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Five things and more you should know about Belgium v France
10 July 2018, 08:56 | Anna Jefferson
World Cup 2018: France v Belgium
France and Belgium will meet in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinals later today in St. Petersburg, Russia, pitting the neighboring countries (the game is being billed as "La Fête des Voisins", or The Neighbors' Party) against each other for a chance to play for the title Sunday against the victor of Wednesday's England-Croatia matchup.
But those frictions, which extend from food to comic strips (Do you prefer France's "Asterix" or Belgium's "Tintin"?) to language pronunciation, will be ramped up to breaking point when their respective teams take to the field at 1800 GMT.
What's next: The victor will face the victor of England and Croatia in the World Cup final Sunday in Moscow.
Check out some of the highlights from France's and Belgium's World Cup runs in the tweets embedded below.
But their secret weapon could be on the sidelines in the shape of one of France's greatest players of all time, Thierry Henry, who is now assistant to head coach Roberto Martinez.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was back to his best in the World Cup quarterfinals, and he's going to need to be just as good when his team takes on Belgium in the semifinals on Tuesday. "But tomorrow, on a professional level, he will be putting all the passion that drives him into the Belgian team". Deschamps, a former defensive midfielder himself, has set up this French team playing a pragmatic style and Kante in the living embodiment of this style.
"Maybe he'll sing La Marseillaise, which I would find normal", said De Bruyne. But this is a hard situation, it is not easy for him'. On Tuesday, the count will be whittled down to three when two heavyweights of the game clash in Saint Petersburg.
The two sides are competing for a place in the World Cup final, and ahead of the game, it is Belgium who marginally boast the most impressive performers.
Didier Deschamps' France side failed to fire in their group matches but burst into life in the 4-3 demolition of Argentina as Mbappe overshadowed Lionel Messi and confirmed his arrival as a new superstar of the game.
France then brushed aside Uruguay 2-0, earning their third clean sheet from five matches in the process.
They also lost the 2006 final to Italy on penalties, though experience won't be a factor given that not a single player left in the tournament has ever reached the showpiece before.
"England was one of the favourites for me for the tournament because they have a young and hungry team with no big, worldwide stars, so it won't be easy for us", he admitted. "But the whole world will be watching us", De Bruyne said.
"We know we have some unbelievable players and a great manager and everyone is clear on what we want to do".
"Our trainings sessions are filmed by a drone after we took an extra video analyst to Russian Federation".
Several French players have played alongside their Belgian counterparts for Premier League clubs. Harry Maguire's brilliant aerial performances so far this tournament, culminating in him winning 22 headers against Sweden and Colombia, would suggest Jordan Pickford's goal won't be regularly troubled.
In France, the game will air at 8 PM local time on leading commercial broadcaster TF1, which drew its largest audience of the tournament - and its highest ratings of the year - with 12.9 million watching France beat Uruguay.
"England was one of the favourites for me for the tournament because they have a young and hungry team with no big, worldwide stars, so it won´t be easy for us". Four teams remain at this World Cup. He was also fined by Federation Internationale de Football Association.
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