Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Inside knowledge abounds as France and Belgium meet in semifinals

Inside knowledge abounds as France and Belgium meet in semifinals

"At the time, there wasn't the jersey of Belgium, that's why we wore the one of France".

Defender Samuel Umtiti's goal from a corner sends France through to the World Cup final.

'Quite simply, I think Belgium is the most complete side in the tournament, in all aspects of the game, ' the 31-year-old Lloris said Monday.' They defend well.

"Vive la France! Vive la Republique!"

ST PETERSBURG: France's Antoine Griezmann (front) and team-mates practise on Monday at the St Petersburg Stadium.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne make up a potent three-man attack.

It all means Deschamps and his support staff will have being doing some second-guessing about how Belgium's attacking players will approach Tuesday's challenge, motivated by the lure of a first World Cup final.

Deschamps will also be happy to see Blaise Matuidi back in contention after he missed the quarter-final due to suspension.

A year later, again in Brussels, the match wasn't so close, with the hosts annihilating the French 7-0. Zidane was sent off in what was his final match.

Henry, France's all-time top scorer, and second-most-capped player after Lilian Thuram, is trying to help Martinez mastermind a win over his own nation.

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Up in the corporate seats, French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the goal by shaking the hand of King Philippe of Belgium as Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino watched on between them.

France and Belgium will face each other on July 10 in Saint Petersburg for the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match.

In search of the equalizer, Belgium repeatedly sent over crosses from both wings but Umtiti and Varane, both centre backs, used their bodies cleverly to hold off Fellaini and Lukaku. Henry may have a confined role, but he is part of an admired coaching team, led by Martinez, who have been tactically dynamic in the tournament, sometimes in adversity, as when substitutions rescued a 2-0 deficit against Japan; sometimes very proactively, when some radical changes, in formation and deployment of key players, underpinned a famous victory, against Brazil in the last eight.

While many England fans are surprised by the unheralded team´s progress, midfielder Dele Alli says the squad always believed they could go far.

You can stream every World Cup match on fuboTV (Try for free).

Yet while Hazard - Belgium's captain - faded after a strong opening 30 minutes, Mbappe was a constant threat. He beat his defender in the midfield before sliding a pinpoint throughball down the center for Mbappe to run onto, only for Thibaut Courtois to come racing off his line and claim the ball at the edge of the box first.

But it was one moment in the game in particular that impressed Murphy.

Belgium have undeniably been the standout side in the tournament, scoring a total of 14 goals in five matches.

Along with the French and Gabonese presidents and the king and queen of Belgium, there was rock "n" roll royalty watching the game.

Rock superstar Jagger seemed to not be getting much satisfaction when the camera panned into the stands at St. Petersburg Stadium, located on the city's Krestovsky Island, tucked away under a dark cap.

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