World Cup 2018: Top 5 clubs with the maximum representation in the semi-finals
The World Cup after 60 matches and three rounds has finally reached its business end. Four matches and four teams remain. But only one will be known as the conqueror – the others will return back, knowing a chance to etch their name into folklore was gone.
England and Croatia, Belgium and France are one step away from talking a shot at history. They face each other in the semi-finals and only a victory will ensure them a place in the finals.
But most players of these teams play for eight top European clubs. Infact, 44 out of the 92 players remaining in the competition play the top eight clubs.
We take a look at those clubs that have the biggest representation in the semi-finals.
5. Barcelona, Liverpool, Monaco and Paris st. Germain
All these four teams have four players each from their club who will be a part of the semi-finals.
Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold from England, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Belgium and defender Dejan Lovren of Croatia are the Liverpool players.
Frenchmen Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembélé, defender Thomas Vermaelen of Belgium and Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitić are the four players form the Catalan club.
Paris st. Germain also has four players in the semis but Belgium’s Thomas Meunier is the only non-French player. France’s Alphonse Areola, Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappé are the other three.
Youri Tielemans of Belgium, Djibril Sidibe and Thomas Lemar of France and goalkeeper Danijel Subašić of Croatia are the four Monaco players.
Premier League club Chelsea who finished the EPL season in the fifth place have five players in the World Cup Semi-finals.
Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois of Belgium have been in terrific form throughout the World Cup and while the former has scored twice and assisted another two, the latter has been solid in-between the sticks. Courtois put up a brilliant performance in the quarter-final against Brazil, making as many as nine saves to lead his country to victory.
N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud are the two Chelsea players in the France team. Kante, a two time EPL winner has played every minute for his team in the World Cup, while Giroud has started as ‘Les Bleus’ first-choice striker in most matches.
Club captain Gary Cahill is the lone Chelsea player in the England team and has played just one match for the ‘Three Lions‘, a 0-1 loss to Belgium.
However if on-loan players like Ruben Loftus-cheek who played for Crystal Palace and Michy Batshuay, who was sent to Borussia Dortmund are taken into account, Chelsea will have seven players in the semi-finals.
3. Manchester City
The English Premier League champions and EFL cup winners have seven players in the semi-final stage, four of whom form a important part of the English contingent.
John Stones who scored twice against Panama, Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph amd Kyle Walker of England are the four players who ply their trade with Man City. Three players have started four out of the five matches the ‘Three Lions‘ have played in the tournament and are guaranteed a place in the semi-final against Croatia.
Vincent Komapy and Kevin de Bruyne are the two Manchester City players in the Belgium squad. While Kompany returned from injury to play the final group stage match against England and the two knockout matches, De Bruyne has been a star for the ‘Red Devils.’
He scored the match winning goal against Brazil and has an assist to his name. He was also vital in the last minute winning goal against Japan in the last-16.
Benjamin Mendy who has so far played just 40+ minutes in the World Cup is the sole Man City players in the French set-up.
2. Manchester United
Thr 20-time league title winners just like their City rivals have seven players still remaining at the biggest stage.
Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford of England are the first four players. The first two have been the fulcrum of this surprising English team, while the latter two have struggled for minutes.
Lingard scored a wonder goal against Panama and set up Dele Alli with a brilliant chip against Sweden. Young has also been electric in the left-back role and has taken up set-piece duties alongside Kevin Trippier.
Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini are United’s Belgian players at the World Cup and have been instrumental in their nation’s sweet run into the semis.
Big striker Lukaku has been on fire and has scored four times, while also laying on a brilliant assist for De Bruyne against Brazil. Fellaini meanwhile was scarcely used by coach Roberto Martinez in the group stage, but he scored the important equaliser against Japan and also put up a commendable performance against Brazil.
France’s Paul Pogba is the seventh Untied player in the competition and the only one from the 1998 champions. He had so far failed to score or assist any, but has nonetheless been an important asset for coach Didier Deschamps.
1. Tottenham Hotspur
The Premier League underdogs unsurprisingly have been the club of the World Cup and still has nine players remaining. Interestingly, three of the four teams that qualified for the semis have players from White Hart Lane.
Sensational England captain and striker Harry Kane leads the Tottenham brigade in the English team. Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier and Dele Alli are the other players.
The 24-year-old Kane with 6 goals leads the golden boot race, while his teammate Alli who has struggled with a thigh-injury has one goal and an assist to his name. Rose and Dier have made substitute appearances so far.
Two of Belgium’s three center-halfs play for Tottenham and Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are joined by Mousa Dembélé as the three players from Spurs.
Alderweireld and Vertonghen have been superb at the heart of the ‘Red Devils‘ defence, while Dembele who is expected to make a start in the semi-final against France has so far played as a substitute.
Club captain as well as the skipper for France, Hugo Lloris is the final Tottenham player and the only one in the French team. He has been near to unbeatable in-between the sticks and has pulled up some incredible saves throughout the tournament. His first-half save against Uruguay in the quarter-final was very important in the ‘Les Bleus‘ qualifying for the semis.