France vs Belgium prediction: France 1-2 Belgium
While neither of these two fluid passing sides will want to give anything away early on, we expect the game to open up in the latter stages.
Belgium are the leading scorers in the competition and their lethal front three could be the difference.
Roberto Martinez’s side have only kept one clean sheet in their last four matches.
Incredible France vs Belgium World Cup semi-final offers
France vs Belgium: Who will win?
France are favourites to win the match in normal time with odds of 31/20, while Belgium are priced at 21/10 to win.
France are 8/11 to qualify for the finals, while Belgium are 11/10.
Romelu Lukaku is 9/2 to be the first scorer of the match, while Antoine Griezmann is 7/4 to score anytime.
France vs Belgium World Cup semi-final match preview
France take on Belgium on Tuesday night at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg for a place in Sunday’s World Cup Final.
Belgium have never reached the World Cup Final, having lost to West Germany in their sole semi-final appearance in 1986.
Les Bleus have played in five previous World Cup semi-finals, going on to reach the final in 1998 (which they won) and 2006.
Belgium’s assistant coach, Thierry Henry won the World Cup in 1998 with France and is their all-time leading goalscorer.
Surprisingly, Belgium have the better head-to-head record in this fixture, winning 30 and losing 24 of their 73 matches against France. The Red Devils’ last win over the French, however, was over 16 years ago.
Belgium were 4-3 winners when the side’s last met in 2015. Marouane Fellaini (2) and Eden Hazard were among the scorers for Belgium while Nabil Fekir netted for the French.
France & Belgium’s road to Moscow
After finishing as unbeaten winners of Group C, above Denmark, Peru and Australia, France beat Argentina 4-3 in a thrilling Round of 16 clash.
Didier Deschamps’ side then beat Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter-finals, with goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.
Belgium topped Group G with three wins in three, scoring more goals than any other side in the Group Stages.
Belgium found themselves 2-0 down in their Round of 16 tie against Japan before pulling off a dramatic, last-minute 3-2 comeback.
Belgium proved they were the real deal in the last eight, beating favourites Brazil 2-1 in Kazan.
With four goals to his name, Romelu Lukaku is still in the race for the Golden Boot. Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe are both on three goals.
The winners of Tuesday’s match will face one of England or Croatia in Sunday’s Final at the Luzhniki Stadium.
France team news vs Belgium
Djibril Sidibe is France’s lone injury concern. In any case, Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard has been one of France’s strongest performers at right-back.
Blaise Matuidi returns from suspension and is set to replace Corentin Tolisso in the starting line-up.
France have a strong midfield that will free up attackers such as Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe to attack an open-looking Belgium side.
Olivier Giroud is likely to keep his spot up front, with Ousmane Dembele and Nabil Fekir attacking options from the bench.
Belgium team news vs France
Thomas Meunier is suspended for Belgium after picking up his second yellow of the tournament against Brazil.
Yannick Carrasco and Nacer Chadli are expected to be deployed as the wing-backs in the starting eleven.
West Brom’s Nacer Chadli looks like being the direct replacement for Meunier. Martinez could deploy a back four with Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld as full backs. With Thomas Vermaelen and Dedryck Boyata available. Yet, this seems unlikely.
The rest of Martinez’s side is set to stay the same.
France predicted starting line-up vs Belgium
Belgium predicted starting line-up vs France
France vs Belgium: How the tactical battle could play out
On the above graphic is how we think both sides will line up and play in the first World Cup semi-final.
This comes with the huge caveat that Belgium changed their tactics significantly for their win over Brazil, in the quarter-finals.
France meanwhile, have been very consistent in their selections and team shape for some time now under Didier Deschamps.
The key battle for us has to be N’Golo Kante vs Kevin De Bruyne. Two of the finest players in world football come up against each other, more or less directly.
Of course, other individual battles may also make a big difference, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe versus Jan Vertonghen looking enormous and Romelu Lukaku v the France defence.
With so much quality in both teams, the first goal is absolutely enormous, since France and Belgium have looked most impressive on the break at this World Cup.
All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.
The latest videos from France pre Belgium
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) July 8, 2018
With the focus now turning to Tuesday’s semi-final versus @BelRedDevils, Saturday evening saw the players who started the 2-0 victory over Uruguay take part in a recovery session in the gym and receive some treatment from our medical staff.#FiersdetreBleus #WorldCup #FRABEL pic.twitter.com/VqMOtp2Vxk
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) July 8, 2018
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) July 7, 2018
The latest videos from Belgium pre France
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) July 8, 2018
Hugs for ‘Jeanke’ ! Semifinals !!
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) July 7, 2018