The first World Cup semifinal will see France take on Belgium in Sankt Petersburg, with many already saying this could be real final of the tournament.
France hasn`t been that great in this World Cup despite advancing to this stage. Les Bleus were rather lucky and disappointing in the group stage, playing very poor football in all three matches, and the 4-3 Round 16 win against Argentina was a good result, but not a massive one – as France showed defensive weaknesses and had to convert 100% of their shots on goal for the 4-3 win. The good news for France is that they played better in the quarters against Uruguay, so their fans will hope that the team has now reached its peak in the final stages.
Belgium really had only one bad moment in this World Cup, when they trailed Japan 0-2, but even in that match it was pretty impressive to see them coming back. Aside from that Belgium won all their matches deservingly, including the 2-1 victory over title favorites Brazil in the quarterfinals. While it`s true that Brazil could have gotten a draw and maybe deserved one, Belgium played well, they were tactically sound, and their win was not unjust.Bet on France vs Belgium and claim your 100% (100 Euro) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
France has Sidibe doubtful, while Belgium will miss Meunier.
France: Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Matuidi, Kante, Pogba – Mbappe, Giroud, Griezmann
Belgium: Courtois – Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen – Dembele, Fellaini, Witsel, Chadli – De Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard
While France played pretty well against Uruguay and is definitely looking sharper than at the start of the tournament, fact is that they are still not quite playing at their full potential, and have been more or less lucky in virtually every match they played.
Even against Uruguay, France benefited from the South Americans missing their best player, Cavani, and for the second straight time scored at every shot they sent on goal. France has 6 shots on goal in the last two matches and scored 6 goals, so that is definitely pretty fortunate.
A fair case can be made that Belgium has played the best football in this tournament, and beating title favorites Brazil was an exceptional result. Their confidence and morale will be sky high after the comeback against Japan and the win over Brazil.
As far as I`m concerned France, while remaining dangerous, is just not playing that well, and Belgium is playing better football. The talent in the teams is comparable, so I`ll go with Belgium here, who is an underdog for the second straight match.
My tip is Belgium to qualify, they should have the firepower to punish France, while their new midfield pairing of Witsel and Fellaini should be able to limit France’s attacking potential. Prediction: France – Belgium 1-2.