Devils vs Lions: The Other Final or a Meaningless FIFA 2018 Match?

Belgium vs England

This meeting has all the makings of an absolute classic that is even worth to be a final, but with everything over for the two national teams, it’s hard to expect anything.

World Cup Group G standouts Belgium and England meet again, this time in the FIFA 2018 third-place play-off match that many fans and pundits describe as a flawed and meaningless spectacle that should be swiftly abandoned.

Sure enough, a little look at history suggests that it could be a treat to the people who will watch; not to mention that Belgium and England are two of the highest-scoring teams in the competition.

However, the general consensus about the battle for third is that the two nations are just fighting to lose again, with no real big reward waiting in the end. After all, there could only be one winner in the quadrennial affair and all other teams are in the losing end.

Talking Points

Belgium and England are the unlucky semi-finalists, though they both deserved better.

Belgium were unarguably the best team remaining in the competition after the fall of Spain and Germany. Ranked third in the world, the Red Devils topped Group G and even beat World Cup favourites Brazil in the quarter-final to set up a meeting with France.

They produced the best results—five straight wins before the semi-finals—and were always part the FIFA 2018 highlights thanks to their entertaining and attacking style of football.

Meanwhile, England are one of the success stories in the contest. They headed to the tournament with low expectations and surprised everyone with their run to the last four.

The Three Lions’ exploits even sparked an online trend and raised beliefs that “#ItsComingHome.” Nevertheless, after surviving Colombia in the knockouts and breezing through Sweden, they lost to Croatia in a gripping 2-1 semi-final.

Sure enough, they are both strong teams and just hearing the players in their lineup will make every football fan jump in excitement.

Well, that is if this a different situation.

Belgium supporters will still be rooting for their nation to win the FIFA 2018 battle of the third place

Belgium fans looking disappointed as they watch the semi-final match between France and Belgium

Put simply, motivation is now the issue for both England and Belgium heading into this match.

They are set to play for basically nothing, unless they consider a podium finish and some bronze medals as a worthy prize. And hey, in all honesty, who remembers the team that finishes third in this competition?

That’s the cruel reality in football and in the World Cup. It’s either win or go home—and it can be argued FIFA should send these lads packing instead of showing them they no longer have a chance to win the grand prize. It’s just emotional torture.

With nothing left for both nations, it’s likely that fans will witness a repeat of their boring meeting in the group stages.

Belgium beat England in the group phase to get the no.1 spot, but that match-up was far from entertaining after their big-name stars such as Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne and Harry Kane opted to sit out.

Of course, we could be wrong and Roberto Martinez and Gareth South could end up fielding their best players available. Though, it would be best not to have your hopes up.

History

If there’s one reason to be optimistic about this game at Saint Petersburg Stadium, it’s the fact that history tells us there will be goals here…and plenty of it!

While it’s still meaningless, the previous third-place matches in the World Cup had lived up to expectations when it comes to scoring. Since 1978, the battle for third had seen three or more goals scored!

In 2010 alone, Uruguay and Germany scored a combined five goals, with the Germans eventually edging the South Americans 3-2. Meanwhile, in 2014, Netherlands thrashed the Neymar-less Brazil 3-0.

On the other hand, over the last 10 World Cups, Belgium and England have featured in the third-place playoff just once. Belgium lost to France 2-4 in the 1986 edition of the game while the Englishmen bowed down to Italy 2-1 in the following World Cup (1990).

What are the odds?

Belgium Roberto Martinez coaching his players during the FIFA 2018 semifinal clash against France

Roberto Martinez talks with his players during their semi-final match against France

As mentioned, Belgium have beaten England before, so it’s no wonder why the FIFA 2018 betting odds back them to win. The Red Devils are tipped with 2.20 to win at 1X2 odds, while England are at 3.20 and the draw at 3.30.

In us Asian Handicap sports betting, Belgium are at -0.25 @ 1.95, with Gareth Southgate’s side at +0.25 @ 1.75—implying that there’s not much separation that is expected between the two nations.

Betting Tip

??
Belgium vs England Total Goal 2-3 @ 2.04
June 14, 22:00 (GMT+8)

Belgium, obviously, have the better team. They have proven that in their first meeting here. However, it’s noteworthy that the Englishmen have grown in confidence over the last few days and it won’t be wrong to suspect that they will be playing for some respectability.

Everything still depends on the lineup that each nation will use, though Belgium and England have enough depth to make it a high-scoring and tight game.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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