Only European teams remain in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and two of the best will be on show when France and Belgium lock horns. These two neighbours not only have a fierce rivalry, but also boast two of the best squads at the tournament, so you know this is a game you can’t miss.
While Belgium’s class has been apparent throughout this World Cup, most fans of football were skeptical of their ability to go deep in the tournament despite an embarrassment of riches in their roster. Halfway through the second-half in the Round of 16, you could almost hear the ‘I told you so’s’ from most pundits as they trailed Japan two goals to nil.
Then Belgium struck, as only Belgium can, scoring three unanswered goals in regular time to steal a famous victory from Japan’s grasp. The beast had stirred.
Brazil started as the favourites against Belgium in the quarter-finals, although were blown away by Belgium’s incredible passing and counter-attack. Eden Hazard barely mis-controlled the football. Romelu Lukaku was a monster up front. Marouane Fellaini made the Brazilians look like school kids, while Kevin De Bruyne was, and is, on another planet.
Their quarter-final win will have the world on notice. Belgium can actually win this thing, although they will have to knock off the red-hot French to do so, and that won’t be an easy task at all.
For France have been brilliant themselves, seeing off two South American opponents in the knockout stages. While Edison Cavani’s absence from Uruguay combined with a horrible goalkeeping error was the catalyst behind the victory in the quarter-finals, anyone who watched the game will tell you the French were on another level.
So then, two of the best teams in the tournament collide, and the winner will be the overwhelming favourite in the final considering the teams on the other side of the draw. There’s little recent history between the teams (their last match was a 2015 friendly that finished 4-3), and they haven’t met at the World Cup since 1986.
Overall, Belgium have won 30 to France’s 24, while there have been 19 draws. We certainly can’t split these teams, and are predicting a twentieth draw on Tuesday night. Both teams can score goals, so we’re going for a 2-2 scoreline after 90 minutes, with the Belgians to shock the World and continue their march towards an incredible first final appearance.
In terms of odds, the draw is paying +242. France are the slight favourites at +130, while Belgium are +207. The 2-2 draw is on offer for +1300.