What a perfect start for England!

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

COYS 😎

VB born, class of '14

It's now guaranteed that they'll keep a 1-0 lead until Croatia scores in stoppage time. Then they'll score quickly in extra time only to see Croatia score on their last possession to send it to penalties. At that point, England's fifth shooter will sky it on a wide open net for the loss.

You're in peak England fan form right now... and I can appreciate that

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

And classic England tripps over their own shoelaces the rest of the game

What a strike.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

If England keeps pressing that Croatia defense like they are, the length of those last 2 games are really going to play a part

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I'm still stuck on one play from this game so far other than the free kick. When Pickford came out to about the 16 yard spot in about the 8th minute, made the save, and hit a perfect line drive punt right on the feet of Sterling. It was perfect.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

He's been a legitimate difference maker for England this tournament. He keeps this up, and he'll have himself quite a payday in the coming years.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Especially at only 24. He gets a tad bit over ambitious at times, but if that's his biggest fault I'd be perfectly okay. His technical and fundamental skills have been fantastic thoroughout this tournament.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

At this point I'm not sure how Croatia hasn't earned about 4 or 5 yellow cards so far.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Walkers yellow was weak considering Lovren did the same thing with no punishment. I'd be leaving extra on all my tackles if i'm England now

VB born, class of '14

Oh Walker will be speaking falsetto for a month after that one

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Here we go

VB born, class of '14

England gets way too sloppy on defense, and Croatia finally makes them pay

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I think it's more apt to say perisic made a beautiful run around two defenders to get to that ball tbh

VB born, class of '14

if the previous games are any indication, croatia's energy is gonna fall off a cliff in the next 30 minutes

Chem PhD '16

I'm honestly shocked and incredibly impressed they've lasted this long

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

obviously heavy legs on both sides now

Chem PhD '16

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

Second time the far linesman missed a blatant ball out of play, both benefitting Croatia. Hmmmm

VB born, class of '14

great save by pickford, then looks like knee-to-knee with mandzukic. key moment

Chem PhD '16

3 consecutive OT games, possibly on the way to PK's for a third time. I don't even understand how Croatia still has legs under them.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

These refs have been missing so much out there. Dele Alli looked like he might have a break, gets studs up to the calf, and play is allowed to continue... Guys are getting bodied and literally shoved off the ball, nothing... its embarrassing

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

kinda reminds me of playoff hockey where people get decked left and right while handling the puck with no penalty

England is pretty fucked now

Horrible, horrible defending

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Things that are not coming home: it

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Croatia have been superior since the start of the second half, now the scoreline shows it.

>stand up to attend to work for 2 minutes
>miss goal

Chem PhD '16

and Croatia are through! I'm surprised

Chem PhD '16

This really was a classic England collapse. For all intents and purposes, they should have been the better team today and they allowed Croatia, to completely dictate play despite being by far the more fresh team. This will be the kind of wasted opportunity that will haunt English soccer for a very, very long time to come.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I definitely agree it's a wasted opportunity because of the relatively gift-wrapped path to the final, but the majority of the key players on this team will be back for the next WC. Their best players are all quite young for the most part.

Modric and Rakatic are world class footballers.

England has noone at that level. Unclear whether any of these young England players will become world class footballers.

Beyond that the culture of the Croatian team could be described as "war-torn". Doubt England can develop that kind of culture in their national football team.

I would argue that Harry Kane is on the level of Rakitic (though Rakitic has had a wonderful world cup), and is already a proven striker. He's scored consistently for enough seasons to know he is a real deal striker. The key for the England squad's future lies with a few other players taking the next step into being world class. Will Rashford become a consistent and dangerous winger/forward, will Sterling continue to develop into a world class winger, will Dele Alli take the next step as a midfielder? Lots of guys who could take big steps forward but we will all have to wait and see.

The key for the England squad's future lies with a few other players taking the next step into being world class.

I think that's the biggest difference when you compare England & Croatia's squad. Croatia's starting 11 is full of experienced players who play for big teams.

GK - Subašić (Monaco)
LB - Strinić (AC Milan)
CB - Lovren (Liverpool)
CB - Vida (Beşiktaş)
RB - Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid)
MF - Brozović (Inter Milan)
MF - Perišić (Inter Milan)
MF - Modrić (Real Madrid)
MF - Rakitić (Barcelona)
ST - Mandžukić (Juventus)

When you look at it like that, it's not surprising at all that Croatia won. These guys are all coming from Champions League caliber squads.

These guys are all coming from Champions League caliber squads

AC Milan hasn't finished better than sixth in Serie A since 2012-13, and Inter Milan hasn't finished better than 4th since 2010-11. 4 years without UCL for Milan and 6 for Inter. The quality of club sides isn't all that different.

