Friday, September 21, 2018

Prediction: France vs Belgium

Verdict: France to Win & Both Teams to Score

Best Odds: 41/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

The World Cup 2018 is nearing its end and the excitement slowly builds with four countries remaining in the hunt for the coveted trophy.

One of the two semi-final matches is bringing a neighbouring derby between France and Belgium who are hitting top gear just in time to promise a scintillating match at Saint-Petersburg Arena.

France

One of the pre-tournament favourites to win the World Cup, France has emerged as the side most likely to lift the trophy for the first time in last two decades. Didier Deschamps’ men were off to a slow start in Russia, never quite hitting the top gear to maximise the use of incredible attacking potential they have at disposal.

Les Bleus nevertheless topped their group and did what needed to be done to see off the likes of Argentina and Uruguay in the knockout stages. The French side boasts plenty of squad depth and Deschamps was able to rotate his players in order to find the winning formula. With the likes of N’Golo Kante holding the reins in the midfield, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe bursting forward, French head into the semi-final relishing their chances despite not exactly boasting a superior record over neighbours Belgium. France won only 24 of their 73 past meetings with the Red Devils but this record will count for nothing and Deschamps men are determined to prove it.

Team News

Didied Deschamps will have a full crop of players to choose from with the exception of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti who is suffering from a knee injury.

Belgium

Perennial dark horses Belgium are perhaps standing in front of the last chance to crown their golden generation. It’s been several years now that Belgium had been expected to achieve international glory but they would often come short.

Roberto Martinez’s appointment raised plenty of eyebrows to be honest but with help from Thierry Henry he managed to get the best out of a star-studded side and guide them through off the back of a couple of formidable displays, most notably against Japan and Brazil. A come-from-behind triumph over the Japanese has helped Belgium gain valuable confidence which later on helped them dispatch another tournament favourites Brazil and the Red Devils will be heading into the semi-finals in high spirits. Romelu Lukaku with four goals to his name and Kevin De Bruyne who’s commanding the side will once again be the two players to keep an eye on.

Team News

Roberto Martinez could once again choose to start Marouane Fellaini whose physical presence turned out to be crucial both against Japan and Brazil.

Belgium will only be without Thomas Meunier who is serving his yellow card suspension.

Key Factors to Consider

  • France last won the World Cup 20 years ago
  • Belgium reached World Cup semis only once before, in 1986
  • Red Devils are the high-scoring side with 14 World Cup goals thus far
  • Romelu Lukaku (4) is two goals behind Harry Kane (6) at the top of the goalscoring chart
  • Belgium are unbeaten since September 2016 and France are out to end their positive run

Conclusion

France and Belgium lock horns in what’s going to be an exciting semi-final clash. The proximity of the two countries guarantees a fanatic support from the stands whereas the two teams’ style guarantee an openly contested affair. France hold an edge over Red Devils in our opinion and we are inclined towards backing them for a win here. But we’ll still spice it up a bit with goals at both ends in our prediction.

Verdict: France to Win & Both Teams to Score

Best Odds: 41/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

 

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