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France vs Belgium: Advantage Griezmann, despite one less goal than Lukaku?

July 10, 2018 By Michelle Bonsu
Romelu Lukaku may have more goals, but Antoine Griezmann just may come out on top in this crunch tie between Belgium and France.

In just a few hours, the first of two semi-finals will kick off, and it is sure to be a real feast for the eyes.

France and Belgium lock horns in a mouth-watering tussle that will feature stars from the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, and La Liga. The vast majority of the players in the starting XI are all household names - starting from the men between the posts all the way up to those responsible for leading the line.

Two such players will be Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku. Both the Atletico Madrid ace and the Manchester United star have been protagonists for their respective sides, and both will be gunning for a coveted chance to feature in the World Cup final.

Having opened their respective accounts, both Griezmann and Lukaku are also hoping to become candidates for the Golden Shoe, albeit Harry Kane, who has six goals so far is the natural prime contender for the big individual prize.

To date, Griezmann has netted three goals, while Lukaku has found the back of the net on four occasions. Both have also recorded one assist, so with that basic stat in mind, one may be tempted to say it is "advantage Lukaku" heading into this contest as he has been involved in five goals for Belgium versus the four for Griezmann.

However, that may not be the case. Why? Two crucial things to note. First, France has netted nine goals. Three of these were in the group stages, and six during Les Bleus' wins over South American giants Argentina and Uruguay. By contrast, Belgium scored a whopping nine during the group stage campaign, and five more to send both Japan and Brazil margin to make it 14 so far at this summer's World Cup.

Griezmann has thus been directly involved in four out of France's nine goals, or 44.4% of his team's total. Lukaku, on the other hand, has been directly involved in five out of Belgium's 14 goals, or 35.7% of his team's total output.

One does not need to be a math whiz to know that 44.4% is greater than 35.7%. Furthermore, it is the nature of the goals that perhaps also gives Griezmann another advantage over Lukaku - despite scoring one fewer goal than his attacking counterpart.

The 27-year-old, who has scored two penalties can boast one thing that Lukaku can't: He has netted in the knockout stages of this summer's tournament. All four of Lukaku's goals were during the group stage, whereas Griezmann converted a spot-kick to put France 1-0 up against Argentina in the round of 16 and added another to seal Les Bleus' victory over Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

Furthermore, his brilliant long-range effort effectively put the clash with Uruguay to bed as it ensured France was 2-0 up and provided his side with the insurance goal they needed to march on to the semi-finals.

Lukaku, by contrast, failed to find the back of the net against Japan in a rather disappointing display and was subbed off against Brazil despite putting in a solid shift.

So with those two figures in mind - percentage of involvement and already having scored in the vital knockout rounds - Griezmann looks set to come out on top here, with two goals at this juncture versus Lukaku's zero.

But then again, feel free to have a look at some numbers and decide for yourself.

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