It’s going to something of a tricky situation on Saturday in St. Petersburg (Russia), as two teams who had very high hopes of making it to the World Cup championship game but fell short will take the pitch for the honor of winning third place. Belgium was expected to be a contender in Russia, but England wasn’t and the two will do battle under less-than-usual circumstances at 10 AM ET.
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2018 World Cup Betting Odds: Belgium-England
In the World Cup betting odds, as they are posted by the people at VietBet, the Belgian side comes in as the favorite:
Belgium -1/2 Goal +129
England +1/2 Goal -144
Over 3 Goals -106
Under 3 Goals -109
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2018 World Cup Betting: CJ’s Take on Belgium-England for 3rd Place:
There are indeed a number of factors that are difficult to handicap here. One of them involves motivation. Both of these squads suffered stinging defeats – Belgium at the hands of France and England to Croatia, and the question is whether there is a letdown for a couple of sides for whom the tournament is over, for all intents and purposes.
Belgium is the team with more established stars, but how many of those stars are going to see action? Roberto Martinez, the head coach, will likely start veteran Vincent Kompany on the defensive backline, but will Eden Hazard be in the match? Will Kevin De Bruyne? Martinez says he will consider his starting lineup based on fitness, but could this become a consolation for those players who did not see a lot of action?
One of the interesting situations involves Romelu Lukaku, who has been, on balance, the most effective offensive player for Belgium./ He has scored four goals in the tournament, and that places him two behind England’s Harry Kane in the battle for the Golden Boot. Will he be used? That decision may be up in the air. Lukaku, who campaigns for Manchester United in his club football career, would have to do something very spectacular to win a share of that award.
Belgium has to be the more disappointed side. Their array of offensive talent has to rank right up there with the best countries in the World Cup, but they couldn’t get anything meaningful going against France, which was content to play more deliberately with an accent on defense. This certainly has to be considered a triumph for Martinez, who replaced Marc Wilmots, a coach who did not build a lot of goodwill with his team. For example, Thibault Courtois, one of the top goalkeepers in the world, actually sued Wilmots for defamation of character. And there was friction between Wilmots and De Bruyne, who questioned his tactics. Martinez appeared to do a great job of bringing things together, and he made a couple of great substitutions against Japan – Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli – scored goals to key a remarkable 3-2 comeback win. Expect both of those players to see action.
Garrett Southgate took over the reins with the English team under strange circumstances, as Sam Allardyce found himself involved in a bizarre scandal. Formerly a coach of the Under-21’s, Southgate has been very effusive about the way his team has come together. He had a lot of players who were unproven at this level, and of course Wayne Rooney, who is retired from international football, was not going to be available. Instead, Kane stepped into the starring role and his teammates really “came of age,” according to the coach. They may have more to gain here, but Belgium is deeper. So we are siding with the favorite.
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