World Cup 2018, France vs Belgium

What time is kick-off tonight, what TV channel is it on and what's our semi-final prediction?




Roberto Martinez and Didier Deschamps go head to head for a place in the World Cup 2018 
final credit: GETTY IMAGES

What is it?

The World Cup 2018 semi-final between France and Belgium.
When is it?

The game takes place on Tuesday evening, July 10th.
What time is kick-off?

Kick-off will be at 7pm BST.

What TV channel is it on?

The match will be shown on BBC One, and you can follow live coverage as ever on the Telegraph website.
Where is the game being played?

Saint Petersburg Stadium is the venue for the first semi-final.


What will be decided?

The winner will advance to the World Cup 2018 final, which takes place on Sunday. That would be Belgium's first World Cup final, while France previously reached the final in 1998 and 2006.
What is the team news?

France is unlikely to make any changes and have no players unavailable due to suspension, meaning Olivier Giroud will start again up front.

Belgium must cope without defender Thomas Meunier, whose runs down the flank are a key part of Belgium's attack.

Meunier is suspended after tripping Brazil star Neymar and earning a second yellow card of the tournament. In Meunier's absence, Martinez may scrap his 3-5-2 formation with wingbacks and instead switch to a back four in a more compact defense. (AP)


What's the latest news on the two teams?

With the second-youngest roster at the World Cup, France has shown no fear and advanced to its first World Cup semifinal since 2006 led by 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe and a pair of inexperienced attacking full-backs in Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez.

"We're not scared of anyone," Pavard said. "We've been confident from the start and we're not asking any questions of ourselves."

Coach Didier Deschamps, who was captain when France won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship, has instilled a steely mentality. "He motivates the troops with strong words," Pavard said. "We're ready to go to war with him."

Deschamps made bold decisions to start Pavard on the right and Lucas Hernandez on the left. The pair, both 22, have only 20 international appearances between them but are playing with good composure.

In Belgium, there were doubts about Roberto Martinez's ability to transfer the country's individual talent into a collective force. Fans welcomed his arrival in August 2016 with lukewarm enthusiasm because he'd only recently been fired by Everton in the Premier League.

His tenure began with a 2-0 home loss to Spain, but since then Belgium is unbeaten in 23 games and has scored 78 goals - being held scoreless in only one of those games. With former France striker, Thierry Henry as an assistant coach, Belgium leads the scoring in Russia with 14 goals in its five World Cup matches.

"He's given the team the desire to attack," French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said of Henry's influence on the Belgian team. "The forwards go to see him. He's held in high esteem."

Martinez's tactics have stood out, too. With Belgium trailing Japan 2-0 in the round of 16, Martinez replaced two wide players with two midfielders and they both scored. (AP)

What are the odds?
France - 31/20
Belgium - 11/5
Draw - 58/20

Ignoring the obvious tension both sides will be feeling, this has all the potential to be a World Cup classic. Both attacks are potent - take your pick of goalscorers from Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku to name a few. We expect it to go all the way to penalties, with Belgium sneaking through.

France 2 Belgium 2 (4-5 on penalties)

What's our prediction?