EURO 2024 Round of 16 | France Vs Belgium

France Vs Belgium (Düsseldorf, 18:00)

Belgium and France were expected to top their groups and make a smooth entry into the round of 16. While their performances were not the worst, they finished second in their groups and now face each other in the knockout stage.

France were one of the favourites to win this tournament. However, their performances could have been more convincing. Les Blues have won this competition twice and a third win will put them up there with Germany and Spain as the most successful nation in this competition. There is still a decent chance for France to make it to the finals, but many would agree that the odds are not as good as many would have predicted for them in the beginning.

Belgium are one of those teams with all the necessary talent to go deep in a tournament but can not translate their brilliance into success. It is safe to say that Belgium did not meet the expectations of their countrymen, as they were booed off the pitch by their own fans after their goalless draw against Ukraine. The players will be looking to turn things around in the next round and aim to face either Portugal or Slovenia in the quarter-finals.




Performance in the Group Stage

France started their campaign as expected, winning against Austria, who eventually topped the group but fell short in the next two games. Their second game ended in a goalless draw against the Netherlands, and they were then held to another draw by Poland, which had already been knocked out of the tournament by that point. There were high expectations from France, particularly in the last game against a team with nothing to play for, but it ultimately ended in what many would consider a disappointment.

Belgium had one of the most unique group results in the history of the Euros, with every team in the group ending up with four points each. In the process, Ukraine became the first team in history to be eliminated with that many points. Still, the same number of points saw Romania top the group and Belgium finish second behind them due to goal difference. Fans were not happy with Belgium's subpar performances, especially against weaker oppositions, and they expected their team to cruise through instead of limping off into the round of 16.

Match Analysis

France will have to rely on their disciplined approach under Didier Deschamps if they are to get a result against Belgium. They will likely field a strong defensive setup with their top players and aim to control possession in the midfield, with players like Rabiot, Tchouaméni, and Kante offering their services in this department. Mbappe’s leadership, both as the team’s captain and main player, will be heavily needed to exploit any gaps left by Belgium to gain an edge in this crucial tie.

Domenico Tedesco is facing a challenge as he organises his squad ahead of the game. The Belgian team has many talented players, but many of them have been inconsistent when playing for their national team. Dodi Lukebakio returns to the squad after a suspension and could offer his manager an option on the wing ahead of Leandro Trossard and Jeremy Doku. Lois Openda might also be considered ahead of Romelu Lukaku, who was poor in Belgium's last two games.

Players to watch:

As everyone knows by now, this French side is packed with talent. We have decided to hone our focus on two fantastic talents who have been at the heart of all France has achieved in recent history.

- Kylian Mbappe: Even though he has a broken nose and, prior to this, has not been at his very best, it is difficult to look past the French superstar. We all know what he is capable of and that every team talk will revolve heavily around how they can stop his threat.

- Antoine Griezmann: Previously, we were talking about how England hasn't yet found someone to master this role at international level. For Griezmann, however, he is everywhere. He knows his role, and he plays it very well. If (insert team) Can prevent him and Mbappe from having a good game, they will go a long way to winning the match.

Belgium might be slightly weaker now than they were, but they still have a squad capable of winning the tournament.

- Romelu Lukaku: The Belgium forward has 85 goals for his country. He has had a very disappointing campaign so far, but if Belgium are to beat France, they will be relying on him to have a fantastic game.

Match Prediction:

Both teams have been underwhelming by their standards in the group stages, but that can be all set to one side now as we focus on the knockout stages. Belgium have the players to win any game of football. Therefore, if they beat this wonderful French side, it can't be considered a shock. Having said that, considering this squad's history and high level of performance, we can't run away from backing this very strong French side.