Our top five moments at Russia 2018... so far!
The World Cup is edging towards a historic climax as Belgium, Croatia, England and France fight it out for eternal glory, with no fewer than seven Manchester United players still involved.
Before those anticipated semi-finals take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, join us in counting down what we regard as the five best moments of Russia 2018 to feature our lads…
5: RASHFORD’S NERVES OF STEEL
We begin with the inspiring display of courage from young Marcus, who took the second penalty in England’s dramatic shootout success over Colombia ahead of several more senior team-mates. The Academy graduate had entered the last-16 tie as a substitute in extra time, and showed little sign of nerves as he powerfully dispatched his spot-kick into the bottom corner of David Ospina’s net.
4: WHEN FELLAINI SAVED THE DAY
With Belgium losing 2-0 to Japan and facing up to elimination, manager Roberto Martinez looked to Marouane and decisively sent the influential United midfielder into battle on 65 minutes. The Red Devils pulled a goal back almost immediately, through Tottenham Hotspur’s Jan Verthongen, before Felli ghosted into the area to head home a pivotal equaliser. It was a huge turning point which led to fellow substitute Nacer Chadli bagging a famous added-time winner, via a Romelu Lukaku dummy.
A lacklustre Argentina were on the verge of an embarrassing group-stage exit, via a 1-1 draw against Nigeria, until Marcos scored an amazing 86th-minute volley from Gabriel Mercado's cross to send them through to the last 16. Lionel Messi, who had scored a brilliant opener, jumped on Rojo's back as he sprinted away in delirious celebration, joined by the entire Argentina bench in the corner. Our man had rescued his nation from humiliation - despite them exiting the World Cup in the next round.
2: THAT SCREAMER FROM LINGARD
Jesse is surely in Goal of the Tournament contention with his sensational effort against Panama, teed up by a fluid one-two with Raheem Sterling and concluded via an exquisite long-range finish into the top corner. It was representative of his previous efforts for United, particularly last season when he went through a hot streak of bagging worldies. For us Reds, it was also great to see our boy scoring on that stage – particularly after being unfairly criticised for missing chances against Tunisia.
Romelu has scored four goals in Russia so far, yet his most influential display was against the great Samba Stars, the tournament favourites who were utterly helpless against his devastating pace and power. The big man was sensational from the start and his driving run from midfield, past several markers, led to Kevin De Bruyne making it 2-0 in the first half, a blow which Brazil never truly recovered from. The world watched the game in awe, and Lukaku was at the centre of it all.
The first World Cup semi-final, between Belgium and France, will take place on Tuesday night at 19:00 BST, with Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku all set to feature.
England versus Croatia will then take place at the same time on Wednesday evening. Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford are among those who could play for the Three Lions. Good luck to all of our boys in Russia.