Balaise Matuidi back in France's only change for semis

Olivier Giroud snubs Chelsea teammate when naming World Cup's best

Olivier Giroud snubs Chelsea teammate when naming World Cup's best

"For us to finally be able to knock out a formidable opponent is because of the experience we've picked up at previous tournaments and also the development of our players at their clubs", Vermaelen said.

Chelsea and Les Blues striker Giroud has admitted that while he has massive respect for France legend Henry, but he also revealed that he will be eager to get one over on Henry when the two continental neighbours face off in the Saint Petersburg Stadium. I try and force myself to speak up.

The irony of Thierry Henry, one of France's all-time soccer greats, plotting his own country's downfall at the World Cup in Russian Federation has not been lost on his former teammate Didier Deschamps, who calls it a freakish situation. It's a really tough game to call but I don't see it going to extra-time as these two will be both going all-out attack.

Nacer Chadli was Belgium's unlikely match-winner from the bench in their 3-2 last-16 win over Japan, earning a start at left wing-back for the quarter-final beating of Brazil that kept confidence coursing through the Red Devils squad. "If you are scared, you will not play at 100 per cent".

In an arguable parallel with Pogba, De Bruyne was shackled by a deep-lying midfield role earlier in the competition. If the Manchester City man can produce more of the same France are in for a long night.

Giroud can score - his 31 career goals are tied with Zinedine Zidane for fourth place on the Bleus' all-time scoring list - but history shows that France doesn't need its center forward to score if it wants to win its second World Cup title.

Aman: The 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation reaches new levels of excitement as two favorites clash head on in the first semi-final match. "We just hope he doesn't beat us in this semi-final".

Eden Hazard was a lively presence on Belgium's right, dragging a shot wide and Toby Alderweireld forced a smart save from Hugo Lloris while at the other end Olivier Giroud flicked a header narrowly wide.

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