France v Belgium Betting Preview – 10/07/18

France v Belgium Betting Preview – 10/07/18

France v Belgium

It’s the semi-finals of the World Cup this week, and we’re all well aware of who will be participating in Wednesday evening’s clash against Croatia. First though it’s the turn of France and Belgium to battle it out for a spot in the final. Both of these sides have looked solid in Russia this summer, with France making light work of Uruguay in last week’s quarter-final clash. Goals from Real Madrid defender Rafael Varane and leading goalscorer Antoine Griezmann ensured France came out as 2-0 victors at the Nizhniy Novgorod Stadium. An absolute howler of a mistake from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera really ended the game as a contest just after the hour mark, and although it probably wasn’t the best performance from France, they managed the game well and defended strongly to earn themselves their third clean sheet of the tournament.

After losing out on the European Championships back in 2016, France will be desperate to lift the World Cup in Russia. Les Blues were so close to conquering Europe on home soil two years ago but found themselves undone by Portugal at the final hurdle, losing 1-0 in extra-time of the final. They seem extremely motivated this time around and have some fantastic players available to them for this tie, which now means they’re strong favourites to go the distance and lift the World Cup this week at odds of 2/1. Conceding just four goals in five games has shown what a resilient back line France have, so it’ll be interesting to see if the attacking quality of Belgium will be able to break them down in this one, especially after carving open a strong Brazil side on Friday evening.

Belgium shocked most people last week when they completely dominated tournament favourites Brazil, beating the South Americans 2-1 at the Kazan Arena. A Fernandinho own goal put Roberto Martinez’s men a goal up inside 13 minutes, before his Manchester City teammate Kevin de Bruyne doubled the lead for the Red Devils with a sublime strike from outside the area. In truth, Belgium could and possibly should have scored two or three more, however chances were squandered in the final third which allowed Brazil a foothold back into the game with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Veteran midfielder Renato Augusto headed home a perfectly weighted cross from Philippe Coutinho to ensure an exciting finale, but Belgium defended to the death and have now booked their place in Tuesday evening’s quarter-final.

After nearly toppling out of the competition last Monday against Japan, Belgium looked a completely different side on Friday night. Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku were superb, constantly linking up to cause Brazil problems, dissecting the Canaries with ease on the break. Players like Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini also deserve a special mention as they did their jobs perfectly, containing a side that included the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Willian and Philippe Coutinho. France will be a massive challenge here though, they’ve got a more balanced team than Brazil with players of real class at both ends of the pitch. After their performance last week we think Belgium will get on the scoresheet here, but whether or not they’ll have enough to keep out an in form Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe still remains to be seen…

 

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