The 2018 World Cup has it’s first semifinal matchup, and it is a doozy. The left side of the bracket was stacked with some of the world’s top teams, and it did not disappoint. Emerging through the trials are France, who blew past Uruguay, and Belgium, who outlasted and overpowered Brazil.
France vs. Belgium: Date, Time & Location
France and Belgium will face off on July 10th at Saint Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg. It will kick off at 2 p.m. and will be the only match that day. Neither team has appeared in this stadium previously. It will also host the third-place game on July 14th.
France vs. Belgium: Odds & Prediction
Of all the teams in the tournament, France and Belgium have stood out as two of the top teams. France started slower, and Belgium has stumbled harder in the knockout rounds, but both have had the look of champions when playing at their best.
Both of these teams are young and loaded with attacking talent. France have Mbappe and Griezmann up top, but also have veteran presence Olivier Giroud in the middle for set pieces. Belgium lead with Romelu Lukaku up top, but Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne have been driving the offense during this tournament. Belgium have scored 14 goals in Russia, the most in Belgian history at a major tournament.
After the quarterfinals, France and Belgium are the two teams with the best odds to win the entire tournament. Bovada has France as the overall favorite at +200, with Belgium slightly behind at +300.
France had a questionable start to the tournament, conceding to Australia in a tight 2-1 win. They’ve been excellent since then, keeping a clean sheet in three of four matches. They also eliminated Argentina in a wild 4-3 match, proving they could fight fire with fire in an offensive matchup. Against Uruguay, they scored early, a key factor against a defensive side. They held the lead and played solid defense, then burned Uruguay on the counter to put them away.
Belgium also scored early against Brazil, but finished the match holding on for dear life. Brazil pushed the young Red Devils to the brink, nearly scoring on multiple chances in the final minutes. In each of their two knockout matches, Belgium has conceded in the second half. It wasn’t enough in the quarterfinal, but the young squad did seem tired after running with Brazil for 90 minutes.
In the end, this match could come down to penalties. If that happens, it’ll be a duel between two of the worlds best keepers. Not only are Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois outstanding goalkeepers for Spurs and Chelsea respectively, but both made outstanding saves in the quarterfinals to help their teams advance.
It will be an outstanding match, one I’ve been hoping for since the start of the tournament. Ultimately I love France in the midfield, and their attacking flair could trouble a Belgian defense that has been shaky at times.
Early Prediction: France win 3-2
Source: Heavy Sports