SAEED KHAN/Getty Images
The first semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup takes place on Tuesday, with France and Belgium set to clash at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Russia.
The game will feature plenty of talented attackers and has the potential to be one of the most exciting games of the competition.
The winners will progress to Sunday’s final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow to face either Croatia or England, while the losers will play in the third-place play-off on Saturday.
Date: Tuesday, July 10
Time: 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
TV Info: ITV 1 (UK), Fox (U.S.)
France have improved as the tournament has progressed and go into the game as slight favourites. Les Bleus topped Group C without really convincing, but knockout-stage wins over Argentina and Uruguay have enhanced their credentials as serious contenders.
Didier Deschamps has one of the strongest squads in the tournament, and it’s difficult to find a weakness in his team.
Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane have formed a solid partnership in central defence; Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante have been strong in midfield; and Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud offer a pacy and well-balanced attack.
Mbappe has given France a scare ahead of the game, but Deschamps is confident he will be fit, per Goal’s Robin Bairner:
Robin Bairner @RBairner
#Mbappe missed #FRA training today but Deschamps has said “everyone will be available” for #BEL semi-final tomorrow.
France also have a good record over Belgium at major tournaments as they have won all three previous meetings.
However, they will take on a Red Devils squad that is widely regarded as one of the most talented they have ever possessed.
The team has yet to make a mark on a major tournament, but beating Brazil to reach the semi-finals will have instilled belief they can win the biggest prize of all.
Belgium managed to deny Neymar last time out, but they must now do the same with Mbappe who dismantled Argentina in the last 16.
Roberto Martinez has plenty of attacking options with Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku all expected to start, and they will cause the French defence problems.
Bleacher Report’s Gianni Verschueren showed what happened the last time the two countries met:
Gianni Verschueren @ReverschPass
The last time Belgium and France met, the Red Devils beat Les Bleus 4-3 in Paris. I don’y think my heart could take such a spectacle again #worldcup #BELBRA
France and Belgium are seen as the strongest teams left in the competition, which means the winner of Tuesday’s match will head into the final as favourites to be crowned world champions.