Verdict: Belgium win
Best Odds: 21/10
On Tuesday night, France and Belgium go head-to-head in the first semi-finals of World Cup 2018. Both teams have impressed in Russia so far, but only one can make it through to Sunday’s final.
France have not hit their top form of yet in Russia. However, Les Bleus have won four of their five matches at World Cup 2018 and shown flashes of quality in the process. After a reasonably comfortable passage from their group, Didier Deschamps side has beaten Argentina and last time defeated Uruguay 2-0 thanks to goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.
Les Bleus are undefeated in their last nine outings, having recorded seven victories. France have been pretty effective at both ends of the pitch in recent games, as they have scored at least two goals in ten of their last 13 matches. At the other end of the pitch, Deschamps’ team have managed three clean sheets in their previous four games.
For France, full-back Djibril Sidibe is an injury doubt, so Benjamin Pavard could continue to deputise on at left-back. Midfielder Blaise Matuidi is available again after suspension, so could replace Corentin Tolisso in the starting line-up.
Belgium have now won their last seven international games, including all five of their games at World Cup 2018. Roberto Martinez’s side has been highly effective in front of goal of late, scoring two or more goals in six of their last seven matches.
The Red Devils scoring form has contributed to there being over 2.5 goals scored in six of their last seven games.
Belgium have only made the semi-final of the World Cup on one previous occasion, which was Mexico ’86. This team will hope to go two steps further and lift the trophy on Sunday afternoon.
Striker Romelu Lukaku will also be aiming to the four goals he has already scored, as he attempts to catch England’s Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.
Belgium will be without PSG defender Thomas Meunier due to suspension. Yannick Carrasco could come in to replace the full-back on the right. However, Mousa Dembele and Youri Tielemans could come into the team if Martinez decides to change his system.
This game has the potential to be an absolute classic, with both teams possessing some serious talent in their ranks. However, from the way that Belgium played against Brazil, I can see the Red Devils winning this game, booking their place in the Sunday’s final.
Best Odds: 21/10