World Cup 2018: Semi Finals Betting Tips – 10th & 11th July 2018

World Cup 2018 Russian Flag Patterned ImageThe Word Cup 2018 Quarter finals saw the hosts Russia exit after their second penalty shootout in a row against a Croatia side who also had to overcome spot kicks in the Round of 16. They will face and England side who recorded a more straightforward 2-0 victory over Sweden in Samara.

Pre-tournament favourite Brazil exited after defeat to a Belgium side who must be confident that their golden generation of players can go all the way. They’ll take on neighbours France who saw off Uruguay 2-0.

The two semis are set to be closely fought affairs. Of the four teams remaining, which will go on to the Moscow finale and which will be left to contest the dreaded third place play-off?

Semi Finals: 10th & 11th July 2018

Date Time Match Tip
10th July 2018 19:00 France v Belgium Belgium to qualify
11th July 2018 19:00 Croatia v England Croatia to qualify

France were the first country to book their place in the semi-finals, seeing off a Uruguay side who struggled without the services of striker Edinson Cavani. Outright tournament favourites Brazil were expected to join them but were denied by a Belgium side who made it 24 games unbeaten.

After comfortably beating Sweden, England reached the final four for the first time since Italia 1990. To go one stage further and potentially finally lay the ghost of ’66 to rest they’ll need to find a way past a Croatia side who have needed penalty shootouts to get past both Denmark and Russia. Will back to back bouts of extra time take their toll on Croatia and give Gareth Southgate’s men the edge?

France v Belgium

Tuesday 10th July, 19:00, BBC One

France’s World Cup chances didn’t seem all too great after such an underwhelming group stage performance. They were rather fortunate to claim winners against Australia and Peru despite both being sides Les Bleus should comfortably beat. Somehow they were even less creative against Denmark in the final group stage game, a match greeted by boos at full-time. Didier Deschamps did rest a few names for that match but with the quality in his squad, this is not a convincing excuse. Since the knockouts have started though, we’ve been treated to a far better French side and one that has got French fans in confident mood.

Les Bleus’ clash with Argentina was one of the games of the tournament so far. It was an end to end last 16 encounter and one France probably deserved to win with more comfort than they did. Their following game offered a completely different type of contest against a physical and hard to break down Uruguay side but the French professionally got the job done.

Belgium haven’t shown quite the defensive steel France displayed last time out but their attacking play has more than made up for it. The Red Devils have netted 14 times this tournament and the front trio of Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku have been a big reason behind this. They are the top scorers at Russia 2018 and will feel they can get at France here.

That said, it’s fair to say Belgium weren’t really challenged in the group stages, facing Panama, Tunisia and an England reserve side. Japan offered more of a test and looked like they might have enough to knock Belgium out of the competition when going 2-0 up. The Red Devils rallied though, with substitutes Fellaini and Chadli playing a huge part in the stunning comeback.

Full of confidence after this win, Belgium had the beating of outright favourites Brazil in what was the Canarinho’s first loss in 16 matches. The performance all over the pitch proved that this is truly Belgium’s golden generation and they appear to be almost unstoppable right now.

Belgium to qualify – 11/10 at Bet365

Croatia v England

Wednesday 11th July, 19:00, ITV

Croatia fans have had their nerves frayed after being forced to endure two consecutive penalty shootouts. The Vatreni qualified for the knockouts with such ease, collecting maximum points and hammering Argentina in the process but life has been far nervier since. Their Round of 16 match saw them take on a defensively robust Denmark side.

Both teams scored after just a few minutes but after this chances came at a premium. Luka Modric ought to have wrapped the game up in extra time but he could not convert the penalty awarded when Rebic was brought down with the goal gaping. A sense of justice did follow a few minutes later though when the Real Madrid midfielder was spared by his teammates in the shootout.

Croatia once again had a few troubles when up against another defensive and physical foe. They didn’t take too long to cancel out the opening strike against Russia but after then only Ivan Perisic was presented with a clear cut chance to score. Croatia lacked the tenacity they’ve shown previously but with a whopping nine players on the brink of a yellow card suspension, it’s no surprise why.

Any former cards are discarded at this stage meaning the Vatreni can return to their combative selves and England are in danger of losing the midfield battle as a result. The Three Lions played some decent football against Sweden when afforded space and time but looked more rattled against the physical Colombians.

Another concern for England this game is that they have yet to face a side of Croatia’s standard in this competition. Belgium put out their reserve side when facing the Three Lions while Colombia are only half the team they could be without the injured James Rodriguez.

We’ve yet to see if this England side can get the job done in such a tight looking and high-pressure contest. Set piece goals have been their main asset in Russia so far but they’ll have a tough time converting free-kicks and corners against Croatia. The Vatreni did lose concentration when allowing the World Cup hosts to equalise from a free-kick late on but this is not a mistake you should back them to make twice. Given the Three Lions are far too short at odds-on to qualify, the logical step is to back the England dream to end here.

Croatia to qualify – 23/20 at Betfair