The curtain comes down on one of the most eventful and unpredictable World Cups in recent times. It doesn’t feel like a month ago that hosts Russia demolished Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament’s opener yet the 2018 World Cup Final is upon us this Sunday as dark horses Croatia take on a star-studded French side.
Belgium v England – World Cup third-place play-off – Saturday 14 July – Coverage from 2.30pm on ITV (kick off at 3pm)
Touted as the only World Cup match no player wants to play in, Gareth Southgate’s heroic Three Lions take on Belgium on Sunday in a rerun of their final group stage match on 28 June.
While Saturday’s encounter may not be the game the country was hoping to be involved in this weekend, Southgate’s side returns from Russia having matched England’s best ever World Cup performance on foreign soil and appeared to restore England as a force in international football.
With Kieran Trippier as England’s main injury doubt, both England and Belgium are expected to rotate heavily this Saturday much like in their group stage encounter when Adnan Januzaj’s strike ensured Belgium top spot in Group G.
France v Croatia – Final – Sunday 15 July – Coverage from 2.55pm ITV and 3pm on BBC (kick off at 4pm)
While England fans may back dazzling 1998 World Champions France against semi-final conquerors Croatia on Sunday, the fact the Balkan nation of 4m people – that declared independence in 1991 and competed in its first World Cup in 1998 – have reached a World Cup final is astonishing.
Didier Deschamps, who captained France to their first World Cup triumph 20 years ago, has seen his supremely talented side grow in this summer’s tournament, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe appearing to improve with every game.
However, they’ll have to improve once more if they’re to stifle Croatia’s creative midfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic and keep the underdogs’ relentless wide men Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic – who proved so vital in their semi-final triumph against England – under wraps.
Saturday 14 July – Coverage from 11am across BBC One and BBC Two
Sunday 15 July – Coverage from 11am across BBC One and BBC Two
Rather than taking baby steps back into tennis since giving birth in September, Serena Williams will seek a record-equalling 24th grand slam title in this Saturday’s Wimbledon final in which she takes on Germany’s Angelique Kerber in a repeat of the 2016 final – which Williams won.
The men’s final on Sunday will feature the winner of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s semi-final and either American John Isner or South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
England v India ODI series
Cricket second ODI – Saturday 14 July – Coverage from 10.30am on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket (first ball at 11am)
England go into this weekend’s second ODI match against India off the back of a heavy, eight-wicket defeat, orchestrated by India’s Kuldeep Yadav – who claimed six wickets for just 25 runs, the best figures by a spinner in a one-day international in England.
India won the recent T20 series against hosts England and can secure the ODI series with victory at Lord's on Saturday.