France vs Belgium
World Cup 2018 Semi Final
Date: Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Kick-Off at 19:00 UK / 20:00 CET
Venue: Saint-Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg.
- France meet Belgium meet for a place in the FIFA World Cup 2018 final.
- Les Bleus played in two finals in the past (one won, one lost), while the Red Devils have never previously been there.
- Roberto Martinez will miss his important wing-back Thomas Meunier here as it will be interesting to see which tactics he will use against the extremely-talented French side.
France Belgium Match Preview
France and Belgium only confirmed the European dominance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia by eliminating the only two remaining South American heavyweights in their respective quarter-final ties.
The neighbours have thus set the stage to what could be a thrilling semi-final contest on Tuesday evening when they clash each other at Saint-Petersburg Stadium.
France showed the opposite display to the one they had produced in the R16 against Argentina. Kylian Mbappe firepower led them to a fantastic win back then, but it was not present in the match against the Uruguayan stern defensive line.
Nevertheless, Didier Deschamps’ men seemed to be holding the destiny of the game in their own hands throughout the 90 minutes of play.
Their slow build-up play and masterfully handled set-pieces, alongside diagonally opposite performances from two keepers made all the difference at the end of the match.
Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris brought his best showing of the tournament as he had a couple of amazing saves, including the one just before the interval when he fabulously stretched to deny Martin Caceres after a Uruguayan set-piece. Diego Muslera, on the other side, misjudged the flight of Griezmann’s shot as it looped over the line to double the French lead.
The other quarter-final of the day expectedly brought much more intensity as the Red Devils finally produced a performance their golden generation has waited for years to come. The team led by Roberto Martinez is about to write history as Belgium reached the World Cup semi-final only for the second time in their history, following the 1986 loss to latter champions Argentina.
The former Everton’s boss made a fantastic call to shift the tactics and introduce the likes of Nacer Chadli and Marouane Fellaini into the starting line-up. The decision paid off as Belgium looked super stern at the back against one of the most talented attacking lines in the world.
France vs Belgium Team News and Predicted Line-ups
France Team News
- Didier Deschamps was only forced to make a single change in his regular 4-2-3-1 formation for the tie with Uruguay.
- Suspended Blaise Matuidi gave place to Corentin Tolisso in midfield, but Juve’s man is expected to return to the starting XI here against Belgium.
- We don’t expect changes elsewhere, meaning Olivier Giroud will lead the line with the likes of Mbappe and Griezmann supporting from behind.
France Predicted Starting Eleven (4-2-3-1)
Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Pogba, Kante – Mbappe, Griezmann, Tolisso – Giroud.
Belgium Team News
- Roberto Martinez decided to shift his formation entirely after the change brought them success in the second half of the R16 tie with Japan.
- Nacer Chadli and Marouane Fellaini inspired the magnificent comeback back then, deserving a place in the starting line-up for the Brazil clash.
- Yannick Carrasco and Dries Mertens were victims of the tactics change and we expect to see them on the bench once again here.
- The main problem for Martinez will be the absence of the PSG wing-back Thomas Meunier who is suspended after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament against Brazil.
- Kevin De Bruyne proved to be a dangerous weapon when Martinez moved him more towards the opposition goal against Brazil.
Belgium Predicted Starting Eleven (4-3-3)
Courtois – Boyata, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen – Fellaini, Witsel, Chadli – Lukaku, De Bruyne, Hazard.
France vs Belgium Head-to-head
France have a positive head to head record coming into their landmark 20th encounter with neighbouring Belgium. Les Bleus won 8, drew 6 and lost 5 of 19 meetings with the Red Devils.
The two teams last met at the World Cup back in the aforementioned 1986 when France saw off their European rivals 4-2 after extra-time in the battle for the bronze medal. Ever since that clash, the two sides have met each other eight times in friendlies.
Belgium are undefeated in last three, following back-to-back goalless draws and a 3-4 victory in the previous outing against Les Bleus, back in June 2015.
France vs Belgium Predictions
Both teams come into the game high on confidence and there are no doubts we will be in for a thrilling evening of football on the occasion. Goals should be guaranteed with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne on the pitch at the same time.
Nevertheless, unlike Belgium who have already defeated Brazil, France are yet to come up against such a talented opposition. The Red Devils have already proven how strong both mentally and physically they are after coming back from a two-goal deficit to beat Japan in the last 16 round and beating the main favourites Brazil in the following fixture.
Roberto Martinez looks to have the recipe for the Belgian maiden trophy at World Cups and we will back the Red Devils to make it to the final for the first time in their history at the odds of 2.10. Alternatively, we have to back goals at both ends at the 1.80 odds knowing how dangerous can both of these sides be in the final third. We’d not be surprised to Belgium winning 2-1, just like they did against Brazil. You can back such scenario at 12.00.
Predicted Full-Time Result is Belgium to win in what could be a high-scoring affair in St. Petersburg.
France vs Belgium Betting Tips
Belgium to qualify @ 2.10.
BTTS @ 1.80.