Our event of the day is the FIFA World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England. Croatia have quietly gone about their business this tournament. They emerged from the group stages with three wins out of three, including an impressive victory over Argentina. It took a penalty shootout to get past Denmark in the last 16. Their quarter-final tie against Russia was also decided by spot kicks, not an easy achievement considering the daunting atmosphere from the host nation. With Luca Modric pulling the strings in midfield, Croatia possess a real threat going forward. The Real Madrid magician’s effortless technical ability and range of passing has been a joy to watch throughout the tournament. However, they are also sound defensively, conceding just four goals so far.
Croatia’s stubborn back line has already kept out Messi, Agüero and Higuaín. England will have to be at their best to break them down. The Three Lions are enjoying their most successful World Cup for 28 years. The previously ironic choruses of “Football’s Coming Home” have been growing louder and louder with each match. Beating Sweden in the quarter-finals has made even the most pessimistic England fans start believing that this could be their year. Set pieces is where England are most dangerous. Five of their goals already this tournament have come from freekicks or corners, with a further three penalties being awarded for fouls from similar positions. Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young have been deadly on dead ball duty. England will need more of their punishingly accurate deliveries if they are to make their first World Cup final in fifty-two years. Jordan Pickford was in fine form between the sticks against Sweden. With the prolific Harry Kane upfront, a similarly stunning performance from Pickford could see England through to an unexpected final appearance. A tightly fought encounter awaits as both sides are now just two games away from being crowned world champions.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the third game in the Rugby League State of Origin Series, as Queensland take on New South Wales at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. New South Wales lead the series 2-0 and will be hoping to make it a clean sweep in this epic clash of two great rivals. High class tennis will be on display at the All England Club where it’s the Wimbledon men’s quarter-finals. Elsewhere in the UK, there are two Natwest T20 Blast fixtures: Yorkshire take on Derbyshire at Headingley and Gloucestershire face Kent at the County Ground. Qualifying for the Champions League and Europa League continues with multiple fixtures across Europe. In the MLS, the Chicago Fire are at home to Philadelphia Union and New York City host the Montreal Impact. Elsewhere in the United States, the Colorado Rockies play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Denver in MLB action. Stage 5 of the Tour de France gets underway. It’s the third longest stage of the Tour, measuring a brutal 204.5 kilometres. The hilly stage goes from Lorient to Quimper.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by FIFA World Cup
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