What an incredible World Cup this has been. Who would have ever thought that France would be facing Croatia in the Championship match? It is difficult to write about, let alone discuss, but perhaps before getting into a ton of information about why Croatia will shock France, and other albeit educated stats and guesses, let's look at the third place match-up a day before the Final, with the teams most people thought would be meeting in the Final.
Belgium vs. England, July 14th, at Saint Petersburg Stadium
Belgium and England were in the same Group this year and had already faced-off once before. Belgium won that game 1-0, and in doing so won the group. Who knows what would've happened if England would have won the group, played against Japan, Brazil, and then France. Would they have made it to the semi's? We will never know the outcome of these questions, but at least we get to see the rematch of Belgium vs. England, which promises to be an excellent match-up.
bet365 Sports has already given the upper-hand to Belgium for this match, posting odds for the Three Lions at 3.25, and for Belgium at 2.25. If the game ends in a draw after 90-minutes, bets on the draw will earn 3.60. Before jumping on one of these markets, let's take a look at the two teams statistics over the entire World Cup, which will hopefully help make a more educated wager.
Belgium has had 14-goals, 36 shots on target, held 54.7% of all possession time, conceded 6-goals, and have stopped 27 shots on their own goal. England, on the other hand, has scored 12-goals, 23 shots on target, held possession for 53.15% of the time, conceded 6-goals, and has faced 21 shots on their goal. Both Belgium and England have one of the tournaments top-scorers. For Belgium, that man is Romelu Lukaku with 4-goals, and for the Three Lions that would be Mr. Harry Kane with 6-goals. Winner Sports has 3.20 on England and 2.20 on Belgium.
Big Difference Could be Emotional
One of the most significant visible differences that both games gave us was their players' reactions to losing the semifinals. Belgium was listed at bet365 Sports, and other leading sportsbooks online as underdogs in their semifinal, playing against a speedy and talented French team that ultimately was too much too handle. After the loss, the Belgium players looked happy at making it this far and seem more focused than the English players did. England was crushed after losing, and Gareth Southgate needed to comfort many of his young players as they were sure Croatia would be a pushover.
It will undoubtedly be a fantastic match, and if the bet on Belgium feels right, that would be a good bet to make as it seems like they will win. More confident and organized than England is, which will lead to better play come Saturday afternoon.