Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

France take on Belgium for a place in the final

Croatia at centre of World Cup cover-up as Fifa admit secret let-off over fans' fascist banners Credit Getty Images
Cassandra Castillo | 10 July, 2018, 22:23

Of the 73 meetings between the teams, Belgium have won 30 and France 24, with 19 draws between them, although if Belgium are to reach their first World Cup final they will have to do so by beating France at the tournament for the first time.

Belgium will be without Thomas Meunier who is the only man to be banned for either semi-final thanks to his two bookings against Panama and Brazil.

Will Eden Hazard want France to beat Belgium?

Didier Deschamps side ground out narrow victories against Australia and Peru before playing out a boring 0-0 draw with Denmark - the only goalless draw of the tournament thus far. Kylian Mbappe is the standout but N'Golo Kante is probably their most important player.

"It's a super exciting game with great players on both sides", France defender Benjamin Pavard said. Goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann proved to be the difference, earning France a semi-final spot for the first time since 2006.

Belgium produced what was heralded as a coming of age performance against Brazil in the quarter-final, blowing the five-time winners away with a display of attacking verve that was mixed with grit and resilience in defence.

In the European Championship final two years ago, France lost to Portugal 1-0.

More news: Pride chiefs slam anti-trans protestors who 'hijacked' London march

The Belgians, often said to now have a "golden generation" of players, have looked impressive during their run at the tournament, which included a 2-1 victory over Brazil in the last eight. Get in the game with SportPesa and make YOUR predictions count! Henry's old global colleague Didier Deschamps has not won over everybody in his time as France coach, as he continues to favour a cautious approach despite being able to call on some of the finest attacking talents in world football.

The Golden Generation label seemed to hang like a millstone around the team's neck at previous tournaments, with quarter-final exits at the last World Cup and at Euro 2016. France were defeated by West Germany whilst Belgium fell victim to the brilliance of Diego Maradona and Argentina. Jan Ceulemans opened the scoring for Belgium 11 minutes in, before France levelled with a strike from Jean-Marc Ferreri. They come in to the match on the back of an impressive, if somewhat nervy, victory over Brazil in the last round and the Spanish boss believes their preparations are starting to pay off.

Sports Illustrated: "Calling this one is immensely hard".

Both sides are no mugs defensively, but they have each made a habit out of conceding as this tournament has progressed. France welcome back midfielder Blaise Matuidi after suspension.

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.

However, this apparent inexperience must not be mistaken for The Red Devils' weakness. He constantly repeats, to anyone who asks, that France never offered him a role.

Recommended

  • Trump says 'up to the people' whether to back Prime Minister May

    Trump says 'up to the people' whether to back Prime Minister May

    Referring to Monday's planned summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Mr Trump added: "And I have Putin. Trump spoke after European Council President Donald Tusk addressed him in a statement, saying: "Appreciate your allies".
    Mulk actor Taapsee Pannu is disturbed, here’s the reason why

    Mulk actor Taapsee Pannu is disturbed, here’s the reason why

    The trailer talks about the struggle and problems faced by Muslim families due to their religion. Directed by Anubhav Sinha, "Mulk" also stars Rajat Kapoor, Manoj Pahwa and Neena Gupta.
    Many injured as plane crashes in S Africa

    Many injured as plane crashes in S Africa

    South African emergency medical service ER24 posted photographs on its Twitter feed of passengers being rescued from the crash. At least 20 people have been injured after a plane crashed in Pretoria, paramedics confirmed on Tuesday.
  • Caroline Flack and Andrew Brady split - three months after getting engaged

    Caroline Flack and Andrew Brady split - three months after getting engaged

    Caroline had reportedly hoped to deal with the break up in private, and was unhappy that Andrew revealed their news online. Unfortunately it was not to be. "Unfortunately it was not meant to be and I wish her all the best in the future".
    Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid to join Italian club Juventus

    Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid to join Italian club Juventus

    The Portuguese is now on holiday in Greece, but was reportedly paid a visit by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli on Tuesday. He also won multiple league titles with United, as well as the Champions League in 2008.
    YouTube invests $25 million on improving news

    YouTube invests $25 million on improving news

    YouTube also has begun testing features that distribute local news in the YouTube app for connected TVs across 25 media markets in the U.S.
  • Fernando Torres set to snub A-League in favour of MLS move

    Fernando Torres set to snub A-League in favour of MLS move

    Torres added: "I've always been treated really well in Asia and Sagan Tosu have made a great effort and I'm very grateful". They finished eighth last season, but are mired in a relegation battle halfway through the current campaign.
    Pacers Sign Kyle O'Quinn

    Pacers Sign Kyle O'Quinn

    The goal for the Knicks is to add another high draft pick that can be used to turn around the team's fortunes. That tells you something about what he thought about the Knicks in 2018-2019.
    May's new cabinet meet amid chaos as Gove backs PM

