It was nearly complete, it was nearly so sweet… and that was just the beer.

Following the mostly successful conversion of our girlfriends to football last year (through the cunning tactic of preparing a bunch of nice grub), the 2018 World Cup Semi Finals proved an ideal time to counter the stress levels again with various brands of alcohol. An exhilarating tournament headed towards its dramatic conclusion with France vs. Belgium, followed by England vs. Croatia, with a place in the World Cup Final at stake for the four nations.

The French players mob Samuel Umtiti after his crucial goal against Belgium

Representing England, a young and exuberant COPA90 Match Day IPA from Two Tribes Brewing. From Zagreb in Croatia, the classy and continental pair of Pale Ale and Milkshake IPA from The Garden Brewery. Meanwhile the French transferred in a cool headed Bellerose Blonde from Brasserie des Sources. And finally from Belgium, the seasoned veteran St Martin Abbey Blond swooped in from Brasserie de Brunehaut.

Leading the line for us on the food front: fish and chips for the English, a smorgasbord of cheese for the French, eclairs and Belgian buns for the De Rode Duivels, and Ćevapčići, a popular kebab in Croatia that we prepared from scratch.

The two semi finals incorporated a full football fan experience – the joy and the heartbreak, the agony and the ecstasy. A throughly professional performance saw France beat Belgium 1-0 to advance into their third World Cup Final of the last twenty years.

Meanwhile the heroic efforts of the England team finally came to an end, with an agonising 2-1 AET defeat to Croatia. In a tournament where the team finally won a World Cup penalty shootout, and reached a World Cup semi final for the first time in almost three decades, this England squad has won the hearts of a nation.

England players are left in tears at the final whistle of their dramatic World Cup semi final

France vs. Croatia may be the 2018 World Cup Final, but what of the beers of these four footballing nations? Despite the pedigree of the French and Belgian breweries, it was the Croatian and English beers that stood head and shoulders above the others. From a footballing perspective, it is a shame that only one of these teams can take on France in the final on Sunday.

It has been a thrilling World Cup, and we hope you all enjoy a few more beers going into this final weekend! And remember, it’s only four weeks until the Premier League returns…