France vs. Belgium Prediction: Two Heavyweights Clash in Last 16

Written by: Greg Lea
Published June 30, 2024
6 min read
  • France were unconvincing in the group stage and only advanced as runners-up

  • Belgium also finished second in their group with one win, one draw and one loss

  • Only one of France or Belgium will be present in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024

France vs. Belgium Odds

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France vs. Belgium Pick

Go for a France win. Les Bleus have not been at their best so far, but they have the quality and experience to come out on top.

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France Are Yet to Dazzle But They Have Been Here Before

France flattering to deceive in their first few games at a major tournament but still getting the results they need to reach the next round? We have heard this track before. Les Bleus have regularly played within themselves in the Didier Deschamps era. The next thing you know they are in the final.

Just look at their track record. France have reached the final in three of their last four appearances at the World Cup and the European Championship. Throughout that time they have played a disciplined, cautious style of soccer that has frustrated many fans, both French and otherwise. But Deschamps’ methods have unquestionably got results.

That is why no one within the French camp will be getting carried away by a disappointing display in Group D. Les Bleus only finished second on five points. They edged out Austria 1-0 on matchday one, then drew with both the Netherlands and Poland. 

France have scored two goals so far - one was a penalty and one was an own goal. Yet as Deschamps would no doubt point out, they are in the round of 16 and the best online sportsbooks rate them as favorites to see off Belgium on Monday.

That is one view. The other is that the Deschamps magic may have worn off. France have been solid so far, but they could be so much better going forward. Their approach stands in contrast to the more attacking methods used by Spain boss Luis de la Fuente and Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann, to take two examples. 

On top of that, their failure to beat Poland last time out has landed them on the tough side of the bracket along with Portugal, Germany, and Spain. Is this era of French supremacy among European nations coming to an end?

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Belgium Have Work to Do After Unconvincing Group Stage

There was a remarkable moment at the end of Belgium’s last group game against Ukraine. Led by the captain Kevin De Bruyne, the players headed over to applaud the fans after a 0-0 draw had confirmed the team’s place in the knockout phase. But as the supporters started to loudly jeer the players, De Bruyne instructed them to turn around and head back to the locker room.

That captures the mood around the national team right now. Needless to say, Belgium’s fans were not impressed with Domenico Tedesco’s side in Group E. Widely tipped to accumulate maximum points after a kind draw, Belgium lost to Slovakia, beat Romania, and tied with Ukraine to finish second.

The supporters were particularly frustrated by the team’s conservatism towards the end of that final match. A win would have sent Belgium through as group winners, thus avoiding France and ending up on the easier side of the bracket. However, a defeat would have eliminated them - and Tedesco’s men chose to preserve a point rather than chase all three.

All is not lost for Belgium. You could argue they were a little unlucky in the group stage. Romelu Lukaku alone had three goals disallowed. They created the better chances against Slovakia and, on another day, would not have suffered a 1-0 defeat.

But in their first tournament post-golden generation, Belgium do not currently look like potential winners. The only thing that could change that view? A statement performance and result against France.

France Should Have Too Much Nous for Belgium on Monday

We know what to expect from France in Dusseldorf. Deschamps will stick with his tried-and-trusted 4-3-3 formation, with Antoine Griezmann and Marcus Thuram set to be restored to the XI after being rested against Poland.

Belgium are the likelier of the two teams to make changes, but we should not expect a complete reshuffle from Tedesco. Available once more after suspension, Dodi Lukebakio is likely to replace Leandro Trossard on the right. Otherwise, Tedesco will probably stick with the plan.

Belgium may well end up dominating possession in this match. France have never been overly concerned with controlling the ball under Deschamps. The long-serving coach will also be wary of Belgium’s threat in transition via Lukebakio, De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku.

Goals could be few and far between in this one. Deschamps is not one to open a game up, especially not in the knockout stage of a major tournament. He will keep faith with the strategy that has worked for most of his tenure.  

In our opinion, that strategy will work. Belgium have the individual talent to pose a threat to any team in the competition, but they cannot match France for overall strength. Les Bleus are defensively robust and will not give much away. And with Mbappe leading the charge, they have the quality to do damage at the other end.

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How to Watch France vs. Belgium

  • Teams: France vs Belgium

  • Location: Merkur Spiel-Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany

  • Date and Time: Monday, 1 July 2024, 12.00 PM ET 

  • How to Watch: FS1


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Greg Lea

Soccer Betting Analyst

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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts.
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Education: Bachelor of Arts in Politics
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