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2018 FIFA World Cup: Semifinals Pre-Deadline Chat

Avengers? Cinderella? Are we in the right place? Let’s get you ready for the semifinal round.

Belgium v Panama: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
I can’t remember which team i’m supposed to root for mate.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Did you have a childhood love who went away to camp or school, maybe moved away for a little while leaving you sad? Then that person eventually came back to you looking even better than you remembered and you were all happy inside.

I have loved every bit of this World Cup. Having seen every one since 1990, I’d go as far as to say it’s the best I've watched. It’s been too long since Ivan Rakitic scored the final penalty to send Russians to bed weeping, but today we can all smile and be full of joy because the semifinals are here.

The past few days would have been busy for fantasy managers, having to use their five free transfers in the McDonald’s FIFA format carefully to replace players and strategize when to use any remaining chips. We have also seen the official Fantasy Premier League (FPL) price list released in the last few days, and we’ll have you covered on that end soon.

The first semifinal is sort of like Captain America and Iron Man having their pick of Avengers going up against each other, with France and Belgium featuring squads loaded with top class players. Many pundits have expected much of this group of Belgium players recently, but they failed to produce in Brazil in 2014 and also at Euro 2016, leaving this as their best chance at achieving success. A front three of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne was used in the quarterfinal against Brazil and we may quite possibly see it again. Roberto Martinez must be envied for having the ability to call upon such a unit. The French will have the pair of Rafael Varane and Samuel Umtiti at the back charged with stopping those players. What a battle we have to look forward to!

While those two teams were expected to do well in the tournament, the second semifinal is going to give one team the chance to write a Cinderella story. Croatia and England were not expected to reach the final in Russia, but it’s exactly what one will do. I think this will come down to a tale of duos; who will lift their team? On one side we have the pair of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, maestros for arguably the two biggest clubs on the planet. On the other we have Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, younger players who can explode on the world stage with goals and pace.

I hope the magic we have seen to this point continues, that Thierry Henry remembers which team he is working for, and that newcomers to the game who have been filled with the amazing tournament we have seen thus far continue after the conclusion in Russia and join in on the FPL fun the rest of the year.

Who do you think is the best captain choice for the semifinals? Which two teams do you expect to advance? Use the comments below to share your thoughts before the action on the field commences.