Semifinal: France – Belgium

In this post we give our prediction for the first semifinal match between France and Belgium in the World Cup 2018. While France as winner of group C has eliminated Uruguay in the quarter-final, Belgium has beaten Brazil in their quarter-final match. For many experts this semifinal seems to be a preponed final since probably the best two remaining teams in the competition fight for a single ticket to the final. We have updated our model by incorporating the results up to the quarter-finals in order to forecast the matches in the quarter-finals.

We present the probabilities for each team to qualify for the final. This takes into account a victory after 90 or 120 minutes according to our model. Furthermore, we give the probability for a penalty shoot-out. Our model favours Belgium slightly, although the “Red Devils” have a few Elo points less than France. Nonetheless the outcome of the match seems to be very open and the performance on the match day will play a crucial role. A decision by penalty shoot-out is not unlikely. (We recall from our previous posts: We believe that penalty shoot-outs are very difficult if not impossible to model and hence we do not give any further forecasts in this case.)


Analogously to our previous posts during the group phase of the tournament, we present the probabilities for the match after 90 minutes: we favour a 1-1 draw or 0-1 victory of Belgium, followed by a 1-0 victory of France and a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes.


Since the probability for a draw after 90 minutes is high, we also present the expected results after 120 minutes in the case that the match goes into extra time (ET):


Hence, the estimated probability that France wins 2-1 after extra time is 2.35%. This includes the cases of a 0-0 or a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. According to the above table we expect a penalty shoot-out if the match goes into extra time. We don’t see a remarkable advantage for any team during extra time.