France vs Belgium / 2018 World Cup – Two super-talented European teams will meet the first semi-final match of the World Cup in Russia, while fact that this is a great neighbouring match between France and Belgium gives it an additional charm. Les Bleus were considered as one of main favourites to win the title a long before the World Cup, but Belgium reached the final stages of major competition only after a long time, with which the Belgians definitely confirmed that are one of most talented generation in more recent history of European and World football. True, ahead of them is very difficult task but after eliminating the Brazilians in the quarter-finals they have no reason to fear their neighbours French, who in previous round won very good Uruguay. Let’s add that the two teams played even three friendlies in last seven years, and after two consecutive goalless draws the Belgians triumphed in Paris in June 2015 by 4-3. Begins: 10.07.2018 – 20:00 CET
That fact confirms once again that Les Bleus will have a very difficult task in the semi-finals, especially as players are quite familiar with each others from national and continental leagues. Still, bookies regard team led by manager Deschamps as a slight favourite to win the match that will take place in St. Petersburg, where both teams will enjoy a much better support than in their previous matches in Russia. Since we have mentioned previous matches we must say that France finished as first in its group; after winning Austria and Peru, and drew with Denmark, while in the knockout phase it eliminated two South American teams, Argentina and Uruguay.
It is fascinating that the French scored even six goals in two previous matches; they firstly defeated Argentina 4-3 after a fantastic match full of ups and downs, while for match with Uruguay the French managed to stiffen the defence and in the end they won by routine 2-0. Now, they will face team that also has several great individuals who will definitely put Les Bleus defence on test, especially as Umtiti complains on injury. According to the latest information he should be ready to face Belgium, while unlike match with Uruguay a bit more experienced Matuidi should replace after expiration of suspension Tolisso in the midfield.
Probable lineups France: Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Pogba, Kante– Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi – Giroud
We have said in the introduction that Belgium has very talented individuals, just like the French, in its team but this generation seems like it didn’t say all it could in some previous major competitions, while now it seems far more compact and finally ready for biggest achievements. The best confirmation of all this was their recent triumph over Brazil 2-1 in the last eight of World Cup in Russia. Before that they showed their character against Japan in the round of 16 as they managed to return after minus of two goals and win in the end by 3-2. Belgium also did well in the group phase as it won all three matches; with Panama, Tunisia and England, which makes them the only team with perfect score in regular time among the last four.
However, bookmakers give a slight advantage to their rival, the French in this match which could be just an additional motive for the Belgians to win their sixth consecutive match at the 2018 World Cup. With 14 scored goals the Belgians are the most efficient team of the World Cup so far, which suggests that should be very dangerous against Les Bleus in attack where they have not one or two but three fantastic players de Bruynne, Lukaku and Hazard. Regarding the rest of team, manager Martinez will probably make just one change compared to match with Brazil, and it should take place at right back position where young Tielemans should get chance instead of suspended Meunier.
Probable lineups Belgium: Courtois – Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen – Tielemans, Fellaini, Witsel, Chadli – de Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard
France vs Belgium PICK
Since the two teams showed the best attacking capabilities out of all 32 that appeared at the World Cup in Russia it is then quite logical why we expect to see goals on both sides of the pitch in St. Petersburg.
Pick: both teams to score
Odds: 1.85 at betway (down to 1.77 can be played)