France-England Would Be Dream Matchup For Soccer Fans

CBS Sports soccer writer Roger Gonzalez predicts England will overcome Croatia, and will play against France for the 32nd time in international play

Ferrall On The Bench
July 10, 2018 - 1:45 pm
Soccer: World Cup-England vs Sweden

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The end of the 2018 World Cup is almost near us, and the entire planet is lingering in anticipation.

While international soccer fans patiently wait to see who will remain standing to face-off with France in the final game on Sunday, we still have one more match to play before the epic finale.

Previewing the last semifinal matchup between England and Croatia, CBS Sports soccer writer Roger Gonzalez declared his prediction on CBS Sports Radio. Primarily because of their impressive showing against Sweden last Saturday, as well as the fact that Croatia will be battling through intense fatigue due to playing back-to-back games in extra minute affairs versus Denmark and Russia, Gonzalez believes England will be the team that ultimately finishes on top at the end.

“I think England is in a good spot right now and they got the chance to do some big things,” Gonzalez said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I thought it was a good performance from them (against Sweden) — maybe a performance that was more complete than their other ones. I thought they controlled the game really well. They had a game-plan of attacking as often as they could knowing that Sweden was a bit limited in the attack. They really tried to pour it on, and I thought they had a good performance that really builds confidence. More importantly, they didn’t go through extra time, which is certainly helpful not having two games in a row like Croatia did. I think England has a huge advantage with Croatia having played two straight matches in extra time, so (Croatia) will certainly have some tired legs.”

Although many are thrilled to see which nation will be crowned as world champions later this week, several of these same enthusiasts will immediately be saddened once the tournament finally comes to a close. Gonzalez notes that he’s definitely one of these described spectators, but he also understands that this is why the World Cup is so sacred to billions of people around the globe.

“It’s part of what I think makes the World Cup special — to enjoy the time while it’s here because we only get it once every four years,” Gonzalez said. “It’s quite the competition, but there’s certainly a feeling of sadness when it’s over because of how great it is. But in the future, we got the 2026 World Cup (in North America), which will have more teams in it — so more games, and maybe that will be a little bit easier to handle when it’s done.”​

If Gonzalez's prediction comes to fruition, this would be the 32nd meeting between the two perennial soccer juggernauts since their inaugural match in 1923, including their third confrontation in the World Cup (with England winning on both occasions in 1966 and 1982). In his eyes, Gonzalez views this potential finale as a dream come true for soccer purists everywhere.

“I think France-England is the dream matchup for fans of the game that really want to see a historical matchup," Gonzalez said. "So we could see some history made."