World Cup TV Schedule 2018: Guide for Semi-Finals and Upcoming MatchesJuly 10, 2018
The penultimate phase of the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets under way on Tuesday as France take on Belgium in the first of our semi-finals, before England face Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for the second final spot.
Belgium have had the longest wait between semi-final appearances of the four teams left, with 22 years having passed since they finished fourth in Mexico, while upcoming foes France were World Cup runners-up in 2006.
England may be the favourites to win their last-four meeting, but it's the Croatians who last made a semi-final—when they came third at France 1998—while the Three Lions' second and most recent trip to the semis was in 1990.
We take a look at this week's World Cup semi-final slate and provide an information guide on how to view the last four as they battle for a spot in the Moscow final.
Tuesday, July 10
France vs. Belgium, 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)
Wednesday, July 11
Croatia vs. England, 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)
Visit Fox Soccer Match Pass for live-stream services in the U.S., or ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer in the UK.
Gareth Southgate has rallied a youthful and impassioned England team on an unlikely path to Russia's final four, but on Wednesday they face a Croatia side that's displayed incredible grit to reach this point.
The obvious downside of their penalty shootout wins over Denmark and Russia is in the stamina used. The physical and mental drain of one more shootout result than England in their last two matches could be telling, although the Evening Standard's Tom Collomosse argued against that narrative:
The Three Lions are a team that relies on the the sum of its parts, but there's little understating the importance of striker Harry Kane, top scorer in the competition with six goals.
Croatia rely on the team, too, considering their nine goals are spread among eight players, Luka Modric being the only one to score twice. Coach Zlatko Dalic backs his defence, which has failed to keep a clean sheet in its last three outings, to stop Kane, via Sky Sports News:
Southgate and Dalic both assumed their national team roles just last year but have worked swiftly to lift pride in their countries as one pre-tournament underdog prepares to take its place in the Moscow decider on Sunday.
Two days before the 20th anniversary of their famous romp over Brazil to lift the 1998 World Cup, France take on the side that recently bested the Selecao to reach Tuesday's semi at the St. Petersburg Stadium.
The top half of the bracket was always viewed as the tougher side of this World Cup, and statistician Simon Gleave pointed to the victor of this match going on as the favourite heading into the final:
Both Belgium and France will be as healthy as one can hope for travelling to St. Petersburg, neither having been forced to play more than the regulation 90 minutes in any matches en route to the last four.
We should therefore hope for a potential match of the tournament between two vibrant, in-form giants of the world scene. Each boast attacking lineups of the highest quality, with Romelu Lukaku, who has four goals in Russia, leading the line for the Red Devils, while scorer of three Kylian Mbappe looks to do more damage for Les Bleus, per OptaJean:
Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen is unlikely to start in Roberto Martinez's defence come Tuesday, but the Barcelona centre-back highlighted the threat of France's leading scorer, via Goal:
N'Golo Kante's influence for Didier Deschamps' side has been telling thus far, and it's debatable as to whether they would have come this far without him, so it will be intriguing to see Martinez's plan in overcoming the Chelsea anchor.
Both Belgium and Croatia are targeting their maiden appearances in a World Cup final, while the more seasoned nations in that regard, England and France, are looking to revive the glory of previous wins.