France v Belgium World Cup Semi-final Match Preview
France v Belgium, Match Prediction
This Tuesday evening (19:00) fixture is the first World Cup semi-final and comes from the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg. Here we have our match preview with all the best predictions, betting tips and match stats.
France booked their place in the last four with a 2-0 last eight defeat of Uruguay in a game they took their chances in. Their expected goals data was just 0.47 yet they bagged through Raphael Varane and an Antoine Griezmann goal which was a keeper mistake.
Belgium are into the semi-finals following a 2-1 defeat of the favourites Brazil in the previous round. A Fernandinho own-goal put them ahead and they extended the lead through Kevin De Bruyne and despite conceding in the 76th minute held firm to progress.
These two European outfits have met five times this century with the Red Devils winning twice, Les Blues once and two draws. The last meeting came in 2015 and Belgium won that 4-3 with France netting twice in the last minute.
Betting Tips and Predictions
The odds on this match look about right as they have France favourites to win the game but the price gap between them and Belgium reflects the ability of the two sides which is little between the duo.
I think a couple of plays in the goalscorer market could be the way forward in this hard to call match. Vincent Kompany had two chances against Belgium and is clearly a threat at set-pieces yet goes off much too big here. As does French frontman Corentin Tolisso who impressed in the quarters and given he plays as part of a front three and scored six times in the Bundesliga looks the value.
Vincent Kompany, first goalscorer (each-way)
Corentin Tolisso first goalscorer (each-way)
Les Blues have made this stage for the first time since finishing runners-up in 2006 and the sixth time in their history. They have lost three of their five at this stage though have won each of their last two.
France have now netted nine goals in this tournament with five of these coming from open play, two from the penalty spot an own-goal and a set-piece goal. Their leading scorers are Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe with three each.
They have shipped just four times from their five fixtures with two coming from open play, one set piece and a penalty. Three of these did come in the one game though meaning they have kept clean sheets in three of five.
France Team News
Didier Deschamps must decide whether to stick with Corentin Tolisso who started against Uruguay or the returning Blaise Matudi.
The Red Devils are in the semi-final for only the second time in their history (and are looking to make the final for the first time ever. Their previous appearance saw them go down 2-0 to Argentina in Mexico 1986.
Belgium have grabbed an impressive 14 goals in the World Cup with seven of these coming from open play and three from counter attacking. Romelu Lukaku has four goals, Eden Hazard two while seven different plays have weighed in with a goal each.
They have conceded five times in this tournament with three of these coming from open play. There have been over 2.5 goals scored in eight of their last nine (including qualifiers) World Cup games.
Belgium Team News
Roberto Martinez must decide whether to stick with the formation that worked so well against Brazil or alter it with France in mind. Thomas Meunier will miss the game through suspension.