World Cup Semi Final Predictions and Odds 2018

10th July 2018 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions
World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions

The semi-final stage of Russia 2018 has arrived. France are the 2/1 outright favourites* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) to get their hands on the title. But neither of the semi finals that we are going to see this week look cut and dry at all.

France and Belgium look as evenly matched for their game, as does England and Croatia in theirs. If you stick all four of those teams together, all are more than capable of producing a result against the others on a good day.

So the World Cup semi finals is just going to be down to who can deliver that extra special touch on the day. Picking a winner out of these four European teams now for the title isn’t easy at all. But here we try and breakdown what could happen in our World Cup semi final predictions. 

World Cup 2018 winner odds*

France 2/1
England 11/4
Belgium 11/4
Croatia 4/1
* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.)

France v Belgium

Tuesday, July 10th – 7 PM kick-off

 

France were one of the front-runners to win the 2018 World Cup from the outset and now they are the outright favourites to do so at the semi-final stage. However, we don’t see much of a difference between them and any of the other semi-finalists. It all looks to be a pretty even playing field. Despite France having an abundance of talent in their squad, this by no means is a vintage France side. They do struggle at times to play together that convincingly as a team, but then again the same can be very much said of their opponents Belgium. So this is probably going to be a tight semi-final fixture.

France weren’t impressive at all through their group stage campaign, not putting together a cohesive display at all even against weaker opposition in Peru and Australia. But they got through and they did settle down once they hit the knockout stage. They put together a much stronger attacking show as they beat Argentina 4-3 in the round of sixteen, but it could be argued that was a really poor Argentinian side that they were up against. They looked composed then and comfortable in their 2-0 triumph over Uruguay in the semi-finals. So it hasn’t been the easiest route through the knockout stages.

France at their very best can take down anyone in the world. They haven’t quite gotten it together as an attacking force though with Olivier Giroud up top and Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann supporting behind him. Really that suits Mbappe only. France have only failed to score in one of their last fourteen games and that was that dreadful 0-0 draw with Denmark at the end of the group stage when both were happy to take a point. What we like about France though is their depth and they have so much talent there that someone is likely to have a fine game. They are not just reliant on one man. We are going for both teams to score for 8/11 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.).

Belgium has proven time and time again in the recent form that their attack can destroy defences. The Belgians are on a seven-match winning streak and they have scored at least three goals in five of their last six wins. It has been impressive stuff in front of goal, but they are guilty at times of not playing together that well as a team. We saw it in the group stage against Panama for example and again in their round of sixteen match against Japan where they were shockingly poor and found themselves 2-0 down in the second half. But they managed to come up with a response. That response was long balls.

But they got things so tactically right in their quarter-final tie against Brazil that they are going to have trouble topping that immense performance. Belgium were so impressive in the first half of that game, Kevin de Bruyne was given a free role going forward with no defensive duties which had been holding him back in this tournament. Romelu Lukaku held up the ball so well and was direct with his running, while Eden Hazard was always a threat on the ball. When Belgium do get it together then they can look very, very good. The question is, was that success over Brazil, their peak? How do they replicate that?

It won’t be easy and even though Belgium are in hot form, they haven’t faced too much tough opposition in their long unbeaten streak. All but three of their last fifteen games have produced over 2.5 goals so even though semi finals are usually tight affairs, we see this being open. The Red Devils can be a bit gung-ho when they need to be, but they will probably approach this game with a modicum of caution. They are in great form and should be confident and full of self-belief after their performance against France. But they have conceded five goals in their last four games.

Head to head

Belgium are ahead from previous meetings with a 10-9 record, with nine drawn games. The last time Belgium and France met was in 2015 with Belgium taking a 4-3 win in France. It does mean that France are winless in their last three against the Belgians now (D2 L1) but the last time they did meet competitively was at the 1986 World Cup with France taking a 4-2 victory. Both teams have scored in just two of the last seven meetings between the two sides.

France v Belgium winner odds*

France 31/20
Belgium 21/10
Draw 9/4
* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.)

