Journey of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Semi-Finalists
Travelling between matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is simply not feasible by road. Even though the tournament is only being held on the European side of Russia, the travel distances are vast. The distance between the two host cities of Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg is around 1,900 miles, which equates to 39 hours by road. In contrast, this journey would take just 3.5 hours by air, and the journey would also be more comfortable, and would not be hindered by traffic or fuel stops. Below, we detail the journey that each of the semi-final participants have taken so far during the World Cup, and see how their distance travelled may affect them in the match.
The French are the highest seeded team left in the tournament, and therefore favourites to lift the World Cup trophy on Sunday. Didier Deschamps’s men were the first of the semi-finalists to play in this year’s competition, when they beat Australia 2-1 in Kazan.
Their highlight of the tournament was on their return to Kazan when they faced Argentina in the Round of 16. After numerous Goal of the Tournament contenders, the match ended 4-3 to the French, sending Lionel Messi and co. home.
In total, they have travelled just over 5,000 miles, spending 14 hours in the air – the shortest time of all the remaining teams. If France beat Belgium to reach the final, they will also benefit from playing in Moscow where their training camp is also based.
After defeating tournament favourites Brazil, Belgium have reached the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time since 1986. They have so far won every game they have played and are showing no sign of slowing.
Their journey could have been cut short in the Round of 16 when they fell 2-0 down to underdogs, Japan. However, the Belgians found an extra gear and ended up winning the game 3-2, with the winner coming in stoppage time.
They have travelled marginally further than their semi-final opponents, France, having spent 17 hours in the air. Like the French, they will benefit from playing the final in the same city as their training camp.
Having beaten the tournament hosts in their quarter-final match against Russia, Croatia are in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1998. To get there, they have taken each of their knockout games to penalties, emerging victorious from each one.
The relatively old Croatian team caught the attention of the world when they caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, defeating Argentina 3-0 in the Group Stage in a game that most would have expected them to lose.
Of all the remaining participants in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia have travelled the furthest. From their training camp in Saint Petersburg, the Croats have travelled around 9,500 miles, which translates to 26 hours in the air.
Optimism is high in England, as fans firmly believe that football is coming home. They have not reached the semi-final since Italia 1990, when they were beaten by West Germany on penalties. After comfortably beating Sweden 2-0 in the quarter-finals, England will face Croatia.
Prior to the match, England had never won a World Cup penalty shootout, however this curse was lifted when Eric Dier slotted home the winning penalty vs Colombia in the Round of 16. Harry Kane is this tournament’s leading goal scorer, and he will be looking to continue this form with the Golden Boot in his sights.
England have travelled a slightly shorter distance that their Croatian opponents, totalling close to 8,250 miles, equating to 22 hours by air. Like Croatia, their training camp is based in Saint Petersburg, so their distance to the semi-final match in Moscow will be even.
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