The first 2018 World Cup Semi Final will be played between France and Belgium on Wednesday morning and has been touted as the ‘Real’ World Cup Final.
Both these teams are stacked with attacking firepower and there is every chance that this could prove to be one of the matches of the tournament.
Will France return to the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 or will Belgium record the biggest win in their history? We have analysed both sides and our complete 2018 World Cup Semi Finals tips can be found below.
Wednesday 11 July, 4:00am, Krestovsky Stadium
France vs Belgium Betting
France are narrow favourites to win this game in regular time and they are currently at odds of $2.45, while both Belgium and a draw at the end of 90 minutes are $3.10.
France are $1.73 to qualify for the 2018 World Cup Final and $2 is available for Belgium to set-up a clash with either Croatia or England.
How They Got There
France didn’t set the world on fire in the Group stages, but they head into this clash with Belgium on the back of impressive wins over Argentina and Uruguay.
There is no doubt that they produced their best performance of the tournament to date against Argentina and they did enough to get by what was a fairly disappointing Uruguay outfit.
Belgium finished the pool stages with three straight wins, but their World Cup almost ended in the round of 16 as they required three late goals to eliminate Japan.
They went into their Quarter Final clash with Brazil as underdogs, but an outstanding first half performance put them in the box seat and they were able to hold on in the second half.
Belgium and France have not met in a competitive since they met in the Third Place Playoff at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, but they have met in a number of friendlies in recent years.
They played out a pair of 0-0 draws in 2011 and 2013, but their last meeting in 2015 was an absolute corker that Belgium won 4-3.
The two neighbours have played on 28 previous occasions and there is nothing between them – Belgium have won 10 matches, France have won nine and there has also been nine draws.
This is a huge game for two national sides that have both promised a great deal without ever taking that next step in recent years.
It is France that will start this clash as favourites and I think that they are deserving of that status.
Both these teams have so much attacking talent that they almost even themselves out and it will be the side that performs the best at the back that will progress to the 2018 World Cup Final.
They did concede two goals against Argentina, but France have generally been fairly well organised during this tournament and they will need to be at their very best to keep the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne under wraps.
Belgium were excellent against Brazil in the first half, but they definitely ran out of legs somewhat in the second half and their defence was badly exposed.
Brazil had plenty of chances to equalise in the concluding stages and the past couple of games have proven that Belgium can be got at out wide.
That could play into the hands of Kylian Mbappe and he will be the key man for France.
I don’t expect this to be your usual cagey World Cup Semi Final and we could be treated to a potential classic, but I can’t go past France in this intriguing encounter.
France To Win And Both Teams To Score @ $5