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2018 World Cup Semifinals Preview: France vs. Belgium

The 2018 World Cup heads into the final stretch with only four teams remaining in the competition. Belgium and France are two of them and they’ll play the first game. Read on for the prediction and preview of what may happen.

World Cup 2018 – Belgium vs. France

  • Date: July 10, 2018, 2:00 PM ET 
  • Betting Odds: France +151 vs Belgium +219 – Draw +225
  • Belgium to Advance PK +113
  • France to Advance PK -135

It’s the first time since the 1986 World Cup the two Europeans nations compete in a game of this importance. France won the third place back them with a score of 4-2 but Belgium’s new “Golden Generation” should make this game much more competitive.

A Look At Belgium

Both of these team’s ranks are chock-full of talent. France’s Griezmann and Mbappe are just as talented as Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard and none of them will back down an inch.

After a slow start, Belgium has found its flow which will make this high-stakes game all the more interesting and difficult to win.

Both sides will attempt to break each other’s lines of defense but will likely be wary to give their opponents an opening to counter-attack.

After being harried by a tricky Japanese team, Belgium shored up its midfield with Fellaini and Nacer Chadli and moved Lukaku to the right while using De Bruyne as a “false nine” that worked well in their win over Brazil.

But will the same strategy work well against France’s packed defense and fast-paced counter-attack?

The biggest test for Belgium’s midfield will be to break past N'Golo Kanté. Chelsea’s defensive midfielder has been instrumental to France’s success in Russia and will make it hard for Belgium to find scoring opportunities.

Kevin de Bruyne is Belgium’s playmaker and will look to find either Eden Hazard on the left or to Romelu Lukaku on the right for quick counter-attacks to break France’s defense.

Belgium Predicted Lineup: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Carrasco, Fellaini, Witsel, Chadli, De Bruyne, Lukaku, E.Hazard

A Look At France

France also had a slow start to their World Cup bid with lackluster performances through all their group stage matches and unconvincing wins over Australia and Peru in Group C.

Nevertheless, the French squad put the pedal to the metal since getting past Denmark in the last 16 and combined for six goals in their wins over Argentina and Uruguay.

Forwards Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have combined with target man Olivier Giroud and have a formidable forward line that’s deadly effective in disrupting opposing defenses.

France is also balanced on the defensive side with center backs Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane, who along with Benjamin Pavard are great at setting up attacks from deep.

It’s this balance that makes France a difficult opponent to defeat and make it a hard nut to crack for Belgium.

 Though young in age, Mbappe will once more be called upon to drive his team to victory. The 19-year has raised eyebrows after his fantastic performance against Argentina. The PSG star dismantled Argentina’s defenses, taking part in three goals and became the first teenager to net 3 goals in a World Cup since Brazil great Pele did it in the 1958 World Cup finals with six goals to his tally.

France Predicted Lineup: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Lucas, Pogba, Kante, Mbappe, Griezmann, Tolisso, Giroud

Prediction: The Red Devils are riding high on the hog after taking down the five-time time world champions Brazil. But, France will not be denied after having lost the last Euro Cup on their soil. France wins 2-1.