The soccer world soon will learn whether Belgium or England can better cope with disappointment.
The teams will face off at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup third-place game. Belgium’s world-championship dream died Tuesday when it fell to France in the semifinals, and England’s hopes of bringing the trophy home ended the next day with its loss to Croatia.
Belgium beat England 1-0 on June 28 in their final Group G game. The teams made 17 combined lineup changes for that game in preparation for their respective knockout-round runs. Will they take a similar approach or pursue the proverbial bronze medal with all their power?
Let’s look at the Belgium vs. England betting lines:
Current betting line (via OddsShark.com):
Belgium win: +115
England win: +225
Total goals: 3
NESN.com’s picks: Belgium win, under
We agree with oddsmakers’ collective conclusion Belgium is ready to show England who’s boss … again. World Cup 2018 represented the best opportunity for Belgium’s so-called “golden generation” to rule the world. The Red Devils won’t achieve that goal, but a third-place finish would be their best-ever finish and set the bar for coming generations of Belgian players. England believes its future is bright, and the Three Lions won’t have the pressure of a “last chance” hanging over them in the third-place game. Bet on Belgium to win, as it might have more desire and urgency to do so than England.
The three-goal over/under is one of the highest we’ve seen at World Cup 2018, largely because this game features the highest-scoring teams in the tournament: Belgium on 14 goals and England on 12. But we expect the familiarity among players — the teams played each other in the group stage, and nine of Belgium’s likely starters play in England’s Premier League — to heighten the competitiveness of this third-place game. The teams will defend with focus and determination, limiting scoring chances. Bet on the under.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport/USA TODAY Sports Images