The 2018 World Cup has reached its final weekend and its crunch time for the remaining 4 teams in the competition. France and Croatia edged through their respective semi-finals and will face off for the Jules Rimmet Trophy on Sunday. Meanwhile, beaten semi-finalists England and Belgium will contest the 3rd/4th place play-off – with both teams sure to want to finish their respective campaigns on a high. England were wasteful in their 2-1 defeat to Croatia but have galvanised a nation whilst Belgium may reflect on an opportunity missed after eliminating Brazil in the last 8.
Here are our picks for the 3rd/4th place play-off at the 2018 World Cup:
2018 World Cup 3rd Place Playoff Predictions
12:00am England vs Belgium – Saint Petersburg Stadium
Two teams that have already met at the 2018 World Cup face off in an intriguing battle in Saint Petersburg between two European heavyweights. Belgium have achieved their best result ever at a World Cup, surpassing their last 8 finish in 2014 whilst England reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.
Their earlier meeting in the competition was a relatively drab game, between two teams resting key players and was decided by an Adnan Januzaj wonder-strike to give Belgium a 1-0 win and enable them to top Group G.
Belgium have impressed throughout the World Cup under the stewardship of Roberto Martinez and their key players have consistently performed on the biggest stage. They breezed through Group G, defeating Panama, Tunisia and England before staging one of the all-time World Cup comebacks to defeat Japan in the last 16. Their last 8 win over tournament favourites Brazil, cemented their place in the elite of world football with Martinez’s men receiving wide spread adulation for their tactical proficiency. Their 2-1 win was epitomised by the impressive performances from the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne. They ultimately fell short in the semi-finals however, edged out 1-0 by their great rivals France and the sense amongst the Belgium camp is that they have missed out on an incredible opportunity to create history.
England have surprised many at this World Cup and Gareth Southgate’s young side have seemingly built the foundations for a strong future at international level. Much like Belgium, England breezed through their group with Tunisia and Panama being dispatched with ease before the defeat to Belgium. Their first hurdle was to overcome Colombia in the last 16 and their spirited performance coupled with their first ever World Cup penalty shootout win gave people back in England hope that football could be coming home. Their best performance of the tournament was a comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden in the last 8, where Southgate’s young side gave almost the complete performance. They like Belgium, will feel like they missed out on a real chance against Croatia. Letting a 1-0 lead slip to face extra-time heartache but they look to have galvanised English football and bridged the gap between the players and the fans.
This should be a very open game between two sides that look to play on the front foot. Belgium will look to dominate the midfield with the likes of Hazard and De Bruyne, supplying chances for Romelu Lukaku – who has impressed throughout the tournament with a series of selfless displays. England perhaps lack the creativity of previous seasons but have a plan under Gareth Southgate and their 3-5-2 formation has caused many problems for opposing teams and their proficiency from set-pieces has enabled them to reach the last 4.
The spectacle could depend very much on the fitness and availability of key players for both sides, with both teams sure to have one eye on their respective domestic seasons ahead.
Betting tip: Belgium to win the match and both teams to score ($3.9) – BET NOW
Belgium to win 2-1
Key Bets for the 3rd Place Playoff:
Both Teams To Score – YES – 1.53 – Both sides have banged the goals in so far at this World Cup and will be looking to give some fringe players a chance in a big game and they are sure to be keen to impress – BET NOW
Over 2.5 Goals In The Game – 1.62 – With only the prospect of a bronze medal on the line, it could give both teams a little more freedom and with the attacking talent on show – it could be an open game – BET NOW
Harry Kane to score anytime – 2.15 – Harry Kane leads the race for the Golden Boot with 6 goals in the tournament so far and he will want to cement his place at the top of the charts – BET NOW
Belgium to win the match – 2.3 – Belgium seem to have the mental edge over England after their earlier win in the competition and should get the job done here – BET NOW