Sports

Europe dominates World Cup semi-final spots

2018-07-09 09:46

Belgium (Supplied)

Cape Town – For only the fifth time in 21 Soccer World Cup editions – and the first time since 2006 – all four semi-finalists at Russia 2018 hail from Europe.

READ: Martinez hails 'heroes' after Belgium shock Brazil

Belgium's enthralling 2-1 win over tournament favourites Brazil meant that the remaining six teams left standing in the tournament were all European.

England overcame Sweden 2-0 while Croatia needed penalties to beat hosts Russia to join Belgium and France in the final four of the competition.

It's the first time since Germany in 2006 – the 18th edition of the World Cup – where four European teams: Italy (champions), France (runners-up), Germany (third) and Portugal (fourth) made up the final four positions.

Brazil's defeat to Belgium is the fourth consecutive time that they've been knocked out by a European team – with all three of those sides going on to contest the final, with Germany crowned as eventual champions.

Last four teams to have knocked Brazil out:

– Belgium (2018)

– Germany (2014)

– Netherlands (2010)

– France (2006)

A European team will become world champions for the fourth time in a row following Italy's win in 2006, Spain's triumph in 2010 and Germany's victory in 2014.

Belgium have reached the World Cup semi-finals for only the second time, losing out to eventual winners Argentina in 1986.

The Red Devils' victory was only their second ever against Brazil, and first since a 1963 friendly match in Brussels.

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