Mixed World Cup emotions for French legend Henry

2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: France vs Belgium

2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: France vs Belgium

This tournament marks the culmination of a "golden generation" for the Belgians, featuring a roster replete with stars like Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

Long considered the a lesser footballing nation than its neighbour the Netherlands - whose orange-clad teams have reached three World Cup finals and lost them all - this Belgium team has at least dispelled the Dutch shadow.

There will be no first World Cup final for the Red Devils, and instead they must now try to lift themselves for the third-place play-off, back in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, against the loser of Wednesday's semi-final between England and Croatia.

The Barcelona man's 51st-minute winning header made him the third French defender to score at this tournament. Les Bleus have only lost once in the a year ago while their World Cup knockout-stage record is very impressive: 10 wins from 12 games, and the 1998 World Champions have been installed as the 6/4 favourites to win in 90 minutes and 3/4 frontrunners to qualify.

Mbappe has arguably been the best young player at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Mbappe was lethal in France's 4-3 Round of 16 win over Argentina, using his pace to devastating effect, but Martinez said his side would not make the mistake of focusing exclusively on one player.

France advanced to the semifinals after beating Uruguay 2-0 in the quarterfinals, while Belgium advanced to the semifinals after ousting Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

The French danced on the field after the final whistle and shook the hand of Thierry Henry, who helped Les Bleus win the World Cup in 1998 but had been hoping to eliminate his native country as Belgium's assistant coach.

Belgium is tournament's top scorer so far with 14 goals.

The victor of France vs Belgium will take on the victor of tomorrow's England vs Croatia game.

"That was the difference, but if you're going to lose, I'm so proud of the players".

France coach Didier Deschamps agrees Henry will be in a tough spot at the St Petersburg Stadium. The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore.

"I do not care about the Ballon d'Or, I want the World Cup".

France controlled the early tempo of the game but Belgium had more possession in the earlier stages.

It was a fascinating first half and all that was missing was a goal but one came soon after the break.

Belgium showcased their ability to turn defence into attack as Jan Vertonghen won the ball and linked up with De Bruyne. Marouane Fellaini was also slow to react when Umtiti scored with a near-post header.

Oleffe would only say: "For me honestly, the best team must win, nothing else". The referee waved play on when Giroud upended Hazard on the edge of the box before Witsel tested Lloris' alertness with a swerving effort on 81 minutes.

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