Prediction: These two nations both look very similar in their set up. They have key creative players. They have good defences, but arguably Belgium have a big extra edge up top in Romelu Lukaku. They have been more clinical in front of goal than the French have been and while they may not hit the levels of their game against Brazil, Belgium right now are facing a France side who can be a bit hit and miss themselves. We are rolling with Belgium to get through this tie and are going with them in the match outright at 21/20 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) as our prediction for the France v Belgium game.

Croatia v England

Wednesday, July 11 – 7 PM kick-off

Croatia looked a major threat in this tournament on the back of their group stage displays. Their most impressive result in that first section of the tournament was their 3-0 win over Argentina when they were such good value for that win against Lionel Messi and co. When the draw in the round of sixteen opened up for them, going against Denmark (and having to then play Russia instead of Spain in the quarter finals) , it should have seen Croatia go from strength to strength. But instead, they have gone back into their shell a little bit.

The Croatia that we have seen in the knockout phase isn’t the free-flowing confident Croatia that we saw in the group stage and that is not the first time we have seen that from them at major tournaments. They needed a penalty shootout success against both Denmark and Russia in the knockout rounds to make it to the final four. Interestingly too they had fallen behind in both of those games too and they both ended 1-1 at 90 minutes as well. So they haven’t had things their own way at all and all of the extra excursions that they have gone through may be starting to take its toll physically and mentally.

Even though Croatia are more technically gifted than England are, you wonder how much fatigue is going to come into play in this game. The longer it wears on you get the feeling that Croatia are going to be less and less at an advantage. Luka Modric has been brilliant at this tournament but he has put in a lot of hard graft and it will be interesting to see if they just move him forward to relieve him of any defensive duties in the midfield. That would probably benefit Croatia who haven’t really had a settled starting eleven at this tournament. Just as this game is for England, this is a huge opportunity for Croatia to reach the World Cup Final.

England have brought plenty of energy, positive attitude and self-belief to this tournament. Boss Gareth Southgate brought a young squad with him to the tournament and they have repaid his trust. There have been great individual performances along the way from the likes of keeper Jordan Pickford, defenders Kieran Trippier and Harry Maguire, and captain Harry Kane has stood up and led the team so well. They haven’t been afraid to have a go at teams and they have been happily playing the ball out from the back. The young Three Lions have been playing with spirit and passion which has sadly been lacking from recent England teams.

So it is all good from them and they have exceeded expectations to get this far. It’s not all been perfect of course because they have scored most of their goals from set plays and are lacking that creative edge in open play. But they are simply playing to their strengths and delivering. What has been nice is that they have faced different scenarios too and have stood up to the test. They had to keep plugging away to find a stoppage-time winner against Tunisia. They had run rampant against Panama when they were well on top. They scrapped and battled through a niggly physical trial against Colombia and then when it came to their quarter final matchup against Sweden, they produced a solid, composed performance.

England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for just the third time. They just seem to have this feeling about them that no matter what is in front of them, they are going to find a way to get through. We have seen that from them so far. England’s advantage in terms of youth and pace should come into play more and more during the second half of this contest. This is a massive opportunity for this group of players to create some more history for themselves and at the moment, they look brave enough to go and grasp this opportunity with both hands. It’s not been perfect but has been done with passion.

Head-to-head

The last time England and Croatia were against each other was during World Cup 2010 qualification. England produced a 4-1 win and 5-1 win against the Croats. This will only be the eighth meeting between the two nations and England are 4-2 ahead with the one drawn match. Interestingly five of those previous seven meetings have seen at least four goals scored. Both teams have scored in five of the seven previous meetings as well.

Croatia v England winner odds*

England 11/8
Draw 21/10
Croatia 5/2
* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.)

Prediction: We think that this is going to go beyond 90 minutes and then we see the advantage going to England in extra time. England just have to find a way to win this and they continue to look a threat from set pieces and have their back line and keeper in good form. The quality of Croatia is going to be a threat, but there is nothing here that England shouldn’t be able to handle. For our Croatia v England prediction, we are simply going with England To Qualify at 8/13 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.).



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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!




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