France v Belgium Betting Tips & Preview
Both teams have the attacking potential to make this an exciting encounter as they fight for a spot in the Final.
France v Belgium – Wednesday 4:00am, SBS & Optus Sport
These two sides both have the attacking potential to make this an exciting encounter and while France were often frustrated at times in their group stage encounters, as well as versus the typically dogged Uruguay in the previous round, Belgium will attempt to find a route to goal through open play rather than just set pieces alone.
Indeed, the Red Devils are top scorers at this World Cup, but they won't be as open at the back as Argentina were against Le Blues – though both teams should find the net. That has happened in three of Belgium's four gamases at this World Cup when excluding their opening day victory over minnows Panama, while both teams have scored in seven France's last 11 outings.
Any doubts about Belgium's big-game mentality evaporated after they took charge of their quarter-final with Brazil, and their squad is now at a perfect age to fulfil the expectations surrounding this golden generation. The average age of the past six winners has been 27.1 (Belgium are 27.7) with relationships between key players long in the making.
They have 19 wins from 24 unbeaten games since losing to Spain in Martinez's first game in charge, while the three goals France conceded against a weak Argentina side is worrying given that was the only time someone has gone to-toe with Deschamps’s men. He still seems unsure over his best starting XI and we expect Belgium to take it to extra-time at the very least.
Kevin De Bruyne capitalized on a tactical shift that saw him occupy a higher position up the pitch versus Brazil, netting the eventual winner, but that was only his second strike in 27 games and he's more likely to provide an assist than produce a goal. Martinez will surely not change a winning formula at this crucial stage, and the switch saw Lukaku selflessly work the channels with Hazard free to drift into the central areas.
The captain has six goals in his last 10 appearances, while he's grabbed the opener inside 17 minutes in three of the last four in which he's scored - while he was only 11 minutes behind Lukaku in the exception.