France v Belgium World Cup 2018 semi-final preview

The World Cup in Russia has now reached the semi-final stages, and the competition has now become more of a European Championships, as all semi-finalists are European.

On Tuesday night, the first World Cup semi-final takes place, as France clash with Belgium in Saint Petersburg.

France have made it through to the last four without hitting top gear at World Cup 2018. Didier Deschamps side has won four of their five games in Russia, including beating Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter-finals to make the last four of the competition.

Les Bleus defensive displays have been solid, as they managed to keep three clean sheets in their last four games at the World Cup.

France will be taking part in their sixth World Cup semi-final. However, it is worth noting that they have only won the trophy once, which was back 1998 on home soil.

Belgium have been one of the outstanding performers of World Cup 2018, winning all five of their games in Russia so far. Roberto Martinez’s team have managed to score at least twice in four of their last five games.

One of those games was a famous 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarter-finals, as an own goal Fernandinho and a Kevin De Bruyne strike were enough to see the Red Devils set-up this clash. The win against the Selecao means that Roberto Martinez’s team are undefeated in 24 games.

Belgium have only ever made the last four on one other occasion when they finished fourth-place in Mexico back in 1986. There is a belief that they can go all the way this and lift the trophy next Sunday.

However, recent history between the two teams is undoubtedly on the side of France, as Belgium have won just two of the last ten meetings between the two teams.

Team News

France are able to welcome back midfielder Blaise Matuidi from suspension. However, Les Bleus still have fitness doubts over full-backs Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy, so Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez could continue in the full-back positions.

Belgium heads into this game without the suspended Thomas Meunier, while winger Nacer Chadli is a doubt for Martinez’s team. The Belgian boss will be keen not to make too many changes after the Brazil win last time out.

Prediction

This is a fascinating clash, and either team could progress to the final. However, as we saw in the quarter-finals, Belgium seems to have great belief, and I think the Red Devils will come out on top in an entertaining encounter.

Who will make it to the World Cup final, France or Belgium?

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