The semi-finals are finally here. After a couple of rest days, France and Belgium will clash in front of millions around the world – England fans will be keeping a close eye on this one ahead of their fixture with Croatia on Wednesday night.
On paper, this is a mouth-watering affair. France, criticised by their own fans after failing to win the European Championships on home soil in 2016, are on the verge of another World Cup final appearance.
Didier Deschamps has his doubters but France’s “Golden Generation” look destined for success despite his shortcomings. Meanwhile, this Belgium outfit are also incredibly talented and plenty of punters will fancy Roberto Martinez’s side to prevail.
The Group G winners were well worth their victory over Brazil in the quarter-finals and France cannot afford to take Belgium lightly. It should be a World Cup semi-final to remember if everything goes to plan.
France Primed For Jules Rimet Push
Deschamps’ side were always in control in their 2-0 win over Uruguay and French fans will be hoping for a similar performance in the next round.
Les Bleus are blessed with quality in key areas of the pitch and it would take a brave man to back against France on current form – 888sport punters can back Deschamps’ men at 3/4 to reach the final.
Hugo Lloris has been a man mountain this summer – keeping three clean sheets en route to the final four. Stopping Belgium from scoring is no easy feat but France will want to keep things tight at the back.
Under 0.5 away goals is currently available at 21/10 and that is a price worth taking if you fancy Les Bleus to keep Belgium at arm’s length.
Antoine Griezmann was directly involved in both French goals against Uruguay and he may be the one to watch on Tuesday evening.
The Atletico Madrid man has had a relatively quiet tournament by his high standards but he will relish the chance to shine on the big stage. At 17/10 to score in 90 minutes, Griezmann could be France’s difference maker.
Belgium No Longer ‘Dark Horses’
This Belgium side has the quality to put France to the sword and Les Bleus will be wary of an early onslaught on Tuesday night.
Martinez’s side shocked Brazil in the quarter-finals and it would be foolish to write Belgium off here – Argentina exposed a few French weaknesses in the last-16 and punters may be tempted by the 41/20 for Belgium to win in 90 minutes.
Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard will try to unlock the French defence and Romelu Lukaku may be the main beneficiary.
With four goals so far this summer, the Manchester United man could still pip Harry Kane to the Golden Boot award; he is a 2/1 shot to get his name on the scoreboard in this encounter.
Defensively, Belgium are hit and miss. France will take plenty of confidence from that last-16 clash with Japan; the Asian side were two goals to the good before a Belgian comeback.
Les Bleus will not relinquish a lead easily if they do get their noses in front and Belgium will know that the first goal in this game could be decisive.
Belgium are determined and hungry to succeed but France have that major tournament experience – and their efforts at Euro 2016 could prove helpful here.
Mbappe was not part of the national side two years ago but he can be their knight in shining armour in this clash. Martinez’s side will not go down without a fight but France may prove too strong.
Les Bleus to win and both teams to score at 4/1 is also well worth a wager...
TIP: Kylian Mbappe to score and France to win @ 9/2
CORRECT SCORE: France 2-1 Belgium (Priced at 17/2 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*