Belgium vs France betting preview: Don't expect a classic but back Les Bleus to shade it

The Nations League sees two heavyweights clash in the second semi-final, and with a spot against Italy up for grabs, will battle-tested France get the better of Belgium again?

Belgium and France will meet in the second Nations League semi-final on Wednesday and it's a heavyweight clash that is tough to predict.

In one corner you have the reigning world champions and in the other, the current world's No. 1 ranked team.

Both are looking to put Euro 2020 disappointments behind them too, so it really is set up for a fascinating encounter.

When, where, and how to watch Belgium vs France

When: Thursday, October 7, 7.45pm BST

Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin

How to watch: Sky Sports

Best bets for Belgium vs France

France to win 1-0 at 13/2

Under 1.5 goals at 19/10

Belgium to have most amount of yellow cards at 13/10

Last meeting

France 1-0 Belgium (World Cup, July 10, 2018)

The last occasion these two sides met was in another semi-final, and a considerably bigger one than the Nations League.

Saint Petersburg was the venue in the World Cup, and there was always a sense that the winner would be the strong favourite to go on and win the competition.

That is exactly as it turned out too, with Samuel Umtiti grabbing a second-half winner to earn France the victory and inflict Belgium's first defeat in 25 games.

France did indeed go on to beat Croatia in the final.

France vs Belgium international head-to-head

Belgium wins: 30

Draws: 19

France wins: 25

Result betting for Belgium vs France

Paul Pogba France Jul21

In many ways, the result betting here may be the toughest to call as it feels very counter-intuitive.

Belgium are very much in form and scoring plenty of goals, and they have only lost twice in the last 31 matches. It would feel very natural, therefore, to back them all the way.

France, meanwhile, had a disappointing Euro 2020 in which they only won one of their four matches, and they have also failed to beat both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine this season too. All the more reason to back Belgium, then, right?

Perhaps not. Generally speaking, Belgium have developed a bit of a reputation as flat-track bullies who tend to come up short against the top teams when it really matters. In that sense, their defeat to Italy in Euro 2020 after an impressive group stage fits the pattern perfectly.

The French, on the other hand, are more synonymous with being able to get the job done when it matters most, even if they aren't at their best.

France to win 1-0 in a scrappy and nervy clash between two European powerhouses is the call then.

Goals and goalscorer bets for Belgium vs France

Romelu Lukaku, Belgium,

Again, it may seem counter-intuitive given the vast array of attacking talent on display from both sides, but it doesn't feel like there will be many goals in this one.

That's likely going to be more down to France than Belgium. Coach Didier Deschamps was never one for attacking flair as a player and his teams tend to also adopt a safety-first mentality.

They have scored just one goal in four of their last seven matches, and Belgium will be by far the best side they have come up against in that run.

There seems a very good chance that France will deliberately try to make it tight and scrappy and so a single goal may prove decisive. Backing under 1.5 goals looks a good way to go.

If that is the case, then it may ultimately be settled by Romelu Lukaku or Karim Benzema.

Both strikers are in brilliant form for their clubs, the latter especially, and one moment of penalty-box action could make all the difference.

Lukaku is around 15/4 for the first goal, but Benzema is in red-hot form in La Liga, is a proven big-game player, and offers better value in the markets.

Cards bets for Belgium vs France

European Championship, France - Germany, preliminary round - Didier Deschamps

If France and Deschamps get their way and make it a scrappy and tight contest, then there is a capacity for plenty of cards to be thrown around.

The French players will likely look to put early markers on the creative Belgian counterparts and that may result in a flurry of early cards.

Perhaps more likely, though, is France successfully bogging the game down, getting their heads in front, and frustration boiling over for the Belgians as they try to force proceedings.

The market for Belgium to finish the team with most bookings probably offers the better value. If you want to back a red card being flourished in the match too, then you should seriously consider the odds at 17/4.

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