Round 6: England exit but Meach extends lead

Gareth Southgate

England fell at the penultimate hurdle of the World Cup but for Meach Meachington it proved to be another excellent round as he took a five-point lead at the top of the standings.

Meach picked up two points from France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium with a 2-1 prediction and then stuck his banker on a 3-2 win for Croatia against England to ensure he extended his lead over Daniel Martin and Evo the WC Champ by a couple of points.

That means Meach has a great chance of winning the England shirt signed by Beckham, Gerrard, Rooney, Owen and some other big names, but it’s still not over.

Signed England shirt

With only two matches we had a congested leaderboard with five players topping the standings with eight points from the two games in round six.

Darren Egan, David Kennedy, Fraser Small, Kevin Innes and Neil Walls played their bankers on Croatia’s 2-1 win against England and everyone bar Neil went for a 2-1 win to France.

Interestingly, only eight players called France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium, but just two players had the nous to stick their bankers on it which meant Lee Topping and John Davies led the way with six points going into Wednesday’s clash between Croatia and England.

Despite being the new favourites to win the World Cup only 40% of you opted for a France victory, with 39% going for a Belgian triumph.

Only 7.6% of Predikta players called Croatia’s 2-1 victory with 72.6% of you confident of an England victory. The most popular prediction from both games by a country mile was a 2-1 win for the Three Lions at 41.5%. If only!

Shay Vikel climbed 17 places into fifth overall after scoring six points to sit seven points behind Meach, but with nine points available from the final and the third/fourth place play-off he still has a chance of winning the competition, as does Paul McCormack who scored four this week to lie six points off the lead in fourth place.

Gilad Felcher, Jason Parker, Dave Willcox and Graeme Halkerston are also in the mix but at seven points behind they will need something spectacular to bag that England shirt.

Here’s a rundown of how the quarter-finals went:

Round 6 prediktions

France 1-0 Belgium (Eight correct predictions)
Croatia 2-1 England (7.6%)

Two correct results

Too many to mention!

Two correct scorelines

None

Eight or less spot-on prediktions

8 – France 1-0 Belgium – Chris Nimmo, John Davies, Lee Topping, Nikhil Goolab, Owen Rider, Paul Gent, Pawelek and Steve Kingman

Top six prediktions of round 6

Croatia 1-2 England (41.5%)
France 2-1 Belgium (27.1%)
France 1-2 Belgium (26/7%)
Croatia 0-1 England (11.8%)
Croatia 0-2 England (11.0%)
Croatia 1-1 England (10.8%)

World Cup final and third-place play-off previews

France and Croatia will meet in Sunday’s World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in what will be a repeat of their semi-final encounter from 20 years ago.

Before then England will sign off a successful World Cup campaign with a second meeting against Belgium on Saturday afternoon to decide which team finishes in third place.

France v Croatia (Sun 4pm): France are favourites to win the World Cup for the second time after proving too strong for Belgium on Tuesday night. The first half was a fairly even affair but once Samuel Umtiti opened the scoring with a near-post header France simply shut up shop and easily soaked up the pressure from a toothless Belgium attack.

In 1998, Davor Suker gave Croatia the lead against France early in the second half, but Lilian Thuram equalised a minute later and then struck a fierce winner to send Aime Jacquet’s side into the final which they won 3-0 against Brazil. Croatia have never beaten France in five attempts although they went close in the group stage of Euro 2004 when they went 2-1 up only for David Trezeguet to secure a 2-2 draw.

France have kept four clean sheets in their six World Cup games and their strong midfield and defence means they will be a tough nut to crack for Croatia, who have scored in all six of their games, but have not kept a clean sheet since the first two group matches.

Croatia have now gone to extra time in all three knockout matches, conceding the first goal on every occasion so they may well be suffering from fatigue for the final. France midfielders N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi may not have the craft and guile of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and co but their strength, endless running and tackling prowess means there will be a contrast in styles on Sunday. For us, France look stronger in most positions and with the pacy Kylian Mbappe they have one of the best players of the tournament.

We’re not expecting this to be a goal fest and think France will edge it by one or two goals.

Belgium v England (Sat 3pm): England conclude their World Cup campaign with the chance to finish as the third best team of the tournament in St Petersburg on Saturday afternoon.

The two sides have already met in the group stage when both coaches decided to make wholesale changes having already qualified for the knockout phase. Then, Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal of the game to give Belgium a 1-0 victory which meant they had the tougher route to the final with a quarter-final encounter against Brazil.

The game was a fairly lifeless affair and England created few chances although Marcus Rashford went close when he broke clear only to be denied by Thibaut Courtois.

Team selection is up in the air just as it was in the group stage but England are likely to be without Kieran Trippier who sustained a groin injury in the closing stages of extra time in the defeat by Croatia. We expect both managers to give chances to those players who have not seen much game time in Russia and so a narrow Belgium win looks a likely outcome.

It’s time to make your final predictions of Predikta’s World Cup game by clicking on the blue banner below. Best of luck to all those in with a chance of winning the England shirt and thanks very much for playing the game.

cta