Before the World Cup kicked off, Mohamed Salah was tipped as the man to shake Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or dominance. Fast forward to today and other names are the front-runners to challenge the Real Madrid and Barcelona icons.
While the hype surrounding Hazard and Mbappe is nothing new, two unlikely candidates are being tipped for the coveted prize. They are Luka Modric and Harry Kane, the key figures in their respective nations' campaign in Russia.
The reason is simple: both Croatia and England have exceeded expectations this summer. None would have predicted these two nations would reach the penultimate stage, with their captain being at the heart of their impressive runs.
Who can forget the Three Lions skipper's brace against Tunisia to earn all three points despite their shaky display? The Tottenham ace then followed up on that game with a hat-trick against Panama before scoring another in the round of 16 clash with Colombia to steal the lead in the Golden Boot race.
And then there is Modric. A goal in the opening day victory over Nigeria was lovely but it pales in comparison to his superb display in the 3-0 thrashing of Argentina. He ran the game from midfield and capped everything off with an exquisite goal.
Talk of either the Englishman or Croat winning the Ballon d'Or would only multiply tenfold should one of them get their hands on the title. Unfortunately, that will likely still not be enough to end the two-horse that the accolade has become.
Eden Hazard even hinted that whatever happens in Russia would probably not matter and since only Modric and Kane cannot both move onto to the final, one – if not both – of these players will kiss goodbye to their Ballon d'Or odds come Wednesday. As a result, these two men will have a little extra to play for in their semi-final encounter.
Winning the World Cup is the main goal. However, being considered for France Football's honorary crown is an honor that only the victor will continue to boast. Both men will thus give it their all for the win
Croatia vs England TV and Streaming Schedule
Canada: TSN Radio 1040 - 1410, TSN5, TSN GO, TSN4, TSN3, TSN1, CTV GO, CTV, RDS GO, RDS
Croatia: HRT 2
France: beIN SPORTS CONNECT, TF1, TF1 Live, beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2
Germany: Sky Sport UHD Germany, Sky Go Deutschland, SRF zwei, WDR Event, ORF eins, Sportschau Live, ZDF, ORF TV Live
India: SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 3, SONY TEN 2, Sony ESPN, SONY TEN 3 HD, Sony ESPN HD, Sony LIV
Indonesia: Trans 7, Trans TV, UseeTV
Malaysia: Astro Go, RTM 1, Astro Arena, Astro FIFA World Cup 1 HD
Netherlands: NOS Live, NPO 1, Één
Nigeria: SuperSport Live, SS13, Kwesé Live, SuperSport 3 Africa, Kwesé FIFA World Cup, SuperSport 3 Nigeria, Kwesé Free Sports, Startimes World Football, Startimes Sports Premium, Startimes Sports Focus, SuperSport 14, SLGO, StarTimes App, Canal+ Sport 1 Afrique
Portugal: RTP Play, RTP 1, Sport TV1, Sport TV LIVE
Spain: TeleCinco Espana, Mediaset Sport App
Turkey: TRT 1, Idman TV, TRT 4K, TRT Spor Web TV
United Kingdom: BBC Radio 5 Live, The ITV Hub, TalkSport Radio UK, UTV, ITV 1 UK, STV Scotland
United States: Futbol de Primera Radio, NBCSN, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Sling World Cup, fuboTV, Telemundo, FOX Network, FOX Sports GO, SiriusXM FC