World Cup 2018: Final and Third Place Play-Off Betting Tips – 14th & 15th July 2018

Russian Flag and Golden FootballWe have reached the final weekend of what has been a fascinating and emotional 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Gareth Southgate’s England may have finally succumbed at the semi-final stage, but the Three Lions have done the nation proud. On Saturday, England will go up against Belgium in the Third Place play-off in Saint Petersburg. It’s not a game that anyone really cares about, much like the last time these sides met, although the managers are talking the talk and claiming they’ll put out strong sides.

The following day we have the main event which will no doubt be a painful watch for England and Belgium fans. France and Croatia lock horns for world football’s biggest prize. The pair meet at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for the 2018 World Cup final on Sunday afternoon. With both countries pretty evenly matched, we should be in for a cracking final in Russia’s capital.

World Cup Final: 15th July 2018

Date Time Match Tip
15th July 2018 16:00 France v Croatia France Win & BTTS

From the very first game, this World Cup has been exceptional, arguably the best there has ever been and certainly right up there with 1970, 1990 and other classic editions of the global showpiece. We have seen drama, upsets, own goals, red cards, controversial decisions – both with and without VAR, thrilling games and much more. 32 nations have now been whittled down to just two, with France and Croatia battling it out for the most prestigious trophy on the planet.

Didier Deschamps’ France head to Moscow as favourites but Croatia have already upset the odds against Argentina and England and will fear no one.

France v Croatia

Sunday 15th July, 16:00, BBC One & ITV

Deschamps’ France and Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia contest the World Cup final at the fabulous Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. This will be France’s first final since 1998, while the Croatians will be making their first ever appearance in a World Cup final. Heading to the Russian capital, Les Bleus are the slight favourites with the bookies, but don’t rule out the Blazers just yet. Will France’s experience shine through, or will there be a new name carved on the trophy?

After a relatively slow start, France have grown into the tournament, slowly but surely proving why they were one of the favourites to lift the trophy before a ball was kicked in Russia. Les Bleus beat Australia and Peru before drawing with Denmark in a dead rubber clash to take seven points from nine in Group C.

The French then edged a seven-goal thriller against Argentina in the last 16, with young Kylian Mbappe being the star of the show by netting a brilliant brace. Deschamps’ men then went on to beat Uruguay 2-0 and Belgium 1-0 to reach their second successive major final.

Croatia were arguably the best team during the group stage, beating Nigeria, thrashing Argentina 3-0 and then seeing off Iceland to make it nine points from a possible nine in Group D. Since getting into the knockout rounds, Dalic’s Blazers have needed extra time in all three matches though and that could take its toll here. The Croatians beat Denmark and Russia on penalties before seeing off England in extra time in the semi-final on Wednesday.

France have a very good record against Croatia, winning three and drawing two of the five previous meetings. The French sealed a 2-1 win on home soil when the pair squared off at the World Cup in 1998. The most recent meeting between the two ended in a goalless draw in a friendly seven years ago.

This will no doubt be a tight and tense final in Moscow, which could go either way. We can see each nation getting on the scoresheet, but we fancy France’s qualities to just shine through in the end. Croatia have a world class midfield but France have the best defence going, not to mention the world’s most exciting young talent in Kylian Mbappe. With that in mind, take a punt on Coral’s price of 9/2 for the French to win and both teams to score.

France Win & Both Teams to Score – 9/2 at Coral

Third Place Play-Off: 14th July 2018

Date Time Match Tip
14th July 2018 15:00 Belgium v England England to Win 1-0

Although England will be desperately disappointed to miss out on Sunday’s final, ending their incredible tournament with a bronze medal to their name will be an outstanding achievement by all involved. Standing in their way, however, are a talented Belgium, who have already beaten England in Russia at this World Cup.

Belgium v England

Saturday 14th July, 15:00, ITV

Roberto Martinez’s Belgium and Southgate’s England go head-to-head at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg for the Third Place play-off on Saturday afternoon. These two met in the group stage, with the Belgians coming out on top. Can England end what has ultimately been a successful campaign with third spot, or will the Red Devils get past the English again? This may be a game that neither side really wants to play in, but this could be an entertaining fixture now the pressure is off.

Belgium have had a remarkable World Cup themselves, winning every match before coming up short against France in the semi-final. In Group G, the Belgians beat the likes of Panama, Tunisia and indeed England to first place, scoring nine and shipping just two in the process. They then came from two goals down to beat Japan 3-2 in the Round of 16 before superbly beating Brazil 2-1 at the quarter-final stage.

England, meanwhile, finished runners-up behind the Belgians, winning two and losing one of their three Group G fixtures. Southgate and co won’t be too bothered by that defeat to Belgium given both sides made numerous changes. Prior to that the Three Lions impressed by edging past Tunisia and thumping Panama 6-1.

They then won their first ever penalty shootout at a World Cup when they edged past Colombia in the last 16 having played out a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes. Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli were enough to beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarters, but unfortunately for Southgate and his team, their World Cup dreams were dashed when they lost 2-1 to Croatia after extra time in the semi-final on Wednesday night.

As said, in the group game between the pair a couple of weeks back, both teams fielded weakened sides in Kaliningrad, with Belgium nicking a 1-0 win through a special strike by Adnan Januzaj. However, we can see things being a lot different this time around, and we fancy England to nick it in the 90. Bet365 are offering the tempting odds of 11/1 for the Three Lions to win 1-0 on Saturday and that looks great value to us.

England to Win 1-0 – 11/1 at Bet365