How many World Cups have had all-European semifinals? Russia 2018 is the 5th one

With Brazil’s elimination at the hands of Belgium in Kazan, the 2018 World Cup has now become an all-European affair. It’s only the fifth World Cup in history to have only European teams in the last four- the others being Italy 1934, England 1966, Spain 1982 and Germany 2006. Three of those four Cups were worn by Italy, with ’66 being the only exception (another signing it’s coming home?)

The first semifinal at the 2018 Wold Cup will see France square off against Belgium.

The second semifinal will see England take on Croatia.

Similarities between Uruguay and Atletico Madrid?- Antoine Griezmann says yes

Ahead of France’s quarterfinal against Uruguay, Antoine Griezmann has likened La Celeste’s style of playing to that of his club, La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid. France beat Argentina 4-3 to advance to the last eight, while Uruguay beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal to set up a clash with Les Bleus.

At the press conference, Griezmann had this to say

They’ll take their time, fall over and harass the referee. That’s their game & it’s what we do at Atletico. We will have to adapt, because the match will be frustrating

There is plenty of Uruguayan flavour at Atleti, with the most prominent being defender Diego Godin who is also the godfather of Griezmann’s daughter.

Griezmann 2

After France’s 0-0 stalemate with Denmark, a game that was universally mocked as boring, Griezmann had said he was used to playing that way with Atleti.

At club level, we play that way often. It is true that it was not very pretty to see at the stadium or on TV. I am sorry for the people who expected lots of goals or nice moves, which was not the case here

Under Diego Simeone, Atleti have developed a reputation of being a strong, no nonsense defensive side. Perhaps a far cry from the style Griezmann thought he would’ve been playing when he adored the likes of Zidane and Henry as a kid, but to his credit, he’s got used to it.

Three Lions to kick off WC campaign against Tunisia

Tunisia will be aiming to become the first African team to beat England at the World Cup when they square off against Gareth Southgate’s men in Group G tonight. It is the Carthage Eagles’ first World Cup game in over a decade (they last featured in the 2006 edition of the tournament) and they will be hoping to avoid the fate that has befallen their fellow Arab counterparts- Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, all of whom have lost their respective WC openers at Russia 2018. Continue reading

Atleti & Monaco agree transfer fee for Thomas Lemar

If reports in L’Equipe are to believed, Atletico Madrid have agreed a fee with AS Monaco for the transfer of Thomas Lemar. The versatile 22 year old was a target for Arsenal last season and was even linked with Liverpool after their move for Nabil Fekir broke down, but may end up going to Spain after a transfer fee (rumoured to be around the 85 million euro mark was agreed)

If Lemar does move to Atleti, it could well very end up affecting the future of Continue reading