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Football
Who will play France in the World Cup semi-finals?
Who will play France in the World Cup semi-finals?

France play Uruguay in the first quarter-final of the 2018 World Cup, before favourites Brazil take on Belgium for a place in the last four.


Friday's recommended bets

2pts Brazil to win and over 2.5 total goals in Brazil v Belgium at 12/5


Predictions:

  • Uruguay 1-2 France
  • Brazil 2-1 Belgium

Brazil v Belgium (1900, BBC One)

Neymar celebrates scoring for Brazil at the World Cup
Neymar celebrates scoring for Brazil at the World Cup

The match England wanted to avoid, and what a masterstroke resting players against Belgium has proved to be by Gareth Southgate, with the other side of the draw providing a simpler route to the final.

Both sides have arguably failed to reach their full potential in this tournament. While Brazil look to be improving ever so slightly as the competition goes on, Belgium just scraped through with the help of plan B - Marouane Fellaini.

This could be an entertaining one, with goals fully expected. Brazil to win and over 2.5 is worth backing at 12/5. While Brazil's four games in Russia have thus far failed to total more than two goals, they have won 2-0 on three occasions and Belgium will be their first real test defensively.

Roberto Martinez's men have scored 12 goals so far at the World Cup - equalling the country's best - and they have the talent to take the game to Brazil, whether they can is another question.

It could be a cagey first-half affair, with Brazil doing what they have done so often in this tournament and seeing the game off in the second half, and draw/Brazil on a half-time/full-time coupon is available at a best price of 23/5.

Considering the magnitude of the game, this is really where the big names lead by example and carry their team forward. With that in mind, the Man of the Match market looks tempting for a small stake - Neymar is the 11/4 favourite but Philippe Coutinho has been the man for the Selecao so far and he's 7s which underestimates the playmaker's likely significance to Tite's outfit.

Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Belgium (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)

Best bet: Brazil to win and over 2.5 total goals at 12/5

Opta facts

  • This will be the fifth meeting between these sides. Belgium won the first back in a 1963 friendly, while Brazil have won the following three meetings.
  • The only previous occasion these sides met in a World Cup was in the round of 16 in 2002, with Brazil winning 2-0 en route to winning the entire competition.
  • Belgium have lost three of their last four World Cup meetings against South American opposition.
  • Brazil are playing the quarter-final for the seventh successive World Cup tournament. They’ve only gone out twice at this stage in that run (vs France in 2006 and vs the Netherlands in 2010).
  • Brazil have been knocked out of the World Cup by a European side in each of the last three tournaments (vs France in 2006, Netherlands in 2010 and Germany in 2014).
  • Belgium have reached consecutive World Cup quarter-finals for the first time – they lost at this stage to Argentina in 2014.
  • Belgium have scored 12 goals so far in the 2018 World Cup – at no single tournament in the competition have they scored more (also 12 in 1986).
  • Brazil are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions (W11 D4), conceding just three goals in that run.
  • Belgium are unbeaten in their last 23 matches (W18 D5), the longest current run of any team left in the 2018 World Cup.
  • Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 19 goals in his 18 games for Belgium under Roberto Martinez, scoring 10 and assisting nine.
  • Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has scored with four of his five shots on target so far at the 2018 World Cup.
  • Brazil forward Neymar has been involved in 20 goals in his last 19 matches for Brazil, scoring 11 and assisting nine.

Sporting Life Price Boost: France and Brazil to win and BTTS - was 20/1, NOW 25/1


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Odds correct as of 1615 on 05/07/18

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