Best bets for the France-England match
Saturday 2 p.m. ET
I am going to start with a question! Does it get any better than this? Two of the best sides not just in Europe but in the World collide with a place in the World Cup semifinal for the victor.
Yes, on Saturday in Qatar, with yours truly there to cheer them on, the Three Lions take on World Cup holders France for a place in the semifinals. Let’s start with England, who arrives here on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win against Senegal. Harry Kane finally came to the party with his first goal of the tournament, with the other scorers being Bukayo Saka and Jordan Henderson. On that performance, the highest-scoring team in the tournament will be a popular selection with bettors at +110 to qualify for another World Cup semifinal.
France enters in a similar confident mood after an impressive 3-1 victory over Poland. That game saw striker Olivier Giroud break the great Thierry Henry’s record to become France’s all-time leading goal scorer—an incredible achievement for a vastly underrated player who has looked at the top of his game in Qatar. The other two goals came from the player who I believe has been the best player on show here in Qatar, Kylian Mbappé. He already has an incredible five goals to his name, and to state the most obvious in this World Cup so far, he is a huge barrier to England progressing to the semis. He will be marked by experienced England defender Man City star Kyle Walker in a pivotal battle. The French do know how to play on the biggest stage, and they do have the best player. But I would argue that England has the better team and certainly the better squad, which makes the -150 on France to qualify no value.
In this fixture, historically, England has the upper hand with 17 wins against 5 draws and 9 defeats. However, in recent times, and coach Didier Deschamps will make this point, it is France who has done the best. Since the turn of the century, the sides have played six times, with France winning four and drawing two. Southgate will look to rewrite recent history on Saturday.
Southgate will be heartened by the news West Ham midfield star Declan Rice is likely to make the starting XI after missing training due to an injury. Raheem Sterling has re-joined the squad after returning to England for personal reasons and provides another attacking option, though is unlikely to start.
Didier Deschamps has no injury worries and is happy with his squad going into this must-win game.
France will look to dominate possession here, but England has shown in attacking bursts that they can be devastating going forward. I see this being a very cagey game with so much at stake, and though France has Mbappé, and England has attacking talent, I predict a tight low-scoring affair. There is so much at stake, and the game might not be a classic as we have just seen in the first quarterfinal between Brazil and Croatia in a 0-0 draw in regular time.
The stakes are high, and the loser goes home. Both sides will feel they can get the better of either Morocco or Portugal and make the final! I think the play here is in under 2.5 goals, and after the tension from today’s quarterfinal, I am expecting the line to move in our favor. I really like the -130 on less than three goals being scored.
My heart says England, but my head says this is the pick! It is going to be quite an evening in the desert!
Under 2.5 Goals at -130