2018 WORLD CUP SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: Belgium vs France

The semi-finals of the World Cup get underway on Tuesday evening with a mouthwatering clash which sees France take on Belgium in St Petersburg with both sides confident of making the final.

The reason for this confidence is due to how they have made it to this stage so far and the teams that they have beaten just to make it to this stage.

Didier Deschamp’s men, first of all, topped their group before facing the runners-up from four years ago, Argentina in the round of 16.

Les Bleus won an amazing last-16 tie 4-3 with Kylian Mbappe the star man on this occasion with his two fantastic goals.

France then went on to face Uruguay in the quarter-finals, who had knocked out Portugal, and managed to come through a tough game 2-0 with the goals being scored by Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

On the other hand, Belgium are finally starting to show their true potential as they have reached this stage of the competition by winning all of their games to date.

Under the leadership of Roberto Martinez and with so many talented players, Belgium topped their group with three wins from three, before going on to face Japan in the last 16 stage.

The Red Devils showed their fighting quality as they fell 2-0 down to Japan before scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes of the game to win 3-2 – substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli were on the scoresheet.

Belgium then went on to face the favourites to lift the World Cup Brazil in the quarter-finals and they showed their quality by winning the game 2-1.

The Red Devils goal scorers in the game were Kevin de Bruyne and an own goal from Fernandinho before Renato Augusto got a goal back late on for the Brazilians.

This fixture between these two teams is the 74th meeting,  with Belgium claiming 30 wins to France’s 24, with the other 20 being drawn.

The most recent fixture between the sides was back in 2015 when Belgium won 4-3 in a friendly with Marouane Fellaini scoring two on the day in a thriller of a game.

The good news for Deschamp is that Blaise Matuidi is available again for this match after he missed the last game due to suspension and is likely to head back into the starting eleven for the game.

That though is likely to be the only change and everything else is likely to stay the same as the French continue to their quest to make amends for their crushing European Championship Final defeat to Portugal two years ago.

France predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud.

Martinez will have to make one change to his starting eleven as Thomas Meunier will miss the game due to suspension and that means that Yannick Carrasco is likely to come into the team to replace him.

Belgium predicted XI (3-4-3): Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Chadli, Witsel, Fellaini, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku