World-Cup---Football---v2The first semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup takes place on Tuesday evening (7:00pm), with a cracking affair between France and Belgium expected. Two sides who have flattered to deceive in recent years finally get their chance to shine and book a place in the final.

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Both sides go into the game unbeaten in the tournament so far, France have won four of their five games so far, with the only blip coming in what was arguably the worst game of the tournament, when they drew 0-0 with Denmark. Les Bleus have kept three clean sheets in that time too, including the 2-0 win over Uruguay in the last game.

Belgium have won all five games and have been in fine scoring form having found the net on fourteen occasions so far, with Romelu Lukaku finding the back of the net four times. The one small concern for Belgium is their inability to keep sides at bay, with one clean sheet and five goals conceded.

The battle in midfield will be key to this game, with the physical French line of Pogba, Kante and Matuidi (who returns from suspension) looking to snuff out De Bruyne, Hazard and co, while Fellaini will possibly be employed once again as Roberto Martinez’s spoiler, after a superb performance against Brazil that saw Neymar struggle to get into the game at times.

The French full-backs may have their hands full with Belgium’s wing-backs here too. Pavard and Hernandez have looked good, but in the game against Argentina they were regularly exposed and with Meunier and Carrasco bombing down the wings for Belgium, the French attacking threat down the sides could be nullified and leave Olivier Giroud feeding off crumbs.

That’s not to say Belgium are going to have it all their own way, Giroud will have Griezmann’s skill and Mbappe’s pace alongside. Belgium as mentioned early have struggled to keep sides out and it would be a surprise to see them keep France off the scoresheet here.

The last time the sides met, Belgium won 4-3 in an epic friendly back in 2015. I do not expect as many goals, but both sides should find the net here, with set-pieces likely to make or break the result, with Belgium’s golden generation finally living up to their billing.

Belgium To Qualify @11/10

Romelu Lukaku To Score Anytime @2/1

Over 2.5 Total Goals @27/25

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