Both Belgium and England fell short of their ultimate goal at the 2018 World Cup. As a result, the two sides will play for third place this weekend instead of playing in the World Cup final.
It’s still an impressive accomplishment for either side as a third-place finish would represent Belgium’s best result ever. As for England, they finished fourth in 1990 and haven’t finished better than that since 1966. The question is which team will be up for this game following the heartbreaking disappointment of the semifinal.
World Cup 2018: Belgium vs. England Betting Analysis
England and Belgium were in the same group to start the 2018 FIFA World Cup and have already squared off. Belgium won that contest 1-0 but it seems like England was playing for second (and the easier path). Belgium had made nine changes to their lineup and England made eight.
Prior to that, England had won three of the previous four meetings and had lost just once in the previous 11 meetings (seven wins, three draws and one loss). Sports Interaction is listing Belgium as the +101 favorite in this matchup.
Belgium has arguably been the best team at the 2018 World Cup, winning all three of their matches in Group G (England, Tunisia and Panama) by a combined score of 9-2. Then they came back from a 2-0 second-half deficit to oust a gritty Japanese side followed by a 2-1 win over the World Cup favorites, Brazil. They did lose to France, who is an excellent side, but the loss by the narrowest of margins (1-0). France executed on a set play when Belgium simply couldn’t find the back of the net – even with a number of close chances.
Of the two teams, you’d have to think that Belgium is happier to be here. They’ve never finished as high as third and will be motivated to do so. England, on the other hand, will have to feel like they blew it. They held a 1-0 lead against Croatia and blew several really good chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0. Instead, Croatia tied the game and then ripped their hearts out in extra time. It might be tough for England to get up for this game knowing just how close they were to the World Cup final. Belgium, on the other hand, was just beaten by the better team.
England has some bigger issues than just the loss of the game as they are likely to be without Kieran Trippier for their third-place game with Belgium. Trippier scored one of the most memorable goals in England’s football history on Wednesday when he nailed a free kick into the top right corner to give his team an early lead over Croatia. He later hurt his groin in extra time and couldn’t even walk off the pitch. That’s a huge blow for England, who has done most of their scoring this World Cup from set pieces. He’s one of the key trigger men.
The good news for England is that this is a very young team that hasn’t been fazed by the moment. They entered with a lot of pressure and it never looked it mattered to them. Even as the country went completely bananas, they still played within themselves. While other teams might be thinking about what could and should have been, this is a young squad with their future still in front of them. The loss will sting but little has bothered them throughout this tournament. They’ll be mentally ready for this game.
The question here has to be competition, though. When you look back at who they’ve played, their toughest opponent – outside of Belgium – might have been a Colombian side that was without James Rodriguez. Outside of that, they beat Sweden, Panama and Tunisia. That makes them tough to trust in this spot.
Belgium vs. England Prediction
Belgium 2, England 0