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FIFA Soccer: World Cup Semifinals

FIFA Soccer: World Cup Semifinals 1 month 6 days ago #485789

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Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Tuesday 7/10/18 .
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FIFA Soccer: World Cup Semifinals 1 month 6 days ago #485790

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By Toby Maxtone-Smith

World Cup: Semifinal Betting Preview - Day 1 & 2

Tuesday, July 10
France vs. Belgium (FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET)

With just four teams left in the World Cup, we are down to only European sides. Belgium meet France in the first semi-final at the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg - and whoever wins will be favourite to win Sunday’s final.

This may be a World Cup semi-final, where nerves are jangling and caution often dominates, but here we have two sides both with the attacking potential to make this an exciting encounter. Belgium are the tournament’s top goalscorers so far, while France put in the attacking display of the tournament as they beat Argentina 4-3. Both were very impressive in the quarter-finals. Belgium edged out Brazil in the game of the tournament so far, but it was France’s controlled 2-0 win over an awkward Uruguay side that really caught the eye.

They may have been lucky that Edinson Cavani was missing for their opponents. But after a difficult first 20 minutes, France took control of the game and gave Uruguay hardly any chances. Their defensive pairing of Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane is underrated, and of course they are protected by the best defensive midfielder in the world in N’golo Kanté.

Belgium were lavished with praise after beating Brazil, but they were slightly lucky to win. They lost the shot count 27 to 9 and one of their goals was an own goal.

Belgium showed great potential, but it was a draining match and you wonder whether they have enough energy left to play at that intensity again. They will have to rely on another stunning performance from Eden Hazard.

Defensively they still look suspect and slow. Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé can exploit that.

This should be a great game, and France look to have the edge.

Prediction: France 2-1 Belgium
Top Bet: France at 31/20

Wednesday, July 11
Croatia vs. England (FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Where France v Belgium looks like an untypically attacking World Cup semi-final, Croatia v England will probably revert to type. This is absolutely enormous for both nations. England have not won the World Cup since 1966; Croatia have never made the final.

England are narrow favourites at 11/8 with Croatia 5/2 and a draw 2/1. In the “To Qualify” market, it is 8/13 England and 13/10 Croatia.

England deserve to be favourites, but probably no shorter than they currently are. The really good signs for Gareth Southgate’s men is that they are improving throughout the tournament. Their 2-0 win over Sweden was their best display of the tournament, and they were in control for all but about 10 of the 120 minutes they played against Colombia.

Croatia, meanwhile, have struggled through two games that have gone to penalties in the knockout rounds. They could not put away inferior opponents in Denmark and Russia, but are still a very difficult team to beat.

Strangely, their worries over centre-backs Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren actually make them more solid, as the defence drops deeper to protect them.

After an excellent group stage, Croatia seem to be tiring and that could be crucial if the match goes to extra time. England were able to conserve a reasonable amount of energy against Sweden. Their group matches were not that tiring either.

But this will be a defensive match. Under 2.5 goals is 1/2, and that makes the draw a huge player. England are rightfully favourites and should just about get through to the final, but they may have to go the whole way.

Prediction: England 2-1 Croatia (after extra time)
Top Bet: Draw in 90 minutes at 2/1
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FIFA Soccer: World Cup Semifinals 1 month 5 days ago #485860

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By Tom Wilkinson

World Cup Odds and Picks – England vs. Croatia

The second World Cup semifinal takes place on Wednesday, as England takes on Croatia. It is the first time since 1998 that Croatia has been in the semifinals and it is the first appearance in the final four for England since 1990. Croatia has gone to a penalty shootout to win their last two matches, while England is coming off a 2- win over Sweden. Let’s look at the match between England and Croatia and World Cup picks.

2018 World Cup – England vs. Croatia
Date and Time: Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 2 p.m. ET
Location: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia

World Cup Odds at BetDSI:
England +130
Croatia +245
Draw +205
Total 2
England -1/2 (+130)
Croatia +1/2 (-160)

England is listed as the favorite to win this match on Wednesday and there is no question they will be the more rested team, as Croatia has had to go to extra time and penalties to win their last two matches. Another concern for Croatia is the health of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic who appeared to hurt his hamstring in the win over Russia.

England has no injury concerns but manager Gareth Southgate may have to decide whether to break up his midfield trio of Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli to get Eric Dier into the lineup to help contain Croatia’s Luka Modric.

England has gotten excellent play from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. He was great in their penalty shootout win over Colombia and he made some excellent saves against Sweden as he denied Marcus Berg twice and Ola Toivoinen once. Pickford said the game against Sweden is what he will remember. “The highlight of that was the clean sheet,” he said to the media about the win over Sweden. “But it'll go on my mantelpiece, that one.”

Pickford said that his England team simply knows how to win. “We are a young side but we’re an experienced young side, as daft as that sounds. We know how to work and play for each other, and what our strengths are. We know how to win.”

Key Stats

England and Croatia have met seven times since Croatia became an independent country in the early 1990’s. The teams have met just once in a big tournament and it was England winning 4-2 in Euro 2004. It should be noted, however, that Croatia beat England in 2007 by score of 3-1 and denied them a place at Euro 2008. The last two meetings between the teams in World Cup qualifying for 2010 were big wins for England by scores of 4-1 and 5-1.

England vs. Croatia Free Picks

The odds on this game are interesting because if you had made this number before the World Cup began there is a good chance that Croatia would have been listed as the favorite. England has looked like the better team than Croatia throughout the World Cup and there is no question that the odds are tilted toward the English because of their performance and due to the fact that destiny seems to be on their side. England also has the best scorer in the match in Harry Kane who leads the race for the Golden Boot.

I think the situation for this game is very similar to the one between England and Sweden. I thought that England was the better team in that game but that the value was on Sweden. I think this game is similar, but there is even more value on Croatia, as I think they are a better team than Sweden.

I lean slightly toward England in this game, but I think the draw has more value at odds of over 2-1. I also think goals are once again going to be at a premium and I think going under the total is worth considering. It takes a scoreless draw or a 1-0 win to go under the total, but neither of these teams is an offensive powerhouse. I will take shot with the draw at +205 and also make a small play on the under.

England vs. Croatia Picks: Draw and Under the Total at BetDSI
England vs. Croatia Score Prediction: England 1, Croatia 1
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