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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

France 4-6 to lift World Cup for second time

Bookmakers braced for betting bonanza in second semi-final

Samuel Umtiti celebrates after scoring the winner for France against Belgium
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France are through to their third World Cup final in six tournaments and are 4-6 to lift the trophy 20 years on from their breakthrough success.

Samuel Umtiti was the hero for Les Bleus, scoring the only goal of the game six minutes into the second half of Tuesday’s semi-final against Belgium.

France had been narrow 31-20 favourites to win the game in 90 minutes and were 8-11 to qualify for the final. Didier Deschamps’ men were 13-2 shots at the start of the tournament while Belgium were well backed at 11-1.

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Spotlight on England

Belgium are still the top scorers in the tournament but could not find a way past Hugo Lloris, who produced a stunning first half save to deny Toby Alderweireld.

Lloris has been cut to 5-6 with bet365 to win the Golden Glove and Kylian Mbappe is the 11-8 favourite to win the Golden Ball after adding to his reputation with a superb second half performance.

Awaiting France in the final will be the winner of Wednesday's semi-final between England and Croatia, a fixture bookmakers believe could reach record levels of turnover.

Hills spokesman Joe Crilly said: “Turnover is set to go through the roof,” predicting a figure of more than £50m.

Most of the money is behind the Three Lions, who are attracting 65 per cent of wagers in the match result market and 56 per cent of ‘to qualify’ bets with the firm.

Bet365 are keeping their fingers crossed for a dull, low-scoring game.

Spokesman Steve Freeth said: “The worst-case scenario would be Kane scoring first in an England goal-fest or England winning from behind in-play.”

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Lloris has been cut to 5-6 with bet365 to win the Golden Glove and Kylian Mbappe is the 11-8 favourite to win the Golden Ball
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