France and Belgium battle for place in World Cup final


France No 1 Hugo Lloris also played with Henry towards the end of his worldwide career, and reckons the 40-year-old could be in for an emotional ride in St Petersburg.

Both teams have overcome hard South American opposition to reach the last four.

France, a one-time World Cup champion, and Belgium face off in Saint Petersburg for a spot in the final, where they'll play either Croatia or England on Sunday in Moscow.

"With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with '98", Hazard is quoted by the Evening Standard.

There was less at stake the last time the teams last went head-to-head at the World Cup, a 4-2 victory for France in the third-place match in 1986.

France defeated Uruguay 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals for the first time in 12 years, when they were runners-up in Germany.

"We know them, they know us", France coach Didier Deschamps, who was a key part of the French team that won the World Cup in 1998, told reporters in a pre-match media conference.

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It didn't take long for someone to get a Harry Potter reference in there, either. And in a rather dramatic fashion, news broke mid-way through the interview.

Vertonghen is an experienced campaigner and seen as one of Belgium's most dependable players.

"It is a hard situation for him".

But if Belgium wins it will be Henry who will profit in his role as an assistant coach to manager Roberto Martinez. The youngster's pace, power, skill and clinical finishing has seen him compared to the likes of Thierry Henry and the Brazilian Ronaldo. Lukaku scored United's only goal of the tie, but was often isolated from his teammates, while Pogba was not in the starting lineup for either game.

"The feeling after scoring that goal was unbelievable, but then so was the feeling after the match against Brazil".

"We've strived to be as good as we could be at worldwide level and it's taken us two years to get there".

After a training session that had both rain and sunshine, Martinez, born in Spain, takes a few minutes to share his thoughts and feelings ahead of a game that could be one of the last two steps toward football heaven.

"He's a different player now, and he will be a star for the next 15 years. That's the quality that he has".

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The video of her celebration in the VIP box in front of a visibly sad Russian PM has gone viral over social media. Stick to what you're doing, I'm behind you", he added.

"Quite simply, I think Belgium is the most complete side in the tournament, in all aspects of the game".

While England literarily strolled through their match against Sweden, they look favoured to win the highly anticipated match.

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

"England was one of the favourites for me for the tournament because they have a young and hungry team with no big, global stars, so it won´t be easy for us".

Both Belgium and France will battle it out for a place in the World Cup final, where the victor will face either England or Croatia next Sunday.

Now he is the talisman in a Belgium team who have won all five games in Russian Federation so far and are undefeated in 24 matches, although as a boy he idolised Zinedine Zidane.

Deschamps said: "We were team-mates but he jumped on the right train and I'm delighted for him". He did not play in the final at the Stade de France, but was in the team which won the European Championship final against Italy two years later in Rotterdam. However, Croatia are still one of the least creative sides to have made the knockouts, largely because they are too reliant on the Real Madrid midfielder.

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Hurst said Ramsey rightly gets most of the credit for creating a "tremendous team spirit". "It really is. He said: "If I didn't say Harry was my favourite England player, I would be a fool".