World Cup semifinal: France vs Belgium
Venue: Krestovsky Stadium
Kick off: 7pm
A place in the World Cup final is at stake when European heavyweights France and Belgium meet for the 74th time in all competitions at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
France, who have won their two previous World Cup meetings with Belgium, booked their place in the last four with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay.
Captain Hugo Lloris feels his side are ready for the challenge of taking on a Belgian side who “know how to do everything”.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Lloris said: “They are an exhaustive team, they know how to do everything. I think the Belgian team is the most exhaustive team in all aspects of the game during this tournament – they are strong everywhere. They have everything they need to be a great team and they are a great team.
“It is a fantastic generation and in order to beat them we will have to play a great match. We know there are going to be difficult moments, and we’ll have to be ready to suffer. But we will be ready because we have an extremely good state of mind, and it is the semi-finals in the World Cup. It is an opportunity in our careers and we have to grab it with both hands.”
France striker Olivier Giroud is aiming to show Belgium assistant coach Thierry Henry he has chosen the wrong camp.
France are making their sixth appearance in the World Cup semi-finals and have reached the final in 1998 and 2006, while this is only Belgium’s second appearance in the World Cup semi-finals, losing to eventual winners Argentina in 1986.
Kevin De Bruyne has praised Belgium boss Roberto Martinez for instilling the belief in his team that they can win the World Cup.
“I think he has built on the potential of the team,” the Manchester City midfielder said. “This team have been playing together for seven or eight years and I think he has brought us tighter together with more belief in winning it.
“Maybe in the other two – the (last) World Cup and the European Championship, some players did not have the belief yet of winning it.”