When playing for Belgium, Hazard not only wears the captain’s armband but he has the complete confidence of his teammates and his coach, Roberto Martinez. He is viewed as the team’s leader.
In recent months, the international breaks have provided an opportunity for Hazard to display his talent away from the spotlight of Real Madrid, and that is the case heading into Belgium’s Nations League semi-final against France this Thursday night.
Despite being Real Madrid’s record signing at 115 million euros, Hazard’s status has fallen to the point where Carlo Ancelotti is not afraid to name him on the bench, as has been the case in three of Los Blancos’ last four games (against Real Mallorca, Villarreal and Espanyol).
Fans are already settling into their seats. From the looks of the photographs that have been sent to us, they have used up all their flares already.
France is looking to get back on track on Thursday when it faces Belgium in a UEFA Nations League semifinal in Turin, Italy. Les Bleus are unbeaten in their last 14 games but have six draws in that span, with last month’s 2-0 win against Finland their first victory in six matches. France is the reigning World Cup champion but was knocked out in the Round of 16 at Euro 2020. Belgium is the world’s top-ranked team and has lost once in its last 17 matches (14-2-1), but that was a devastating 2-1 loss to Italy in the Euro quarterfinals. The Red Devils have all the talent in the world but are still seeking a piece of silverware to signify it. Both teams have a wealth of elite attackers, and they will be gunning for the final to face Spain.
Kickoff is set for 2:45 p.m. ET at Juventus Stadium. France is the +150 favorite (risk $100 to win $150) in Caesars Sportsbook’s latest Belgium vs. France odds. Belgium is the +200 underdog, a draw is priced at +220, and the over-under for total goals scored is 2.5. Before you make any France vs. Belgium picks or UEFA Nations League predictions, make sure you check out what European soccer insider Martin Green has to say.
After working in the sports betting industry for several years, Green became a professional sports writer and handicapper. Since then, his European soccer picks have hauled in stunning profits. Green has generated well over $36,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season.
Now, Green has taken a close look at Belgium vs. France from every possible angle. You can visit SportsLine now to see Belgium vs. France picks and predictions. Here are several odds and trends for France vs. Belgium:
Why you should back France
Les Bleus will be eager to get back to the level where they’re expected to be. And they certainly have the talent to beat the elite teams. The attack might be taking time to gel with Karim Benzema back from a six-year exile, but the veteran has 31 career goals. He and 22-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe can provide a major challenge for any defense. The fleet-footed Mbappe, who has 17 goals in 49 matches with the national team, could be particularly troublesome for an aging Belgium defense featuring the tandem of Toby Alderweireld, 32, and Jan Vertonghen, 34.
Antoine Griezmann is the leading scorer on the roster with 41 goals in 98 matches, and midfielder Paul Pogba can score goals or set them up. Pogba has seven assists in seven games for Manchester United this season. The team will miss defensive stalwart N’Golo Kante, who tested positive for COVID-19, but the defense led by Raphael Varane should provide solid cover for longtime Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. He is the team’s captain and is second all-time in caps, and he has allowed just 1.09 goals per 90 minutes in 10 seasons with Spurs.
Why you should back Belgium
Belgium is the No. 1 team in the world because it is loaded with talent. Kevin De Bruyne steers the ship, and he is almost universally considered the world’s best midfielder. He had 19 goals and 32 assists the past two seasons with Manchester City. He has scored 22 times and set up 36 goals in 75 games for the national team, and he will continue to feed Belgium’s top two all-time goal-scorers. Romelu Lukaku is a lethal finisher and has scored 67 times in 100 appearances for Belgium, while the speedy Eden Hazard has 33 goals in 113 matches.
The Red Devils will be hungry to beat an elite team after the loss to Italy and a 2-1 setback against England in the Nations League group stage. However, they beat England 2-0 in the rematch and beat Portugal in the Euro 2020 Round of 16. Since their Euro 2020 exit, the Red Devils have outscored three opponents 9-2, posting clean sheets in the last two.