Now narrowed down to four teams, the first semifinal face-off in the FIFA World Cup will have France and Belgium confront each other at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. The Belgians recently knocked out World Cup favorites Brazil which makes them a greater threat to the well-oiled French team that beat Uruguay 2-0.
Both teams sent home the last two South American teams in the tournament, and are now heavily favored to go all the way to the finals. In terms of performance, France and Belgium did not disappoint, so expect these two to go all out as they clash for the victory.
On the predictions side, early odds display that Les Bleus (The Blues) is slightly ahead of the Belgians. But, everyone has to remember that this has been one of the most unpredictable World Cups of all-time, so nothing is certain especially at this point in time as both nations proved that they are worthy of the title.
Here are several key points for France and Belgium as they aspire to advance to the World Cup final.
France Talking Points
With an arsenal of gifted players in the squad, France has the look of a real World Cup contender since their astonishing performance in the 2016 Euros.
France won all but one of their matches in the competition, with the only insufficient result being their 0-0 stalemate against Denmark in the group stages.
In their opening knockout stage match, the French faced runners-up Argentina and made clear that they were the better team after astonishing results showcased by star forward Kylian Mbappe and a surprise goal by Benjamin Pavard. It was apparent that the French team had more pace to the ball and often pierced through the defense of the South American squad. The game featured 7 goals, with France taking the win 4-3.
The quarterfinals saw France taking on a reduced Uruguay team after Edinson Cavani suffered an injury against Portugal. The French took advantage of this and won the game 2-0 and a displayed a commanding presence in the defensive third.
In 2 days time, they face their biggest opponents in Belgium but it appears that the Didier Deschamps-driven squad are prepared to take on The Red Devils.
Belgium Talking Points
If you were impressed by the French, team Belgium is definitely worth a look after winning all of their matches going to the World Cup semifinals. In the group stages, they brushed away the competition unscathed, including a 1-0 win over England.
The only adversity the Belgians face was after a close match against Japan, going down 2-0 in the early stages of the second half, but eventually winning 3-2 thanks to a 94th-minute goal by Nacer Chadli. This was the goal that sent Belgium to face Brazil.
In the quarterfinals, the Belgians were rock-solid against the favorites, but an error from Brazil gave the Europeans an early advantage. Kevin De Bruyne doubled their lead with a strike went past a fully stretched Alisson Becker as they progressed to the final four with a 2-1 win.
Coach Roberto Martinez is instrumental in the team’s promising performance in the World Cup, and they are expected to face another tense match against the French.
On the side of the 1998 World Cup champions, it is apparent that the French team has enough personnel to open up this game, especially with Belgium facing a few hiccups on the defensive end from time to time. The French have also shown their robust defense which will prove vital against the Belgians.
Nonetheless, the Belgians have players who have the ability to pierce through strong defensive teams and produce moments of magic to turn the game to their favor in a snap. In addition, the team’s work rate is so high that players from France might have trouble locking in on one player to stop.
In all, Belgium may have the tougher road, but if they continue their style of football they can be more than just underdogs and take down the French team and make their way to the final.