Tenner On Our writers' best bets for the semi-finals
Armed with nothing but a £10 stake and their own judgement, the Insider editorial team fight to be crowned the World Cup's top tipster.
France v Belgium: Over 3.5 goals: £10 at 14/5*
France followed their 4-3 win over Argentina in the Round of 16 by putting two past Uruguay, previously considered the best defensive team in the tournament.
And against Belgium, the goals should continue to flow.
Roberto Martinez’s side have won matches 5-2 and 3-2 in this competition, while their quarter-final 2-1 victory over Brazil produced comfortably enough chances to beat this mark.
Over 2.5 goals in France v Belgium and England to qualify: £10 at 12/5*
All but one of Belgium’s matches at this tournament have seen over 2.5 goals, and I don’t see that pattern changing against France.
Both sides are better going forward than they are at the back, with too many quality attackers to fit in their respective starting XIs.
Whichever way the game goes, three or more in the match ought to be a given.
I’m also backing England to make it through their semi-final.
They’re playing with far more freedom in open play and, against a Croatia defence that conceded from a long throw against Denmark and free kick against Russia, will continue to be a threat from set pieces.
Even if it goes beyond 90 minutes, the Three Lions ought to have more in the tank after such a routine victory over Sweden.
Belgium and England both to win or draw and BTTS: £10 at 6/1*
Belgium made a brilliant start against Brazil in the quarter-finals and held on to win 2-1, and they’ve been arguably the best team going forward at the World Cup so far.
Putting two past a Brazil defence that had previously conceded just one goal in nine games is very impressive, and it’s hard to see anyone outscoring Roberto Martinez’s side at the moment.
They should at least be level at full-time against France, who played well against Uruguay in the last round but have been inconsistent throughout this tournament.
I fancy England in the other semi-final.
The Three Lions have been so dangerous from set pieces – an area where Croatia look vulnerable, having conceded from a free kick against Russia.
Zlatko Dalic’s side have scored in every game so far, though, so BTTS looks likely on this occasion.
Over 2.5 goals in France v Belgium and England double chance and BTTS: £10 at 4/1*
Belgium cemented their place as the best attacking team at the World Cup with their 2-1 win over Brazil in the last round.
The Red Devils’ second-string meeting with England in their final group game remains the only time there have been fewer 2.5 goals in one of their World Cup matches, and I don’t see that changing against France.
I’m on England on Wednesday, like everyone else in the country.
The Three Lions have scored eight goals from set pieces at the World Cup – two more than any other side – should cause Croatia major problems.
But Zlatko Dalic’s side have gone to penalties in consecutive matches, and scored in every game so far at the tournament, so it’s unlikely to be straightforward.
England to beat Croatia: £10 at 13/10
It’s coming home.
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