Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sport | By

History beckons as France take on Belgium

History beckons as France take on Belgium

As the semi-finals battle kicks off in the ongoing FIFA World Cup to decide the two finalists for the July 15 showdown at the Luzhniki Stadium, the four combatants must first slug it out for the two available slots in the grand finale.

"It might be a bit hard for him but he´s working for Belgium now, he wants us to win".

"It's a group of people who share a vision of making Belgian football proud and achieving something important and these players have done that".

The oracle cat will make the prediction in the Hermitage by selecting a plate with food marked with the national flag of either France or Belgium. "But we are not going to forget the others since France has a very complete attacking pattern".

Belgium's foray into the last four of a World Cup was a long-time coming, the country's golden generation of footballers hoping to improve upon their Maradona-orchestrated semi-final loss 32 years ago. But with the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and rising star Kylian Mbappe, the team is not short of talent. Not only they are set to take on one of the top European sides at the moment, but this will also be their tougher opponent in quite a while.

"Geographically, we share a border", France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said at the pre-match news conference on Monday. One thing Deschamps has got right is not trying to cram the best players into a system, instead finding the best combination of players in France's attack.

But Roberto Martinez's men really put a statement out in their 2-1 victory, with Kevin De Bruyne finally arriving on the world stage with a rasping effort to double the lead in the first half. On each of those occasions the tournament has been hosted in Europe.

Also in contention are Croatia and England, who meet in Moscow on Wednesday. They play according to the situation.

'He has not told me what he is going to do, ' shrugged the Manchester City player. He is an obvious, natural role model for any forward, and the ideal one for, say, a precious, strong pacey striker who, like him, was born on the outskirts of Paris, and, like him, served his apprenticeship at Monaco and, like him, scored crucial goals to galvanise a World Cup campaign. Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for the win over Sweden and social media is awash with videos of excited fans watching on big screens in bars and parks, fanatically celebrating every England goal.

Griezmann has seven goals in his last six tournament knockout matches and nine goals and three assists in the World Cup and European Championship.

He said: "I am not the manager, nor am I the assistant manager". I thought it was fantastic how he did it, how he worked it out and how the players did it.

Croatia, who boast Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic in a strong midfield, emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

As is the case in the geographic sense, in which France and Belgium share a border, there's no apparent distance between the teams.

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