Expert 2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting Preview

Written by on July 9, 2018

The 2018 World Cup final is Sunday in Moscow, and we are guaranteed a European champion. That’s because, in Tuesday’s first semifinal, France faces Belgium, with the French as favorites. The winner of that game will have a slight advantage in terms of rest because the other semifinal features England and Croatia on Wednesday, with the English as favorites.An England-France final would be epic, and I can assure you that Fox TV executives here in the USA are rooting for that matchup (most Americans are rooting for England). Like England, France is one of only eight countries to win a World Cup. Also like England, France has only won once. Belgium and Croatia haven’t won the World Cup. Let’s check the latest odds at MyBookie Sportsbook while making some predictions.

Expert 2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting Preview


France vs Belgium

  • When: Tuesday, 2 PM ET
  • Where: Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • TV/Stream: Fox/Fox Sports Go
  • 2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting Odds: France +152 / Belgium +179 / Draw +215 (Total 2.5)
Expect the France-Belgium game to be the higher-scoring one and in fact, it has a total of 2.5 goals with England-Croatia at 2. There was quite a bit less at stake the last time France and Belgium last went head-to-head at the World Cup, a 4-2 victory for France in the third-place match in 1986. That was the last competitive match between the two countries but there have been eight international friendlies since. Belgium won two of those, including the last one: an exhibition three years ago at Stade de France when the Belgians took a three-goal lead five minutes into the second half and held on to win 4-3. At that time in 2015, Samuel Umtiti, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe had yet to earn their first French cap.Belgium’s golden generation have fallen short in recent tournaments, failing to deliver at the last two European Championships and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but their quarterfinal win over Brazil was the performance of a team that believes it can become world champions. The Red Devils don’t have the most celebrated World Cup history. Their best finish since the event began in 1930 came in Mexico in 1986. Belgium reached the semifinals for the first time in its history that year.France, who labored through their group with only three goals in three games against Australia, Peru, and Denmark, showcased their incredible depth of talent when 19-year-old Mbappe led their second-round dismantling of Argentina in Kazan.

Projected Line-Ups

  • 1-H. Lloris
  • 4-R. Varane
  • 5-S. Umtiti
  • 21-L. Hernández
  • 2-B. Pavard
  • 6-P. Pogba
  • 13-N. Kanté
  • 12-C. Tolisso
  • 7-A. Griezmann
  • 9-O. Giroud
  • 10-K. Mbappé
  • 1-T. Courtois
  • 5-J. Vertonghen
  • 2-T. Alderweireld
  • 15-T. Meunier
  • 20-D. Boyata
  • 6-A. Witsel
  • 7-K. De Bruyne
  • 11-Y. Carrasco
  • 10-E. Hazard
  • 14-D. Mertens
  • 9-R. Lukaku


England vs Croatia

  • When: Wednesday, 2 PM ET
  • Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
  • TV/Stream: Fox/Fox Sports Go
  • 2018 World Cup Semifinals Odds: England +135 / Croatia +205 / Draw +215 (Total 2)
England has eliminated Colombia and Sweden, while Croatia, so impressive having won their group with three victories, have been taken to penalties by Denmark and Russia in the knockout rounds. Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic is just the second goalkeeper to save three penalties at a single FIFA World Cup. The only other person to do so was the legendary Sergio Goycoechea for Argentina in 1990.It’s the first-ever matchup between England and Croatia in the World Cup. They last played Sept. 9, 2009, in 2010 World Cup qualifying with England winning 5-1. England won 4-2 at Euro 2004 in the only meeting at a major tournament. Croatia’s international success is mainly non-existent (Croatia wasn’t a country eligible for the World Cup until 1994). By reaching the semis this year, it has already matched its greatest feat on the global stage. England has scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches against Croatia in all competitions.What Gareth Southgate’s England side has done in Russia is win its first knockout stage match since 2006 and win a game on penalties for the first time in its illustrious World Cup history.England is the 2018 World Cup Semifinals Betting favorite against Croatia.England’s star is Harry Kane. He will face a familiar opponent in the World Cup semifinal. Kane will go up against Dejan Lovren, who he embarrassed at Wembley last season when Tottenham played Liverpool. The Tottenham striker ran the Liverpool defender ragged, so much so that he was substituted after half an hour.“Harry Kane is top scorer of the World Cup. It’s hard to stop him, but (Dejan) Lovren knows him well from the Premier League and I’m not afraid of that. We showed that we were good at defending. Every honor to Kane, he scored six goals, but we managed to stop Messi and Eriksen, and I hope we will also stop Kane as well,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said.Croatia could be a bit gassed. Though having to endure two penalty shootouts to reach the semi-finals, Andrej Kramaric believes Croatia have grown stronger from those experiences against Denmark and Russia.England will have the advantage of being physically and mentally fresher after what looked like a relatively easy 2-0 win against a Swedish side whose defense made uncharacteristic errors and whose top two offensive players in striker Marcus Berg and midfielder Emil Forsberg barely influenced the match. The fact England is the fresher of the two sides will benefit them.

Projected Line-Ups

  • 1-J. Pickford
  • 18-A. Young
  • 2-K. Walker
  • 12-K. Trippier
  • 6-H. Maguire
  • 5-J. Stones
  • 8-J. Henderson
  • 20-D. Alli
  • 7-J. Lingard
  • 9-H. Kane
  • 10-R. Sterling
  • 23-D. Subašić
  • 21-D. Vida
  • 3-I. Strinić
  • 6-D. Lovren
  • 2-Š. Vrsaljko
  • 10-L. Modrić
  • 7-I. Rakitić
  • 4-I. Perišić
  • 11-M. Brozović
  • 17-M. Mandžukić
  • 18-A. Rebić

Expert Predictions

England and Belgium advance.