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Old rivals France and Belgium clash once again in the EURO 2024 last-16 tie



Old rivals France and Belgium clash once again in the EURO 2024 last-16 tie

France and Belgium are set to face off for the 76th time in history in what promises to be an electrifying clash in the last 16 at Euro 2024. Didier Deschamps’ French squad and Kevin De Bruyne’s Belgian team have a storied rivalry, with Les Bleus having faced Belgium more times than any other opponent.

Historical Rivalry and Recent Encounters

  • Historic Record: France and Belgium have met 75 times, with France winning 26 of those encounters. This is the most victories France has secured against any nation.
  • Major Tournaments: France has a perfect record against Belgium in major tournaments, winning all four matches, including a memorable 1-0 victory in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

Group Stage Performance

Both teams had underwhelming group stage performances:

  • Shot Conversion: France and Belgium had the lowest shot-to-goal conversion rates among the 16 teams that progressed, with each scoring only two goals from 48 attempts (4.2% conversion rate).
  • France’s Goals: France scored from an Austrian own goal and a Kylian Mbappe penalty against Poland.
  • Belgium’s Goals: Belgium’s goals came from Youri Tielemans and Kevin De Bruyne against Romania.

Offensive Struggles

  • Shot Attempts: France took 113 shots inside the penalty area during the group stage, a record high, but struggled to convert those chances into goals.
  • Individual Efforts: Players like Jeremy Doku and Romelu Lukaku had numerous attempts but failed to score. Lukaku, in particular, has yet to find the net despite taking 10 shots.

Defensive Strengths

  • Clean Sheets: Both France and Belgium have kept two clean sheets, showing strong defensive performances.
  • Expected Goals Against: The shots taken by their opponents had low expected goals values (France 2.4, Belgium 2.3), indicating solid defensive setups.

Tactical Approaches

  • France’s Approach: France’s attacks were heavily concentrated on the wings, with full-backs like Jules Kounde pushing forward. However, Kounde’s crossing accuracy was lacking.
  • Belgium’s Control: Belgium demonstrated strong possession control, with significant action concentrated in the midfield.

Key Players and Matchups

  • Kevin De Bruyne: De Bruyne is crucial for Belgium, leading in assists during the qualifiers and forming a key connection with Doku.
  • French Full-backs: Theo Hernandez and other full-backs play a significant role in France’s attacking strategy, often receiving crucial passes that break defensive lines.

Potential for Extra Time

  • Experience in Extra Time: France has extensive experience in extra time, having played in 15 extra-time matches in major tournaments, compared to Belgium’s six.
  • Penalty Shootouts: Despite their experience, France has been eliminated on penalties four times under Deschamps, which could be a factor if the match goes beyond 90 minutes.


This match is poised to be a battle of fine margins, with both teams needing to address their offensive inefficiencies while relying on their defensive strengths. The outcome may very well be decided by tactical adjustments and individual brilliance, with the possibility of the game extending into extra time or penalties.

Source: ghmediahub