Belgian sights firmly set on World Cup victory, says defender Vermaelen

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

Belgium's forwards are receiving similarly sage words from France great Thierry Henry, who is a key member of Roberto Martinez's backroom team.

France and Belgium have clashed on the field for more than 120 years, but on Tuesday, in the World Cup semifinal in Saint Petersburg, the stakes will be higher than ever before.

France progressed to the semi's following a 2-nil victory over Colombia and head coach Didier Deschamps will be hoping his charges maintain the positive momentum in what is expected to be an exciting match up against Belgium.

"When France were world champions in 1998", Giroud said on Sunday, "I think [Christophe] Dugarry scored one goal and [Stephane] Guivarc'h not at all".

Kevin De Bruyne admits he hadn't even heard of Kylian Mbappe just 16 months ago as he prepares to face France's star striker in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final. "But he is someone I really appreciate, I'm happy for him". "Maybe it will be a more hard match than against Brazil".

Croatia’s latest ‘golden generation’ finally shining at World Cup
England trio Harry Kane , Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire are looking to guide their side to only their second World Cup final. In 2002, 2006 and 2014 they were eliminated in the group stages, and they failed to qualify for the 2010 tournament.

Le Journal du Dimanche devoted six pages to the Franco-Belgian friendship and rivalry - this time with an excerpt from an Asterix comic book on its front page, while sports daily L'Equipe twisted Tintin's "Destination Moon" to feature French and Belgian players.

"He does many things for the team to be balanced, and it is the players around him that benefit from his presence because he attracts a lot of attention from the defenders".

Olivier Giroud put country before club by describing France captain Hugo Lloris as a better goalkeeper than Belgium's Thibaut Courtois.

Russian Federation is holding its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.

"I am convinced that we will break down this wall".

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