Is that really all that different from:
GK - Pickford (Everton)
CB - Stones (Manchester City)
CB - Maguire (Leicester City)
CB - Walker (Manchester City)
WB - Trippier (Tottenham)
WB - Young (Manchester United)
MF - Henderson (Liverpool)
MF - Alli (Tottenham)
MF - Lingard (Manchester United)
ST - Sterling (Manchester City)
ST - Kane (Tottenham)

Chem PhD '16

edit: see Gobble Gobble Chumps above ^^

VB born, class of '14

Chem PhD '16

I'm kinda with you in that I feel both guys are not athletic enough to succeed without a good team around them, but Harry Kane didn't play well in the Croatia game and World Cup overall, whether it due to a lack of service (he had some opps) or due to him not playing well, I dunno. So ultimately I'm not buying, though I do think Kane at 24 will become what Rakatic at 30 has become. Just has to plan his next steps carefully (including staying at Tottenham if that is what he decides). And yes I am implying that Tottenham is not Barca, but with Pochetino at the helm is trending that direction, and Poch is probably vital in developing the English youth over the next 4 years. And Rakatic has had some down moments in this cup, I will be disappointed if France doesn't target him as the weak link in the Croatian midfield. Hope he can step up, show them wrong and make it a thriller.

Very happy to see Croatia through to the final, both as a small country, and a country that was recently (during many of these players childhoods) ravaged by atrocities and war crimes. Will continue rooting for my man Modric as well.

The atrocities were in Bosnia by and large...not Croatia...FWIW

Let's not get too political here about history, but the Balkan War was brutal for every nation involved.

Even the Albanians playing for Switzerland got in on it after beating Serbia earlier in the tournament.

Several of these Croat players grew up in Italy and Spain cause their families fled the war.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Croatia needed to beat Ukraine in Kiev on the last day of qualifying just to make the playoff, and now they're in the final.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

It's a Cinderella story. Like Alabama sneaking into the CFP as an at-large and winning the whole thing.

I'm not sure why Alli is still starting games. He's not impressed in some time. Kane was bad. The substitutions were baffling.

And it all makes me so happy. Croatia deserves this.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Alli was good...sterling is and was shit...end of

Nah can't agree. Dele was no better than Sterling and in my opinion was actually worse, and had a far worse tournament overall. Ruben Loftus-Cheek would have offered more to England's midfield.

But it is as it seemed in the first game England played this tournament. Wasteful in front of goal during open play.

Dier coming on for Henderson was... I don't even know what Southgate was going for there.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Haven't watched the game, but the commentator was saying the English midfield looked beat. They brought in Rose and he brought some pace, even if somewhat unrefined uncontrolled, and energy. I didn't get to see Henderson to know if he was tired, but sometimes you have to triage with fresh legs.

I get that the unexceptional midfield play put too much pressure on the d, but I'd probably say it was 70% on the shoddy defensive clearances, shoddy defensive footwork, and Stones waving to Mum in the crowd that undid this English team. I thought Pep's boys were going to be the cornerstone, but uh, no, they weren't.

Stones' header that was cleared off the line was as close as Pep's boys got to being the heroes.

arsenal avi and blaming spurs players for england's failures, way to stay on #brand

I'm actually more pointing out the managerial failures, but sure, no secret I don't like the Spuds out there, but it's not just Arsenal fans who see that Alli has been off form for the better part of a year.

Trippier and Rose were great, if that soothes your ire any.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Don't forget Kane or else he'll call you out again 🙄

Chem PhD '16

Kane was abysmal vs. Croatia, but his tournament overall was okay.

He's not dat guy though.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

He did not have a very good tournament, likely Golden Boot notwithstanding.

Chem PhD '16

He scored what he should have against the 'easier' competition, and fair play for that. Still important to finish PKs and set pieces. Giroud for example would be crucified if he missed that sitter in the first half against Croatia though.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

no ire, just funny...my question is who should've started in dele's place? yeah Kane wasn't great against croatia

I'd have started Loftus Cheek in Dele's place for this one, as I feel he's looked more dangerous in his substitute minutes. I know they're not quite like for like but it's close. I think long term Oxlade Chamberlain is going to have to get looks in that role as well.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

"long term Oxlade Chamberlain is going to have to get looks in that role as well."
- Yeppers. And not to suggest a change is actually needed - I thought they were refreshing, and think they have a great core group.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I've had time to think about this and process it...but what my old boss (who's from bristol) said years ago rings true: it's the hope that kills you...yep, I fell for it again

I didn't think Croatia could sustain three - THREE - overtime games and overcome. This is destiny. I don't mind Les Bleus but I'm on #teamCroatia.

Although completely different in style, this feels like Euro 2004 where Greece just kept on winning to lift the trophy.

Let's go Croatia, please don't let the LOLUVA of countries win the World Cup

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Big difference between France and LOLUVA - France has actually won something

I was speaking more to some attitude and cultural similarities between the two.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

2 things.

1. I'm disappointed that England lost to Croatia but I'm still really pleased with how well they did otherwise. They went much deeper in the tournament than expected and to reach the semis is nothing to be upset about. Consider me pleased and optimistic about future!

2. I've been traveling and am without a computer. Can someone spot me and create the final weekend post please?

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Done and Doner

Chem PhD '16

Agreed. I think if Ox-Cham had been healthy he really could have made a huge difference for both club and country in the big ones. Hope he's ready to go by November.

First I thought that England was just unlucky and eventually they'd have to start making those chances. Then sometime during the Croatia game I realized that I couldn't call it bad luck anymore. At some point putting the ball in the net is a skill that they just lacked. They should have been up 3-0 at the half against Croatia but they just failed to finish. To pull a John Madden, the only thing Croatia did better for the bulk of that game was score and that's how you win a game. And it's true even when they only scored in the second half and in extra time.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Pickford yelling down at Mandzukic when he had just walloped him provided an excellent opportunity for karma, and the universe provided in extra time.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!