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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

World Cup 2018 Semi Final Picks (July 10-11)

We are down to the final four teams at the 2018 World Cup and it is going to be another tournament hosted by a European nation which will be won by a European nation.

The hosts went out of the tournament on penalties a few days ago having overachieved significantly but the tournament has been a success for the most part and there could be four fantastic matches left to play.

Excitement levels should be almost at a peak in England, Croatia, France and Belgium with all of those nations believing they can win the World Cup.


Tuesday 10th July
France v Belgium Pick: This looks like being a potentially classic World Cup Semi Final as the two favourites to win the tournament meet on Tuesday.

Both France and Belgium have impressed in this tournament and also showed how much belief they have in their ability to win it all by coming from behind to win Knock Out ties. France were trailing Argentina 1-2 before beating them 4-3 in the Second Round, while Belgium rallied from 0-2 down against Japan in an eventual 3-2 win so I have little doubt both teams will be confident going into this one.

The two European nations beat tough South American opponents in the Quarter Final after France beat Uruguay and Belgium beat Brazil to reach this Semi Final.

I think they will mesh pretty well in this Semi Final with the two teams having outstanding attacking options that will have seen some of the defensive missteps the other have made. France were not tested by a Uruguay team who were missing Edinson Cavani but that won't be the case when Belgium face them, although Didier Deschamps will also feel his France team won't miss the same kind of opportunities Brazil did in the Quarter Final.

My fear for Belgium is that there has been a tendency for teams to be beaten in their next World Cup Knock Out game if they have beaten a team who opened up a shorter price in the outright market. That is the case for Belgium after beating Brazil and I can guess the layers have factored that in by making France the favourites in this match.

I don't think it will be easy for Belgium if Roberto Martinez gets his tactics as right as he did in the Quarter Final and this is a team with plenty of attacking talent who can create the magic to win the game.

The midfield battle will be key with some of the top players providing the supply lines to the attacking players that have impressed so much in the tournament already. Some may feel France and Belgium will then cancel one another out, but the style of play employed by Roberto Martinez should mean an attacking game develops here.

I am narrowly leaning towards France to make it through to the Final, but it is a very slight lean.

Instead I think the best way to approach this Semi Final is backing the two teams to combine for at least three goals with my feeling the attacking players will create the chances against two defences that have been far from watertight at times. Over the years you would expect goals to be at a premium once you get to this stage of a World Cup but I think there has been a shift in the way teams approach these big games which was underlined in the Champions League.

The last four World Cup Semi Finals have seen half of those games feature at least five goals and I think France and Belgium could provide some big entertainment for the fans. At odds against I will back goals to be the outcome here as the attacking players try and carry their respective nations to the World Cup Final on Sunday.



Wednesday 11th July
Croatia v England Pick: Two nations who were perhaps seen as outsiders will play in the Semi Final and I imagine the excitement in Croatia will match those scenes we have seen in England as both teams have progressed through the draw.

I also make no mistake in thinking in that both camps will feel this is a great opportunity for them to make a World Cup Final as they will believe they have the superior players than their opponent.

Croatia seem to have the midfield power to control things against England and they will be encouraged by the lack of clean sheets England have achieved. They may have got one in the last game against Sweden, but the latter had their chances in that game and Croatia have better players in the final third that won't be guilty of missing those opportunities.

On the other hand England will be very confident they can expose some of the defensive vulnerabilities Croatia have been displaying. The Croatians have looked awkward when balls have been put into their box from long throws and set pieces and England have shown time and time again how important those avenues are for them to score the goals they need.

The big surprise for me is that England are favourites to win this match- if this was a Second Round match I think this would have been a match where the prices are reversed, but the layers are clearly factoring in the potential fatigue factor.

And you can't blame them as historically Croatia are in a tremendously tough position to overcome England here.

Teams who have needed extra time in one Round who face a team who have won in 90 minutes in the next Round have been beaten in 19/28 occasions that situation has arisen. And the number gets even worse if a team has had to win on penalties with 4/18 managing to progress a Round further and Croatia are on back to back penalty shoot outs which could be very tough to deal with.

That has to have been factored into the prices for this Semi Final by the layers and it has to be a concern for Croatia fans especially as they have had slightly less time to recover than England who won very comfortably last time out.

It isn't enough for me to lean towards England in this Semi Final if only because they haven't really been tested like they could have been. Croatia is a different challenge and my feeling is we are going to see goals in this Semi Final too with both teams showing defensive vulnerabilities.

Both teams have scored in 3 of 5 England matches in this World Cup and the same has happened in 3 in a row featuring Croatia. With England's set piece power and Croatia's overall ability to create chances I can see both teams getting on the board in this Semi Final and you can back that to be the outcome at odds against.

Both teams have scored in 5 of the last 6 games between Croatia and England and I think they have shown enough at the World Cup to think that will be the outcome of this one too.

MY PICKS: France-Belgium Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Croatia-England Both Teams to Score @ 2.10 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Semi Final Update: 1-1, + 0.20 Units (4 Units Staked, + 5% Yield)

Quarter Final Final2-2, + 2.70 Units (8 Units, + 33.75% Yield)
Last 16 Final2-6, - 7.20 Units (16 Units Staked, - 45% Yield)
Group Stage Round Robin Three Final8-8, + 3.53 Units (27.50 Units Staked, + 12.84% Yield)
Group Stage Round Robin Two Final8-7-1, + 1.09 Units (31 Units Staked, + 3.52% Yield)

Group Stage Round Robin One Final8-8, + 5.24 Units (28 Units Staked, + 18.71% Yield)

2 comments:

  1. In all important semi final France Vs Belgium it is very hard to predict both teams played extra ordinary throughout the Fifa World cup 2018 Russia. France has edge because it has more experience of big matches and Tournaments. France performance in Fifa remained very consistent. On the other hand Belgium is playing attacking game and there momentum and moral’s are so high after beating Brazil.

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