Eamon Dunphy believes England will beat Croatia and gives Belgium "a great chance" against France in the World Cup semi-finals.

"I don't rate the French that highly" he told 2fm's Game On ahead of the first World Cup semi-final (Live on RTÉ2 from 6pm).

"They struggled against Denmark and beat Uruguay, without Cavani, quite unimpressively.

"I think the central defensive parternship of Umtiti and Varane is very vulnerable. Is Paul Pogba going to win a World Cup winners' medal? I don't think so.

"France don't have a Hazard, a De Bruyne or a Lukaku, or a Fellaini, who played really well (against Brazil)."

Dunphy does have concerns about the 4-3-3 formation Belgium manager Roberton Martinez employed in the surprise victory over the South Americans.

"I think Belgium have a great chance of beating them.

"But if they play three up top, it's not wise. They may get away with it, they did against Brazil, but you can't play in the semi-final of the World Cup with seven defenders against 10 attackers.

"I thought it was crazy. Thierry Henry must have come up with it, and knowing his punditry on Sky I wouldn't be surprised, but it's not a great plan to leave Lukaku, Hazard and De Bruyne up there and they don't have to chase back."

Dunphy added that he thought England were "a certainty" to defeat Croatia on Wednesday night.

Gareth Southgate's men were not high on the list of pre-tournament favourites but knockout victories over Colombia and Sweden have left them one win from a first final appearance since 1966.

"Croatia will be very tired," said Dunphy. "They've gone to two extra-times, and if you have to go to extra-time against Russia...

"Modric was very good but Rakitic was absent. England will beat them."

The former Ireland international would be backing an English triumph if France were to come through rather than Belgium.

"If France go to the final against England, I think England will beat them.

"I don't think France will be able to defend the setpieces whereas Belgium have three mighty central defenders: Alderwereild, Kompany and Vertonghen.

"England have every chance of being in the final. They should beat Croatia. And if it's France I think they'll win it."


 

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