With the FIFA World Cup 2018 quarterfinals now set, its time to talk about the two teams who may have the best chance of making deep runs to the semis–and possibly the finals in Moscow in Croatia and Belgium.
In case you missed it, Croatia advanced to the quarters in a thrilling 3-2 win in penalties over a stubborn Denmark side.
While they are not flashy, big name players such as Luka “The Magician” Modric, “Super Mario” Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Rakitic, are leading a talented Croat side that is buying into Zlatko Dalic’s total football, team-oriented game that is making them hard to beat.
While they will be outnumbered vs. a very hot host Russian side, in what will be a very emotional game in Sochi, if Croatia can knock off Russia on their home turf–in their country–then all bets are off.
In the case of Belgium, perhaps no team–other than France–has as much youthful talent, explosiveness and ballers than the Red Devils. Coached by Roberto Martinez and former Champions League champions such as Theirry Henry and Miroslav Klose, Belgium’s young star-studded stable of scorers in Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Felliani, Dries Martens, Vincent Kompany, Mousa Dembele and a solid goalkeeper in Thiabult Courtois, make Belgium a formidable side that is going to be a tough out for the Neymar-led Selecao in Kazan.
Personally, it wouldn’t shock me if Belgium upsets Brazil due to the overall talent, youth and having more options in playmaking and scoring than Brazil.
Croatia has the easier path to Moscow, where they may cross paths with a Harry Kane-led England and a flying-under-the-radar Sweden, who may be an even deadlier threat, while Belgium may have to get past either France or Uruguay in the semis.
Both sides have quite a road ahead of them, but both Croatia and Belgium have the talent, coaching and intangibles to make an already exciting World Cup that much more interesting!