2018 FIFA World Cup – Semi Final Analysis

Thursday 12th July, 4am AEST

England have reached their third ever semi-final at a World Cup and their first for 28 years after beating Sweden 2-0. Croatia’s golden age duly delivered too, defeating the hosts Russia in their quarter final on penalties.

The Three Lions have only lost one of their 15 competitive matches since the start of qualification, with the sole defeat in this time against Belgium with a second-string side. What’s more, against our top 20 ranked sides like Croatia, they’ve gone W3-D4-L2 since the start of 2017, with the last eight of these seeing fewer than three goals. Croatia, meanwhile, have won five of their nine unbeaten major tournament matches since the start of Euro 2016, so it’s tough to back England at the prices. Indeed, the draw looks the most likely outcome, as has been the case in three of four of their combined knockout games in Russia.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Draw at $3.09

Wednesday 11th July, 4am AEST

While there was little doubt before the tournament that France would be one of the main contenders, Belgium proved they belong in the latter stages of knockout football after beating favourites Brazil thanks to a sensational first-half display. In our outright preview, we backed the Red Devils as the best value to reach the final in the top half of the draw ahead of the French, with the average age of their squad (27.7) a perfect balance with the last six champions averaging 27.1 years old. They’ve had time over the years to learn each other’s game and enter in their prime, and though their opponents are the favourites, the comeback against Japan and performance versus Brazil should erase any lingering doubts over this group’s mentality.

Roberto Martinez has now overseen a run of 19 wins from 24 games, and while France have kept three clean sheets from five games at these finals, Peru and Denmark can’t offer anywhere near the same quality going forwards as Belgium, while Uruguay are a more defensive outfit and were missing an in-form Cavani to boot. A poor Argentina has been the only team to show much attacking ambition against Le Blues and managed three goals, but Belgium has a far greater defence than the South Americans and has displayed the tactical awareness to change to suit their opponent, while Deschamps’s still seems a little unsure over his best starting XI.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Belgium to Qualify at $2.20


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