World Cup Final Four: France and England Favorites to Meet in the Final

After a three-week slog, the World Cup has finally reached the business end. Four teams remain in contention to lift the trophy and by Sunday afternoon one of Belgium, France, England or Croatia will have been crowned world champions.

If the quality of soccer on display over the last 60 matches has not always been scintillating, there has definitely been no shortage of upsets. Germany, the defending champions, were knocked out in the group stages, Argentina made it only as far as the round of 16 and Brazil fell at the quarter finals.

GettyImages-992679434 France supporter wave the national flag during the quarter final against Uruguay at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on July 6, 2018. France are the favorites to win the tournament. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

The two all-European ties get underway on Tuesday, when Belgium face France in Saint Petersburg. The Red Devils were mightily impressive in their quarter final win against Brazil on Friday and only their neighbors now stand between them and a first-ever World Cup final.

However, if the Golden Generation of Belgian soccer is to seize its moment, it will have to do so against the team bookmakers consider most likely to lift the trophy this coming Sunday.

According to William Hill, France are the favorites to win the tournament at 15/8, with Belgium in third place at 11/4. FiveThirtyEight, meanwhile, gives the Red Devils a 48 percent chance of making the final.

"It is a trip into the unknown," Belgium boss Roberto Martinez told ESPN. "We've never been in such a situation, and that is why we need our team spirit more than ever against France. We need to be the best version of ourselves."

Les Bleus were largely subdued throughout the group stages but beat Argentina in one of the games of the tournament in the round of 16, before making surprisingly easy work of a quarter final against Uruguay.

Didier Deschamps’ men still appear to be playing within themselves but FiveThirtyEight gives them a 29 percent chance of winning the tournament, which would make Deschamps only the third man in history to lift the World Cup as player and as a manager.

On the other side of the draw, meanwhile, England face Croatia. At 5/2, the Three Lions are second-favorite to win the tournament and FiveThirtyEight gives them the highest chance—59 percent—of reaching the final out of any of the four teams left in the tournament.

GettyImages-993376360 England's midfielder Dele Alli celebrates after scoring their second goal in the quarter-final against Sweden at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. England face Croatia in the semifinals on Wednesday. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Croatia, on the other hand, have a 41 percent chance of reaching their first ever World Cup final and are 4/1 to lift the trophy. The role of underdog is a position Croatia normally relish, but after playing 120 minutes in both of their knockout games, a question mark hovers over fitness.

Croatia’s captain Luka Modric, however, has dismissed the notion his side will feel tired going into their semifinal.

“It’s a semi-final,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

“We will find extra motivation, extra everything, whatever is necessary.”