World Cup Semi-Final: France v Belgium

France v Belgium
Belgian and French supporters gather at a cafe on July 9, 2018 near the French-Belgian border, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Belgium and France on July 10, 2018. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images)

Before England v Croatia kicks off on Wednesday, fans are treated to another potentially classic World Cup matchup; France v Belgium. The two sides were among the early favourites among fans for the cup and both are yet to have lost a game so far in the competition.

France professionally saw off Uruguay in the last round by a score of 2-0 while Belgium provided a slight shock with a historic win against five times champions Brazil. Both sides will consider this a massive opportunity to win their respective first and second World Cup trophies. The winner will face either England or Croatia in the final.

France v Belgium: World Cup Semi-Final Preview

Key Men for France

France have one of the best squads in World football. It is of no surprise that they have reached this stage of the competition. No other nation has the luxury of omitting the likes of Martial and Benzema from their squad.

The star man for the French so far has been PSG star Kylian Mbappe. The attacker expertly ripped apart Argentina in the last 16, scoring twice in the process. The youngster’s pace, power, skill and clinical finishing has seen him compared to the likes of Thierry Henry and the Brazilian Ronaldo. The former Monaco man is certainly the Jewel in the French crown.

Football is a team game and it’s not all about the goal scorers. Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has been pivotal in ensuring the French backline has been relatively relaxed so far this tournament. The energetic midfielder is one of the best ball winners in world football and will likely be the difference maker against a very strong Belgium side.

Key Men for Belgium

The Belgians also have their fair share of World Class players. The likes of Eden Hazard, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin De Bruyne are all regarded as near the best in the world in their respective positions.

Striker Romelu Lukaku will need to be on form if the Belgian’s are to cause an upset. The Manchester United man is big, strong and deadly in front of goal. Belgium won’t receive as many chances as they did against Brazil, if they do get an opportunity, it is vital that Lukaku capitalises upon it.

France v Belgium: Prediction

Despite a comfortable scoreline, Belgium’s defence was horrific against Brazil. Had the South American’s been on form, Belgium could have been two or three goals down after 20 minutes. Belgium also conceded twice against a very average Japanese side but also survived that scare.

France will not pass up these opportunities. Despite being in a World Cup Semifinal, they’ve yet to hit top form. Their first top-class performance of the competition may come here and they could embarrass their European neighbours if they do.

Prediction: France 3-1 Belgium

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