Krestovsky Stadium - World Cup Semi-Finals
Two of Europe’s most exciting teams go up against each other in the World Cup semi-finals, as France and Belgium aim for a place in Saturday’s final. With the attacking talent on show in Saint Petersburg, we could be in for a cracking game.
Belgium won the most recent meeting between the countries 4-3, with the two games prior to that ending goalless. Those fixtures were all friendlies though, and the nations haven’t played a competitive match since the 1986 World Cup, with France winning 4-2 after extra-time.
France have no suspensions for this game, despite things getting heated against Uruguay in their quarter-final clash. Blaise Matuidi could come back into the side after a ban, while reserve left-back Benjamin Mendy is the only injury concern for Didier Deschamps.
Roberto Martinez has no injuries or suspensions to worry about, but he has plenty of selection headaches. Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli both performed well against Brazil after they each scored off the bench against Japan, and they’re surely in line to keep their places for this match.
France v Belgium Preview and Predictions
Both of these teams have stuttered a little at times so far this summer, but both look to be hitting top stride ahead of the semi-finals. France dealt with a difficult Uruguay side very well in the quarter-finals, while Belgium put in a superb display against Brazil.
Les Bleus produced a mature performance against their wily South American opponents on Friday, and even though there were little reactions at times, they let their football do the talking for the most part. When they do, it can be incredible to watch, although there’s no doubt France were aided by Edinson Cavani’s absence and a goalkeeping howler against Uruguay.
Deschamps’ side are 8/5 for the win, while Belgium are 21/10. The Red Devils served up one of the most impressive World Cup performances in recent memory to knock favourites Brazil out in their last game. Strong at the back and with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard operating behind Romelu Lukaku, Friday night seemed to be the moment this Belgian side began to realise their potential.
These two teams look to be closely matched though, so the draw after 90 minutes could certainly come into play at 23/10. Obviously there has to be a winner by hook or by crook, with France at 4/5 to qualify for the final and Belgium 11/10 for the same bet.
Score draw at 15/4
It’s virtually impossible to see this game ending goalless, but the teams look hard to separate and we could be in for extra-time.
Over 2.5 goals at 23/17
We hope for an exciting game where attacks are on top - another seven-goal thriller can get you odds of 60/1 if you back over 6.5 goals.