By Thomas Strong
Last Updated: 10th July 2018
Tuesday 10th July
Kick-off: 7pm BST
Live on BBC 1
France vs Belgium odds
The first of the 2018 World Cup semi-finals was confirmed on Friday night, offering a match-up between arguably the two best squads still in the competition, France and Belgium.
The France vs Belgium odds currently have Les Bleus at 8/11 to qualify, whereas the Red Devils are evens to reach the final in Moscow.
Both teams have a wealth of attacking talent at their disposal, with France bagging nine goals in their five World Cup matches so far and Belgium notching a tournament-leading 14 goals.
If you’re predicting a high-scoring game, the odds on over 3.5 total match goals are 11/4.
France vs Belgium team news
Blaise Matuidi is set to return for France having been suspended for their 2-0 triumph over Uruguay and could be primed for a field day against an auxilary full-back.
The Red Devils will be without sole recognised right-back Thomas Meunier for the semi-final after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament. Matuidi is 5/1 in the anytime scorer betting and a juicy 6/1 pick to assist a goal.
Olivier Giroud is expected to keep his place in France’s starting line-up despite facing criticism for not registering a shot on target all tournament. The Chelsea target can is 6/1 to score
Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps defended his forward after France’s straight-forward victory over Uruguay.
France have now reached their sixth World Cup semi-final and they’re favourites to leave with the trophy at 2/1.
Belgium triumphed over Brazil 2-1 after a first half own goal from Fernandinho was followed by a fantastic strike from Kevin De Bruyne.
Roberto Martinez experimented with a new 3-4-2-1 formation, dropping Dries Mertens for Marouane Fellaini and freeing De Bruyne of his defensive shackles.
Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard played as a roaming center-forward duo and Martinez will be tempted to retain that system.
Eden Hazard to score first is our betting tip at 18/5.
That victory means that Belgium are now unbeaten in 24 games in all competitions and have reached their second ever World Cup semi-final. Belgium’s odds to win the World Cup for the first time are 11/4.
France vs Belgium key players to watch
Griezmann heads into the semi-final in frightening form. The Atletico Madrid man’s pinpoint cross set up Varane’s header against Uruguay before he scored a fortuitous second.
The forward now has seven goals in his last six appearances in the knockout stages of major tournaments. France also continued a run in which they haven’t lost any of the 20 games in which Griezmann notched. Better still, they’ve won the last 16 of those.
Griezmann’s odds to score first against Belgium are 5/1 and is our betting pick.
A key battle could be between Manchester-based duo Kevin De Bruyne and Paul Pogba in the middle of the park.
Having played virtually the same amount of minutes, De Bruyne dwarfs his French counter-part in terms of chances created with 16 compared to Pogba’s five. However, Pogba has attempted more passes and completed more ball recoveries his cross-town rival.
Romelu Lukaku was in fine form against Brazil, with his silky run setting up De Bruyne’s rasping finish. Lukaku has scored four times in this tournament and has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 13 appearances for Belgium.
Manchester United’s Belgian striker is the 9/2 favourite in the first goalscorer betting. If you fancy him to score first in a 90-minute victory for Roberto Martinez’s men, we’re offering enhanced odds of 4/1 (was 7/2).
There have already been four penalty shoot-outs at this World Cup finals. France vs Belgium to go to penalties is priced up at odds of 9/2.
France vs Belgium match stats
Belgium have reached the World Cup semi-finals for just the second time in their history, the first being in 1986 when they lost to eventual winners Argentina.
France have reached the World Cup semi-final for the sixth time, and have reached a World Cup final twice (1998 and 2006).
Excluding shootouts, France have lost just one of their last 13 knockout games at the World Cup. That was their 1-0 loss to Germany in the quarter-finals in 2014.