France vs Belgium World Cup 2018
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.
France vs Belgium Preview
France vs Belgium will kickoff at 2pm ET on Tuesday, July 10 and will be played at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
France Likely Starting XI
- Hugo Lloris
- Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez
- Paul Pogba, N’golo Kante, Kylian Mbappe
- Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele
- Olivier Giroud
Didier Deschamps surprised us by replacing the absent Blaise Matuidi with Corentin Tolisso in the match against Uruguay. Matuidi is back for selection, although we’re tipping Ousmane Dembele to get a run, giving France an extra spark up front against a solid Belgian defence.
Antoine Griezmann was lucky to get on the scoresheet in the last match, and has really been outshone by Kylian Mbappe in this tournament. As long as France are winning he won’t mind, but we’d like to see more from the Atletico Madrid striker.
Belgium Likely Starting XI
- Thibaut Courtois
- Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen
- Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Nacer Chadli
- Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard
Roberto Martinez has been one of the most tactically astute managers at this tournament, and his decision to play four at the back and stack his side full of height in their match against Brazil was a master stroke. We could certainly see him sending out a similar lineup given that France and Brazil’s attacking players are equally potent.
The absence of Thomas Meunier through suspension probably won’t be enough to persuade Martinez into a back three – he will surely call on Thomas Vermaelen.
Other Betting Opportunities
Remember that the head to head market is relevant for the result at the end of 90 minutes, and in the event of the match going to extra time or penalties the ‘draw’ option would be the winner.
If you think there is the possibility of extra time, as we do, the ‘will there be an overtime’ market from Sports Interaction is paying +192.
If you would rather take the option of picking which team will progress, Betway offer a ‘to qualify’ line, and are paying -134 for a France win regardless of whether penalties are required to separate the teams. Belgium are paying +115, and this market offers great value for both sides – if you can pick the winner of course.
Of course, there are plenty of other markets that could provide a decent outlay, and may be a safer bet than the head to head opportunities.
Both teams have excellent players up front, and therefore the ‘both teams to score’ line comes into play. We’re all for it, and recommend placing a wager on ‘yes’ at -122.
Eden Hazard has already won two man of the match awards in this tournament (against Tunisia and Japan), and was easily the best player on the field against Brazil despite missing out on the honour. His tireless work rate in that match didn’t earn a goal, but we have a feeling he won’t be empty handed in this match. At +221 there’s great value on offer.
Picking the correct score is tough, although there’s plenty of reward for your risk. At +1300, our 2-2 prediction is not one of the favourites, and will therefore offer plenty in return.
FIFA World Cup Knockout Stage Odds
***Round of 16
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
Match 50: France vs Argentina Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 49: Uruguay vs Portugal Odds (2 p.m. ET)
SUNDAY, JULY 1
Match 51: Spain vs Russia Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 52: Croatia vs Denmark Odds (2 p.m. ET)
MONDAY, JULY 2
Match 53: Brazil vs Mexico Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 54: Belgium vs Japan Odds (2 p.m. ET)
TUESDAY, JULY 3
Match 55: Sweden vs Switzerland Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 56: Colombia vs England Odds (2 p.m. ET)
FRIDAY, JULY 6
Match 57: France vs Uruguay Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 58: Brazil vs Belgium Odds (2 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY, JULY 7
Match 60: Sweden vs England Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 59: Russia vs Croatia Odds (2 p.m. ET)
TUESDAY, JULY 10
Match 61: France vs Belgium (2 p.m. ET)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
Match 62: Croatia vs England (2 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY, JULY 14
Match 63: Match 61 loser vs. Match 62 loser (10 a.m. ET)
SUNDAY, JULY 15
Match 64: Match 61 winner vs. Match 62 winner (11 a.m. ET)
=> World Cup Final Odds