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World Cup 2018 Semi-Final Predictions and Odds

10th July 2018 / lee
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The semi-final stage of Russia 2018 has arrived. The final four teams who will be involved in this weeks semi-final matches all look pretty evenly matched. There is definitely the feeling that anyone can beat anyone else on a given day. France are the 2/1 outright favourites* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) now to win the 2018 World Cup and while they may be at the head of the market, it is questionable as to whether or not they are really much better than Belgium, England or Croatia.

So we look set for two evenly matched contests in the World Cup 2018 semi finals. First up it is France v Belgium on Tuesday before Croatia v England takes centre stage on Wednesday. Who will prevail from these ties to book their place in the World Cup final Russia? Only England and France have made it to that showcase match before in their history. Will either of those be able to make it back there?

Here we take a look at our World Cup 2018 semi-final predictions as we try and sort out which of the four European teams will be edging their way closer to being crowned world champions.

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

 

So France are the outright favourites to win the 2018 World Cup but they will get a tough match here in the semif inals. It has been a bit of a strange tournament from France because they looked pretty average in the group stage as they struggled to get results against Peru and Australia. They did not look as if they were very together as a team and certainly were lacking a clinical punch going forward. In order to deal with Belgium, France are going to need a bit of extra pep in their attacking step.

To be fair to France it may just have been some tournament management because they have looked so much better since they get the knockout phase of Russia 2018. They fought their way back from being behind against Argentina to produce a 4-3 win over the South Americans in the round of 16. Then France dealt with Uruguay comfortably in the quarter-finals collecting a 2-0 win without looking at under any duress at any point. France have taken three clean sheets in their last four games and have plenty of strength at the back. How will they cope against the powerful Belgium attack though?

Going into the semi-final stage Belgium are the top goalscorers at the World Cup 2018. They have fired off 14 goals in their five games so far, running up plenty against both Panama and Tunisia in the group stage. After beating England in their final group stage match things are really looking on the up for the Red Devils. But then very strangely they turned out a stinker of a performance as they found themselves trailing Japan two-nil in the second half of the round of 16 tie. Belgium really looked on the way out at that point. But to their credit, they abandoned their tactics and just started throwing long balls forward and it paid for them in the end as they scraped out a three-to come back victory.

They showed a lot of character to turn around that time. After a more tactical tweaking and personnel changes, Belgium produced a stunning performance as they beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarter-finals. That was really the first time at this tournament that they saw their big players all put in a great shift at the same time. Kevin de Bruyne was pushed further forward and didn’t have to worry about any defensive duties well Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku brought their A-games. That’s the thing with Belgium. It can be hit and miss. The Belgium attack does look as if it can take down any defence and they have scored at least two goals in five of their last six games, and the Red Devils are currently running on a seven-match winning streak.

Head to head

Belgium are 10-9 ahead from previous meetings with France with nine drawn games as well. The last time they 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: This is really not an easy game to call as they look evenly matched do France and Belgium. There are both pretty strong at the back, but have plenty of creative attacking options. Perhaps where the balance is tipped is that Belgium looks a bit more clinical and threatening front of goal. However, it will be so hard for Belgium to replicate the kind of performance that they turned out against Brazil. That probably will end up being the highlight of their tournament and we are going with the extra quality in depth that France have to see them across the finish line. France to win by a one-goal margin option at 3/1 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) as a good betting tip for the France v Belgium game.

Croatia v England

Wednesday, July 11 – 7 PM kick-off

You also have an evenly matched fixture for the second of the semi finals at the 2018 World Cup. Basically, you have the technical superiority of Croatia taking on the high energy levels and pace of England. Croatia was arguably the best side of the group stage phase of the 2018 World Cup. They really looked like world beaters as they hammered Argentina 3-0 for example. Croatia got to the knockout stage of the tournament by winning all three of their group stage matches and they really looked as if they have everything in place to push on and continue to be comfortable.

But Croatia have been anything but comfortable in the knockout stages as they have had to come from behind in both games so far against Denmark and Russia to rescue situations. Croatia got through both of those ties because of a penalty shootout, and while that at the end of the day it is progress, that is an extra hour of football that they have had to play and that is going to take its toll on them. There were a fair degree of Croatia players looking dead on their feet in the second period of extra time against Russia in the quarter-final 2-2 draw.

So well Croatia may well be a little bit jaded for this semi-final tie against England, the quality in their ranks is there. Luka Modric as to be in the running for the Golden Ball at the 2018 World Cup because he has just produced fantastic performance after a fantastic performance. He may well be used in a more attacking role in this one to free him up of the extra work of doing defensive duties. That could be a problem for England. Croatia have scored at least two goals in five of their last six games played but don’t have a clean sheet in any of their last. Croatia will probably want this done in regulation time.

If this does go to extra time you can only see that as being an advantage for England. They are the ones with the younger fresher legs to be able to handle such a situation. This has been a tremendous tournament from England and we have seen them come through a lot of different situations. They got that injury time winner against Tunisia in their first match, then they showed how comfortable they are against weaker teams as they smashed six goals past Panama. They have shown some toughness in the knockout phase too.

England had a penalty shootout win over Colombia in the round of 16. They looked as if they did have the game won in regulation time but conceded deep into stoppage time. But they got over that mental setback to record England’s first ever penalty shootout success at a World Cup. That showed a lot of composure from this young side. There was more composure on show from the Three Lions as they took on Sweden in the quarter-finals. That was a big occasion for these young players but they were comfortable all the way and collected their first clean sheet of the tournament with a 2-0 win.

England are playing with a great team spirit and while there is a lot to criticise about their quality, they are flourishing from some great individual performances and you can see with all the smiles on their faces that they are playing together and for each other as a team. Some extra creativity from open play would make a huge difference to their output but this is a World Cup semi-final and you would expect this to be somewhat cagey and tight with neither side wanting to throw away this opportunity. Can England extend their summer excursion by reaching the world cup final?

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: It is not likely that there is going to be much to separate these two on the day and you have to throw the weight of the occasion into the equation as well. England just looks as if they will find a way to win. No they are not as technically good as Croatia are, but their extra energy levels and bravery may just get them across the line. We don’t really see this being settled in 90 min and therefore for our Croatia v England prediction we are going with England To Qualify at 8/13 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.).





The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+

* 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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