Belgium v England: Old Foes Re-Unite for Consolation Match
It’s the match that nobody really wants to play but both Belgium and England have to stay in Russia for a little longer in order to contest the Third Place Play-off. Having lost their respective semi finals, this is nothing more than scant consolation but this game can often provide some decent value from a betting point of view.
When the sides met in Group G earlier in the tournament, Belgium came through with a 1-0 scoreline but how are the bookies reading it this time?
Belgium start as favourites to win in 90 minutes and Roberto Martinez’s men can be backed at best odds of 11/8 with Betway. Victory for England is available at a top price of 23/10 with MarathonBet while the draw is on offer at a best of 14/5 with Black Type.
Extra Time will be played if the scores are level after 90 so we do have a separate To Lift the Trophy market. Here, Belgium shorten to 8/13 with Ladbrokes while England can be claimed at 5/4 with Coral.
In that previous game between the two teams, both managers made extensive changes to their line ups and we can probably expect the same again for Saturday’s match. Injury and fatigue look to be having a say at the end of a long tournament and that makes it harder to call a winner but Belgium look to have the edge here. England were devastated at the end of their semi – a defeat to Croatia in a game that they should have won – and I can’t see the Three Lions lifting themselves with just pride on the line.
Individual Goal Scorers
Bookmakers don’t try to second guess starting XIs in the individual goalscorer markets – they simply assess the best players – so we have the usual suspects listed as favourites here. England’s Harry Kane therefore leads the first goalscorer betting and you can pick him up at best odds of 39/4 with Unibet.
Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku follows at a top price of 17/4 with Unibet again while his teammate Michy Batshuayi is available at a best of 27/5 with 888Sport. Of those three, Batshuayi seems the most likely starter as Lukaku has been struggling with injury at stages in this tournament while Kane was some way short of his best against Croatia.
Other options in this first goalscorer market include Eden Hazard at best odds of 7/1 with Unibet and Jamie Vardy at a top price of 15/2 with 888Sport. Vardy could well come in for Kane but he has also suffered an injury issue in this tournament so manager Gareth Southgate may well turn to Marcus Rashford who is quoted here at a best of 8/1 with BetFred.
Having to predict the line ups make this punt so much harder to call so we’re switching to the anytime market which give greater potential for likely substitutes. For this bet, we’re taking Belgium’s Eden Hazard who has been good to us in this market while playing for Chelsea and who looks reasonably priced at best odds of 21/10 with Unibet.
All of those prices, and the tip, are for a goal in 90 minutes – excluding any extra time.
Other Side Bets
We’ll deal with the most popular of side bets first and Both Teams to Score in normal time is available here at a top price of 5/9 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa. We could be in for a very subdued 90 minutes, similar to the previous game that finished 1-0 to Belgium so we’ll avoid that bet this time.
A more interesting option could involve under 2.5 goals which is quoted at best odds of 149/50 with MarathonBet. This market often sees odds-against prices and with these sides scoring just once each in their semi finals, we aren’t expecting a feast of attacking entertainment.
It would be nice to dress this game up and suggest it might be an open and attack-focused match but it’s so hard to see that happening. 2014 Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal was openly critical of the third place play off when his Netherlands side prepared to play in Brazil four years ago and while England’s Gareth Southgate is unlikely to be as controversial, the reality is that no manager or player really wants another 90 minutes of what is, essentially, an international friendly.
Expect a subdued afternoon in Saint Petersburg on Saturday and with England hurting more after a disappointing performance against Croatia, we’re backing the Belgians to come through and hopefully deliver some, or maybe all, of the following profits in 90 minutes.
- Belgium to win at 11/8 with Betway
- Eden Hazard to score anytime at 21/10 with Unibet
- Under 2.5 Goals at 149/50 with MarathonBet