Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM
Semifinals - Best Bets
Semifinal Matchups | Betting Odds | World Cup Betting Results
World Cup: Semifinal Betting Preview - Day 1 & 2
Tuesday, July 10
France vs. Belgium (FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET)
With just four teams left in the World Cup, we are down to only European sides. Belgium meet France in the first semi-final at the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg - and whoever wins will be favourite to win Sunday’s final.
This may be a World Cup semi-final, where nerves are jangling and caution often dominates, but here we have two sides both with the attacking potential to make this an exciting encounter. Belgium are the tournament’s top goalscorers so far, while France put in the attacking display of the tournament as they beat Argentina 4-3. Both were very impressive in the quarter-finals. Belgium edged out Brazil in the game of the tournament so far, but it was France’s controlled 2-0 win over an awkward Uruguay side that really caught the eye.
They may have been lucky that Edinson Cavani was missing for their opponents. But after a difficult first 20 minutes, France took control of the game and gave Uruguay hardly any chances. Their defensive pairing of Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane is underrated, and of course they are protected by the best defensive midfielder in the world in N’golo Kanté.
Belgium were lavished with praise after beating Brazil, but they were slightly lucky to win. They lost the shot count 27 to 9 and one of their goals was an own goal.
Belgium showed great potential, but it was a draining match and you wonder whether they have enough energy left to play at that intensity again. They will have to rely on another stunning performance from Eden Hazard.
Defensively they still look suspect and slow. Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé can exploit that.
This should be a great game, and France look to have the edge.
Prediction: France 2-1 Belgium
Top Bet: France at 31/20
Wednesday, July 11
Croatia vs. England (FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET)
Where France v Belgium looks like an untypically attacking World Cup semi-final, Croatia v England will probably revert to type. This is absolutely enormous for both nations. England have not won the World Cup since 1966; Croatia have never made the final.
England are narrow favourites at 11/8 with Croatia 5/2 and a draw 2/1. In the “To Qualify” market, it is 8/13 England and 13/10 Croatia.
England deserve to be favourites, but probably no shorter than they currently are. The really good signs for Gareth Southgate’s men is that they are improving throughout the tournament. Their 2-0 win over Sweden was their best display of the tournament, and they were in control for all but about 10 of the 120 minutes they played against Colombia.
Croatia, meanwhile, have struggled through two games that have gone to penalties in the knockout rounds. They could not put away inferior opponents in Denmark and Russia, but are still a very difficult team to beat.
Strangely, their worries over centre-backs Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren actually make them more solid, as the defence drops deeper to protect them.
After an excellent group stage, Croatia seem to be tiring and that could be crucial if the match goes to extra time. England were able to conserve a reasonable amount of energy against Sweden. Their group matches were not that tiring either.
But this will be a defensive match. Under 2.5 goals is 1/2, and that makes the draw a huge player. England are rightfully favourites and should just about get through to the final, but they may have to go the whole way.
Prediction: England 2-1 Croatia (after extra time)
Top Bet: Draw in 90 minutes at 2/1