The two FIFA World Cup semifinals are set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Russia. The first semifinal game will kick off from Krestovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg when France faces Belgium in a near pick’em matchup on the World Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The French are listed as slight +150 favorites (bet $100 to win $150) on the three-way betting line, with the Belgians coming in at +200 and a draw after regulation time worth +225. Both teams won their quarterfinal matchups in regulation, as France blanked Uruguay 2-0 and Belgium edged Brazil 2-1, getting rid of the tournament favorites.
The key to the first semifinal could be who scores the first goal and when, as the Belgians needed to rally back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Japan 3-2 in the Round of 16 and then took advantage of an own goal by the Brazilians to strike first in that game. The French have scored the first goal in each of the four games they have won going back to Group Play, with a draw against Denmark the only real blemish on their record.
In the second semifinal at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, England is a more solid +130 favorite over Croatia (+240), and the draw is worth +220. The English have been one of the most impressive teams in the entire field, with their lone loss coming versus the Belgians 1-0 in what was a somewhat meaningless Group Play finale.
Both had already qualified for the Knockout Stage, so England held out most of their top players, including leading goalscorer Harry Kane, who has a tournament-best six goals.
The Croatians have had a much more difficult road to the semis, needing to advance on penalty kicks in each of their first two games in the Knockout Stage. First, they took out the Danes 3-2 in the penalty shootout, followed by the host Russians 4-3 in the quarters.
The extra time needed to advance in both matches since Group Play may come back to bite Croatia, especially in dealing with a fairly fresh Kane, the likely Golden Boot winner.