France-Belgium Betting Preview: Lots of Ways to Win

Martin Green

Sunday, July 8, 2018 4:10 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 8, 2018 4:10 PM UTC

France and Belgium meet in St Petersburg, Russia, for a World Cup semi-final on Tuesday, and there is a great deal of value available on all outcomes.

<h2 style="text-align:center">World Cup Semi-finals: France v Belgium</h2><p>Neighbouring countries France and Belgium will meet in a heavyweight World Cup semi-final clash in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening. They are the two best teams left in the tournament and whoever prevails in this contest will become the heavy favourite to go on and lift the trophy. France have the slight edge in the betting, but they will have their work cut out against a Belgian side that just toppled tournament favourites Brazil. Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were on fire and they should fancy their chances of firing their team to glory. But France have superstar strikers of their own and all eyes will be on Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann on Tuesday.</p><p>France enjoyed a comfortable quarter-final showdown with Uruguay, who were missing Edinson Cavani. N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba won the midfield battle with ease, ensuring Didier Deschamps’ men dominated possession. It also gave France’s defence a pretty comfortable afternoon, as the supply was cut off to Luis Suarez, and they went on to win 2-0. Mbappe was not at his brilliant best, but the French did enough to power through to the next round.</p><p>Belgium needed to produce a masterful display to get past Brazil in their game, and Roberto Martinez got his tactics spot on. He beefed up his midfield by bringing in Marouane Fellaini alongside Axel Witsel, and he dropped Dries Mertens to allow De Bruyne to play in a more advanced role. Lukaku went out wide on the right and used his pace and power to make mincemeat out of Marcelo. Hazard was on fire, emerging victorious in all 10 dribbles he attempted and generally leading the Brazilians a merry dance throughout the contest. They were good value for their 2-1 victory and they should now approach the rest of the tournament with plenty of confidence.</p><p>Yet Belgium also benefited from some extremely wasteful Brazilian finishing, a questionable decision not to award a penalty to Gabriel Jesus and a bizarre Fernandinho own goal. They may not find France in quite such a charitable mood. Mbappe is full of pace, dynamism and vitality and he could end up terrorising a Belgian defence that looks a little cumbersome at times. Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are all tough, talented, experienced defenders, but hearts would sink if Mbappe got on the wrong side of them. France also have plenty of options off the bench, while Olivier Giroud provides another option in the air. Kante and Pogba should also get the better of Witsel and Fellaini, so it is easy to see why France are the favourites, priced at 31/20 with <a href="https://a.bookmakersreview.com/record/v?c=147&amp;a=e605009c-af6d-4596-a06f-dbd28d37b12f" rel="nofollow">Bet365</a>. At those odds, Les Bleus look attractive and most of the betting is currently going on them.</p><p>But Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku will not fear a French defence that conceded three goals against Argentina in the last 16. If they hit their stride, they should enjoy plenty of joy against Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti. Belgium are 21/10 underdogs and the draw is 9/4, and it looks extremely close. It might be better to avoid the outrights and go for both teams to score at 4/5 with <a href="https://a.bookmakersreview.com/record/v?c=147&amp;a=e605009c-af6d-4596-a06f-dbd28d37b12f" rel="nofollow">Bet365</a>, <a href="https://a.bookmakersreview.com/record/v?c=147&amp;a=87e126f9-4229-4364-9464-7fbff2763146" rel="nofollow">William Hill</a> and <a href="https://a.bookmakersreview.com/record/v?c=147&amp;a=bced0cf5-be5d-40a4-8446-02910689b2b5" rel="nofollow">Paddy Power</a>, and 10/11 with <a href="https://a.bookmakersreview.com/record/v?c=147&amp;a=32b59d0e-2bfb-43ac-987d-fd24429abae0" rel="nofollow">Betfair</a>. If you want more value, <a href="https://a.bookmakersreview.com/record/v?c=132&amp;a=4d1545c6-88ce-4d1a-b541-31ea9e8a0d9b&amp;f=2" rel="nofollow">Sky Bet</a> has 13/8 on both teams to score and over 2.5 goals. With the raft of attacking talent that will be on the pitch, this really should develop into an end-to-end, high-scoring encounter.</p>
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