Upsets in World Cup soccer tournaments are rare, with the current one in Russia providing some of the strangest combinations the gala event has ever seen.
All the favourite teams have been eliminated, the sole survivors being England and France, with the former making a rare three-decade appearance in the last four.
Knighthoods apart, 52 years is indeed a long time since England grabbed the trophy.
Penalty shootouts, the curse of the tourney, will be the final decider after hosts Russia suffered at the hands of the unpredictable Croatians.
Should Croatia or Belgium pull through, it would be a first for either, and a brilliant advertisement for a global event that never went the favourites’ way.
A R Modak