Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

France vs Belgium, a short history

France vs Belgium, a short history

From a corner, the defender beat Belgium's Marouane Fellaini to the ball and expertly angled it into the back of the net with the side of his head for what would be the game's only goal. France - with an average age of 26 - will face either Croatia or England, who play Wednesday at the Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital, and has a shot at redemption after losing its last two major finals - at the 2006 World Cup when Zinedine Zidane was sent off for a nasty head-butt and the 2016 European Championship on home soil.

"With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with '98", Hazard said. France never looked particularly uncomfortable, though, and after 40 minutes of absorbing pressure, began to turn it on, testing the Belgian defense in the final minutes of the half.

'Every team plays with its strengths, our strength is playing football, and their strength is in defending and counter-attacks with (Kylian) Mbappe who is very fast, ' he continued.

"We played together as team-mates and he was much younger and I was at the end of my career".

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In France, sports shops were rapidly selling out of the national soccer strip on Tuesday as fans got ready for the semi-final showdown in St. Petersburg.

"But he did know that, from the time he was joining the management team and becoming assistant to Martinez, that this could happen".

The 19-year-old has three goals already at the tournament.

Martinez' men are the only side to have won all of their games in 90 minutes in Russian Federation and are the tournament's top scorers with 14 goals. The former Everton boss used a four-man back line against Brazil after using a three-man defense for the previous four matches. "I felt we started the second-half with a better tempo and were growing into the game when we conceded from a corner". That one goal makes the difference'.

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Samuel Umtiti was the match-winner for France, as they reached a third World Cup final in six tournaments thanks to a 1-0 victory over their local rivals. Romelu Lukaku overpowered or ran past most defenders in his path, and his assist to midfielder Kevin De Bruyne netted the eventual game-winning goal. "That's the quality that he has".

Belgium's chances of stopping their opponents are dented by the absence of suspended right back Thomas Meunier but Deschamps believes his charges are equally capable of adapting to any situation.

"Will they do something similar for us?"

France have no such selection issues and are nearly certain to stick with Stuttgart's Benjamin Pavard at right back after a string of impressive displays from the 22-year-old have made him one of the tournament's stand-out defenders. This is the team with the highest number of goals scored in the World Cup, 15, so far.

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"France was good at the basic things of the game".

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