And then there were four! Down to the Semi-Finals, kicking off with this huge battle between France and Belgium at Saint Petersburg Stadium.
What’s their current form?
France cruised into the knockout stage, albeit via fortunate first round win against Australia, where an own goal by the Socceroos in the final 10 minutes handed the French a 2-1 victory. They they did enough to beat Peru 1-0 before holding Denmark to a scoreless draw. They then had a highly entertaining and great quality battle with Argentina, scoring a 4-3 victory. Kylian Mbappe bagging two goals in the space of 5 minutes got his side home. France then toppled Uruguay 2-0 in the Quarters.
Belgium went through their group matches undefeated, starting with a 3-0 win over Panama, before belting Tunisia 5-2 and then eclipsing England 1-0 in a dead rubber, as both sides had already advanced. Belgium waited until the final minute to put Japan away when Chadli slotted the match winner in the 94th minute to beat Japan 3-2. A Fernandinho own goal inside the first 15 minutes before De Bruyne bagged a goal after half an hour was enough to give Belgium a 2-1 victory over one of the pre-tournament favourites, Brazil.
France: Lloris; Mendy, Varane, Rami, Pavard; Kante, Pogba, Tolisso; Mbappe, Lemar, Griezmann.
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Meunier, de Bruyne, Witsel, Carrasco; Mertens, Lukaku, Hazard.
Any interesting facts I should know?
Belgium ended Brazil’s 25 game undefeated streak, while France have scored 6 goals in their two knockout matches so far.
What should I be betting on?
France will be favourites, but no one can deny Belgium’s brilliance in this tournament. If they can beat England and Brazil, then they can surely beat France too. This could well go to a shoot-out.
Belgium are the only nation to have won all 5 of their matches in Russia and The Wolf cannot get enough of them following a stunning performance against Brazil. They were phenomenal on the counter and the final 20 minutes from Hazard was spectacular. Just when Brazil looked to gain momentum he would either hold the ball up, burn two defenders or draw a foul. It had been 30 internationals since Brazil conceded multiple goals and Belgium could have had more. They have now score two or more in 15 of their last 18 and are unbeaten in 24 matches! They lead the tournament with 14 goals and have speed to burn. So do the French with Mbappe and Griezmann which is why The Wolf is predicting goals. Over 2.5 is 5-2 in Belgium’s last 7 games and they have scored at least 3 in 10 of their last 15. As good as Knate is, shutting down the counter on his own is too much to ask for. Belgium have had the tougher path of the two and past every test with flying colours. Their ‘golden generation’ will progress to the final.
TV channel, kick-off time, betting odds, tips, live stream and team news
What time is kick off? The game starts at 9pm (local time) on July 10. In Australia, kick-off will be at 4am on July 11th.
What TV Channel is it on and can I live stream it? In Australia, the only network with live broadcast rights is SBS. SBS Radio will also cover games that aren’t broadcast. Optus Sport in Australia will broadcast every game live as well via live streaming, however it will be available to subscribers only.
What’s the team news and who’s injured? Both sides got through the quarters with no reported injuries.
Who’s the referee? Not yet announced.
What happened the last time they played each other? There have been 73 games between these sides. France has scored 24 victories, while Belgium has 30 and another 19 games have been drawn. They last met in 2015 where Belgium won 4-3. The two matches prior were scoreless draws and before that was a 2-0 win to France, in 2004.