Two of the World Cup’s top attacking teams meet in the final quarter-final at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday night, but don’t anticipate an end-to-end goal fest with the stakes so high.
France are 6/4 favourites with Betfred to reach the semi-finals in 90 minutes, while England are 2/1 to do it in normal time.
The draw, which would result in extra time and maybe penalties, looks like a strong bet at 23/10 and is likely the best value in those outright pricing.
And the 23/10 on a 90-minute stalemate makes sense because, despite the magnificent offensive quality at their disposal, both Gareth Southgate and Didier Deschamps are innately pragmatic and more likely to choose safety.
The objective for both will be to smother the opposition, which may mean that this massive game does not become the spectacle that the viewing world had hoped for.
Space for attackers is likely to be limited, but we know Kylian Mbappe can do a lot of damage in those half spaces between full backs and centre halves, so all eyes will be on Kyle Walker, who appears to be the man in charge of ensuring France’s talisman cannot influence the game as much as he would like.
This will probably be England’s most difficult defensive test thus far, but it will also be for France, who are hardly bombproof at the back. Deschamps, on the other hand, may be tempted to replace one of his offensive players with another defensive midfielder to help preserve that back four.
That really would make space hard to find for England’s host of attacking players.
The Three Lions are the tournament’s top scorers but they have been scoring at an unsustainable rate in comparison to their xG numbers and they are not going to find it anything like as easy to create big moments against a side of the calibre of France.
England vs France Prediction
This game probably won’t catch fire until someone takes the lead and the longer we have parity the cagier this could get.
Under 2.5 goals looks like an obvious initial bet at 8/11, but there is virtually nothing between these two teams on paper, and away from Mbappe, it is simple to argue that England have better alternatives all across the field.
With that in mind, the price discrepancy appears to be worth taking advantage of. The 11/10 for England to reach the semi-finals appears to be a better bet than the 4/6 on France.
England vs France prediction: England to qualify – 11/10
England vs France Odds with Betfred
- England – 2/1
- Draw – 23/10
- France – 6/4