France vs Belgium: Preview, Predicted Starting XI, Betting tips - Russia 2018 World Cup
France vs Belgium
7pm July 10th, 2018
Semi-finals, Saint Petersburg Stadium
We’re down to four in Russia and just two of the pre-tournament favourites are left, ironically, the two square up for a place to face either of Croatia and England in the final on the 13th.
France have gotten to the finals a couple of times but they have only been successful just once, that was in 1998 on home soil, twenty years ago.
Their most recent attempt at glory came in the 2006 edition which was famous for the Zinedine Zidane headbutt on Marco Materazzi, they have since laboured in vain and haven’t passed the quarterfinals, they did make it to the Euro championship final, again on home soil but Portugal had other ideas.
Belgium have been underachievers for a very long time, talented and full of positives but they hardly sparkle when it matters most.
Belgium’s highest achievement at the World Cup was a quarterfinal berth a very long time ago but they have the chance to take it an inch further here and actually go for glory as it is easy on paper considering the quality of opposition they will face if they do get to the final.
France finished from group C with 7 points, two above Denmark and went on to entertain the world by unleashing Kyllian Mbappe on Argentina; the teenage sensation mesmerized the Argentines with pace and trickery, his finish was intelligent and his place in the history books of the FIFA World Cup was sealed in gold letterings.
It wasn’t difficult as presumed for France against Uruguay, just the basics and they’re here, it would be noted that they have goals in every department, from defence to attack, everyone can score, that is a plus to any team that has glory in sight.
Belgium finished on a high, maximum points in the group that had England and they made history by coming from two goals down to dismiss Japan in the second round to win 3-2 with the last kick of the game, that victory epitomized the instincts of Roberto Martinez whose substitutions both got on the scoresheet to make it possible; clinically they dispatched Brazil, Kevin De Bryune was the tormentor in chief on the day and he should be ready for another, if not bigger challenge.
In midfield this battle is even, they both have attacks that can give sleepless night to any team and both in good shape for this encounter.
Blaise Matuidi is back after sitting out the quarterfinal on suspension, while the red devils will be missing the reliable Meunier at right back as he is suspended for this match.
Depending on how the two managers opt to approach this, there’s no way it won’t be full of goals, Dries Mertens should come in for Belgium, if Deschamps decides to go with Giroud up front, that means Ousman Dembele would be on the bench, Belgium will have only Kante to deal with of course except Paul Pogba decides to come to the party.
France: Hugo Lloris; Lucas Hernandez, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Benjamin Pavard; Ngolo Kante, Paul Pogba; Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe; Olivier Giroud.
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Toby Alderweireld; Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Nacer Chadli; Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku .
Betting prediction/verdict: Both teams to score, France to advance