France beat Belgium's 'golden generation' to reach World Cup final

Jose Verdugo
Julio 11, 2018

Roberto Martinez's swashbuckling Belgium side head into Tuesday's semi-final with familiar foes France as the World Cup's leading scorers, but their old rivals have evolved as the tournament has progressed and will also be full of confidence.

France's players danced on the field after the final whistle and their fans sang in the stands long past the end of the match, surrounded by yellow-clad security.

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

The teams have met 73 times before with Belgium winning on 30 occasions, France 24, and 19 matches drawn.

"I think England is fresher, has younger players, had a easy group phase, where they play two easy match and the match against Belgium they change every player".

Modric was superb against Russian Federation, once again putting in a man-of-the-match performance to drag Croatia to the semi-finals.

"But he did know that, from the time he was joining the management team and becoming assistant to Martinez, that could happen". Despite an unimaginably deep pool of talent to call upon, he's never figured out how to get the best from his team on a regular basis.

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"That happened what we could expect - one goal would win it, and one goal would create some reaction and that happened", two-time Champions League victor Mourinho said. "If you are going to have to lose such a match, which is bearable, it is the manner in which our players lost, pushing for everything, trying everything until the final whistle".

Striker Romelu Lukaku has four goals and an assist in his four games and has drawn praise for his unselfish play. "That's the quality that he has".

Deschamps, coach at Euro 2016 and captain of the 1998 World Cup winners, suggested as much. With Thomas Meunier suspended for Belgium, France could attack through the left flank which could free up space for Mbappe on the right. "I would have preferred to have Henry on our side, to give me and the other French forwards advice, but I am not too jealous". Will they do something similar against us?

"Maybe he'll sing La Marseillaise, which I would find normal", said De Bruyne.

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. Having already lived up to their pre-tournament billing as World Cup contenders, France and Belgium seek to move to within touching distance of their ultimate goal at the expense of their next-door neighbors.

In 29 matches for France, both in the underage sides and the seniors, Pavard has not lost a game. The Red Devils have equaled their best World Cup in history - they also reached the semi-finals in Mexico 1986 - but now the team wants more.

With England or Croatia awaiting, the victor of this one will go in to Sunday's final as the favorites.

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