    May's new cabinet meet amid chaos as Gove backs PM

    In March 2017, some 54% trusted her to get the best Brexit deal possible and just 33% did not trust her. Boris Johnson has resigned as the British foreign secretary, according to several media reports.
  • Matt Le Tissier's plan for England to reach the World Cup final

    Matt Le Tissier's plan for England to reach the World Cup final

    Maguire, however, insists that the Three Lions are mainly focused on themselves. Eight teams are seeded on each side of the bracket.
    Kenedy 'agrees' Newcastle return

    Kenedy 'agrees' Newcastle return

    The Daily Mail report Chelsea are keen to allow Kenedy more first-team opportunities and Newcastle can provide that opportunity. But Kenedy would still prefer Newcastle for there he could play a full season on the pitch rather than on the bench.
    Heart Meds Recalled In UK, EU, For Possible Cancer Link

    Heart Meds Recalled In UK, EU, For Possible Cancer Link

    The health risk of abruptly discontinuing this medicine is higher than any potential risk presented by the impurity. This active substance is used in a number of medicines marketed in Europe.

Angus Gunn joins Southampton on a permanent deal Angus Gunn joins Southampton on a permanent deal Gunn will leave Manchester City with Ederson, Claudio Bravo, Daniel Grimshaw as the remaining first-team goalkeepers for the blue side of Manchester.

Gianluigi Buffon debuted vs George Weah, now he's his son's team-mate Gianluigi Buffon debuted vs George Weah, now he's his son's team-mate Yet one mindblowing aspect of the new chapter in Buffon's storied career is he is training alongside Weah's son, Timothy. He made 176 appearances for Italy - a European record - and was voted Serie A's goalkeeper of the year 12 times.

Green Day's 'American Idiot' climbs British charts ahead of Donald Trump visit Protesters have been using iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify and YouTube, among others, to stream and download the song.

China: Nobel Laureate's Widow Released He was a writer, critic and activist who called for political reforms and an end to one-party rule in China. Ye said he was also very happy for Liu Xia, adding that he hoped she could now make her health a priority.

Princess Charlotte Adorably Salutes the Royal Air Force Princess Charlotte Adorably Salutes the Royal Air Force Prince Louis's proud grandpa, Prince Charles , matched his sons with a navy suit and blue tie however, he went with a pink shirt. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Louis outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London .

Amesbury Incident: Charlie Rowley conscious Amesbury Incident: Charlie Rowley conscious On Monday, Basu said Sturgess and Rowley received a high dose of novichok after handling a container containing the nerve agent. A bus that Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley used the night before they collapsed has also tested negative for the deadly agent.

McClean facing disciplinary proceedings at West Brom McClean facing disciplinary proceedings at West Brom West Bromwich Albion will fine James McClean after the Ireland worldwide failed to report for their pre-season camp in Scotland. New Stoke boss Gary Rowett tried and failed to capture McClean in January when he was the manager at Derby County.

Egypt rejects French findings fire caused passenger jet crash Egypt rejects French findings fire caused passenger jet crash Sixty-six passengers and crew died when the flight from Paris to Cairo came down over the eastern Mediterranean. The chances of an attack were "higher than the possibility of a technical [failure]".

Line-call controversy mars Dominika Cibulkova’s progress to quarter-finals Line-call controversy mars Dominika Cibulkova’s progress to quarter-finals The umpire awarded the point to Cibulkova, even though Hsieh had actually scrambled her return back. When I feel like this is something that should not happen, I would be maybe sympathy with her.

New weapon against drivers using mobile phones launched in Norfolk New roadside technology is being introduced to deter motorists from using mobile phones at the wheel, it will be announced today. The UK's first road signs which will electronically detect and warn drivers who are using mobile phones have been introduced.

When to watch today's RAF centenary display The Queen will be among members of the royal family attending a day of events to celebrate the RAF's centenary. The RAF was founded at the height of the First World...

Green Day's 'American Idiot' Tops UK Charts Ahead Of Trump's Visit Green Day's 'American Idiot' Tops UK Charts Ahead Of Trump's Visit Despite attempts to use the song to spite President Trump , " American Idiot " is actually inspired by former president George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and features lyrics criticizing the media - one of President Trump's most famous enemies.

Manchester United Agree Terms With £53m Brazilian Star Manchester United Agree Terms With £53m Brazilian Star He would certainly want to play in the Premier League and has already accrued interest from Manchester United and Liverpool. Tottenham, Chelsea and Juventus have all been linked with a move for Martial, but the forward is yet to make a move.

Respect in equal measure as France and Belgium vie for final spot Respect in equal measure as France and Belgium vie for final spot Marouane Fellaini, who has oft-partnered Pogba in the United midfield, will now be looking to stop the powerful Frenchman. Tuesday's match will be the third time France and Belgium have met in a World Cup; France won both previous meetings.

George Clooney hurt in motorcycle crash in Italy, report says Actor George Clooney was injured on Tuesday when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle in Sardinia, Italian news media reported. Clooney was traveling on a state road in Costa Corallina, a province of Olbia, when the crash occurred, Italy's TGCOM24 reported.