Follow the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium

France's coach Didier Deschamps looks on during a training session

England´s coach Gareth Southgate (R) and England´s forward Harry Kane celebrate after winning during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018.

They rank 17th in the tournament for touches inside the penalty area (12.53 per game), and only 25.7% of their shots are on target, the seventh lowest in the World Cup.

In the years since, France have won one World Cup and one European Championship, and lost the 2006 World Cup final.

The only difference being is that France have history to live up to.

- Why has World Cup been full of surprises?

"It's peculiar because there are many players on my team who will be facing their own club team mates".

"Geographically, we share a border", France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said at the pre-match news conference on Monday.

Beyond the geographical and linguistic ties, many of these players also know each other intimately from the Premier League. We need to rise to challenge and keep doing what we've been doing. "They are an adversary with great quality and there will be hard moments so we have be ready to suffer in order to reach the final".

In front of Courtois at the back, Belgium have the experience of lynchpin Vincent Kompany who, even when questions linger over his fitness, brings a calm and composure to those around him.

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France vs Belgium Start Time & Odds
With Eden Hazard pulling the strings and Romelu Lukaku providing the firepower, Belgium have what it takes to beat France . Martinez signed a new two-year deal as coach before the World Cup while Henry has not yet accepted an offer to continue.

Star forward Eden Hazard is known for his attacking prowess, but he also is an outlet for Belgium's defence.

With the starting XI more or less picking itself, the only dilemma in Deschamps' mind would be the left midfield position.

Kevin De Bruyne and the aforementioned Kante sit in midfield.

There are no injury concerns for Belgium but Thomas Meunier will be missing the game. Henry had just helped France to its only World Cup title and Griezmann, who could barely reach the player's waist on tippy-toes, wanted an autograph. "Each player would be defending his colours".

Thierry Henry has never been slow coming forward - on or off the field - but the unusual thing is that he has only ever given one interview in his role as what the Belgian FA call "the second assistant" to manager Roberto Martinez.

Giroud suggested Henry's real aim is to learn enough to earn a spot on the French coaching staff some day. It is a tactic that has become a hallmark of both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur over the last two years.

Seven weeks ago, players and coaching team started working together at the base camp with the same objective: Their potential as players would be of use only if they could create a collective soul that would be stronger than any individual attempt.

As World Cup fever builds at home, England are avoiding the hype as the coach Gareth Southgate prepares his team in their tranquil base near Saint Petersburg for their first semi-final since 1990. Anyway, it is the Spaniard and long-term ally Jones who run the show, with Henry decorating the fringes on a relatively modest salary of around £100,000 a year that he is said to donate to charity.

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