The first semi-final of the 2018 World Cup will come off Tuesday, July 10, as Belgium lock horns with France at the St. Petersburg stadium.
The game has been billed as a clash of titans, considering the worth of talent at the disposal of both European nations.
Whereas France have history on their side, the Red Devils will be no pushovers, having shown that they are bent on claiming the World Cup title for the first time.
Indeed, it will be a very close fixture which would be decided by the very tinniest of details on the field of play.
Below are three reasons why Belgium will edge France in today’s semi-final game:
1. France over-dependence on Mbappe
France have been impressive so far in the World Cup, but their road to the semi-final has been aided by the lethal form of youngster Kylian Mbappe.
The PSG star has almost single-handedly dragged the French team this far and he will be very key if they are to advance to the final. Unfortunately, though, France’s over-reliance on the 20-year-old could be the undoing when they face Belgium in Tuesday.
The likes of Antione Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud are yet to fully play their best football. That means that if Belgium can strategise to take Mbappe out of the game, then France will be there for the taking.
2. Belgium’s swift counter-attacking play
There is no doubt that Belgium have been the most lethal side in this World Cup when it comes to counter-attacking play.
Against Brazil, Roberto Martinez’s side put in a scintillating performance as they came away with a hard-fought 2-1 win. That performance was aided by the swift counter-attacking play exhibited by Belgium which brought two goals in the first half.
With players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Brunye in the squad, this could pose a major problem to France who have a very slow defense. The Les Blues full backs also love to attack and that could open spaces for Belgium to striker a killer blow.
3. Roberto Martinez’s tactical superiority
The 2018 World Cup is one that has exalted the statuses of some coaches but has also brutally exposed the tactical bankruptcy of other managers.
One of such coaches whose stock has risen is Belgium’s Roberto Martinez. The former Everton manager earned enough plaudits for his tactical switches during the games against Japan and Brazil.
On the other hand, Didier Deschamps cannot be rated in the same category. The France boss has often lacked a plan B when his team is underperforming. In this case, Martinez will have the upper hand in the semi-final clash and that could win Belgium the game.
FIFA 2018 Most Powerful Teams: Football Team Ranking For The FIFA World Cup:
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