Belgium vs. France
|Date & Time||Tuesday July 10, 2018, 2:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: France +145 / Draw +211 / Belgium +215 -- Over/Under: 2
We have some World Cup semifinals action on tap on Tuesday from the Saint-Petersburg Stadium as France takes on Belgium.
France booked their spot in the final four of the tournament with a 2-0 win over Uruguay on Friday. Raphael Varane gave Les Bleus the lead 40 minutes in, converting an Antoine Griezmann free kick, heading it past the Uruguayan goalkeeper. France struck again just after the hour mark when Griezmann took a harmless looking shot that ended up in the back of the net following a howler from the Uruguayan goalie Muslera. France out possessed Uruguay 58%-42% with each side logging 11 shots. However it was all about quality and not quantity for France, as Uruguay had 4 shots on target while France had just two shots on goal, both of which found the scoreboard.
Belgium on the other hand will be looking to keep their dream run going after a 2-1 win over Brazil in their quarterfinal on Friday. The Red Devils caught a lucky break in the 13th minute when a corner deflected off of Brazil’s Fernandinho for the own goal to give Belgium the lead. Just 18 minutes later, Belgium doubled their advantage thanks to a superb run from Romelu Lukaku that ended up on the foot of Kevin De Bruyne, who fired it far side into the back of the Brazilian goal. Brazil pulled a goal back in the 76th minute, making for a nervy final 15+ minutes, but Belgium held on for the victory. Belgium were owned statistically by Brazil despite winning the game, allowing Brazil to maintain 57% possession to Belgium’s 43%, while being outshot 26-8 and 9-3 in regards to shots on goal.
Belgium have had the recent run of success head-to-head, having not lost to France since 2004, with the three meetings this decade resulting in a pair of scoreless draws and a 4-3 Belgian win in a friendly back in June 2015.
I touted Spain vs. Portugal in the group stage as the potential match of the tournament, but I have a feeling this game will upstage that. You have the two most exciting teams in the tournament facing off in this one and it genuinely could go either way. I think the safest bet here would probably be the over, but for the sake of picking a side, as much as I love France and had them winning the tournament in my personal bracket, I’ve really come to like what I’ve seen from Belgium. They’re confident offensively, and have the speed to match France’s pace. I wouldn’t be surprised if Les Bleus pulled this one out, but I just can’t look past Belgium and the value here. Give me the Red Devils to continue their dream run to Luzhniki to play for the championship.