Belgium are in uncharted territory for their World Cup semi-final with France but believe their team spirit and togetherness can ensure they carry on their extraordinary journey in Russian Federation, manager Roberto Martinez has said.
Instead of playing Sunday in Moscow for its first World Cup, Belgium will be back in St. Petersburg on Saturday, playing in the third-place match and wondering if its championship window has closed.
France advanced to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final after beating Belgium 1-0 in the semifinals at Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia Tuesday. We got in good one v one situations. Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep.
The match was a fascinating tactical battle, with France content to surrender possession and looking to use Kylian Mbappe's pace to hurt Belgium on the counter-attack. On the other side, the Red Devils will be without Thomas Meunier who picked up the 2nd booking against Brazil. France came back from a 1-2 deficit against Argentina, while Belgium turned an 0-2 defeat into a 3-2 win over Japan.
Mbappe, Hazard and Neymar were identified as the most likely targets and after his performance in the World Cup semi-final, the exceptional French youngster seems like the ideal fit for Ronaldo's shoes.More news: Hosts revert to 4-2-3-1
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Roberto Martinez's swashbuckling Belgium side head into Tuesday's semi-final with familiar foes France as the World Cup's leading scorers, but their old rivals have evolved as the tournament has progressed and will also be full of confidence.
Having gained the lead, France showed the defensive nous to nullify the threat from Belgium's Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, closing out the game for a win that sent them to their second straight major tournament final, following their loss to Portugal in Euro 2016.
Deschamps, the captain of that famous 1998 squad, now has the chance to become the third person to win the World Cup as a player and a coach, after Germany great Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil's Mario Zagallo. "For him tomorrow it could be a bit hard, but he works for Belgium now, he wants us to win". I don't think it's a case of us not being focused enough.
Lukaku has enjoyed a great World Cup so far - following on from scoring 27 goals in his first season with Manchester United. "We were all happy, all hugging", Mbappe said.
"We played together as team-mates and he was much younger and I was at the end of my career".