We're getting down to it.
In many ways, trying to make picks isn't a lot of fun at this point. For one thing, the field contains only very strong teams, so no matter what happens, some great teams are going to lose out. For another thing, I rather like all these teams.
- Belgium vs France
This match is the REAL final, I think: who prevails in this match will also win on Saturday. Belgium's attacking group (Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Fellaini, Chadli, Witsel) are certainly as good as any cup winner in decades, and Thibaut Courtois is the goalkeeper's goalkeeper.
But, France measure up well everywhere. Even though Belgium must be feeling quite confident after the way they dispatched Brazil, France will be the hardest test by far. If Pogba and Kante play as well as they can, France can prevail. Vive la France! If you only watch one World Cup match, make it this one! It goes to extra time, but France are able to score the decisive goal in the 97th minute.
- England vs Croatia
I think that the reason that England are in the semifinals is because they have the youngest team (2nd youngest?) in the tournament. However, this is also the reason that England's tournament is about to end. Croatia showed their experience and maturity in defeating the hosts, and they will bring that same discipline and coordination and mettle to this match. The match will be long and exhausting (to watch, not only to play). By the end of the match, which will go to 120 minutes and end up with 10 vs 10 on the field, Croatia will, for the third consecutive game, prevail in the shootout, much to the dismay of the English fans who will instantly decide that the curse has returned (they should not, for this is a fine English squad and hopefully is the sign of many great things to come).
Oh, by the way, pay some attention to the referees for these matches, for you're seeing the best referees at the peak of their skill, and being a World Cup referee is a particularly interesting and unusual skill: