Belgium vs England preview, betting tips and prediction
Belgium and BTTS @ 5/2 with Betfred
Sadly for England, football is not coming home. The Three Lions were dumped out in the last four by the zombie Croatians. You think they’re dead, only to remember that they apparently cannot die. Gareth Southgate will take many positives from this tournament.
It was better than anyone expected, England’s first World Cup semi-final in 28 years. It’s a young team with the potential to grow. Having lost that 1990 third-place play-off, this is an opportunity to take that bronze medal home for the first time. There’s more than pride to play for yet.
Belgium were arguably the most exciting team at this World Cup before succumbing to the might of France. Didier Deschamps set up his side to sit back and soak up Belgian attacks. Their patient approach worked a treat. They snatched a goal at a set-piece and held on for a place in the final. Will Roberto Martinez abandon his attacking approach in the wake of this defeat? We doubt it. If anything they will attack with greater abandon in this, a fixture that traditionally delivers upon goals. In the four third-place play-offs of the 21st century, there has been an average of 4.25 goals per game.
Jordan Pickford will be a contender for keeper of the tournament after fantastic saves throughout. The defence deserves credit despite switching off against Croatia with Harry Maguire and Kieran Trippier enhancing their reputations. Harry Kane looks as though he will take the golden boot but wasn’t as decisive as many would have hoped in the knockout rounds.
Romelu Lukaku might have something to say about that golden boot comment. He’s two behind Kane and was unlucky not to add to his tally in the knockout rounds. This could be a straight shoot-out between the two. Thibaut Courtois also had a terrific tournament. Had Belgium made the final then Eden Hazard would be a contender for the golden ball. His dribbling has been a delight to watch. It’s little wonder Real Madrid are eyeing him up.
Trippier limped off against Croatia. There isn’t any news on his fitness at the minute.
Thomas Meunier will return after his suspension against France.