England team predicted to face Croatia in World Cup semi-finals Sun, July 8, 2018 England face Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals - but how will Gareth Southgate's men line-up?
Les Bleus beat Uruguay 2-0 in their quarterfinal to set up the last-four clash against neighbors Belgium, who beat Brazil 2-1 in their quarterfinal.
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At the other end, Mbappe demonstrated the subtler side to his game to play in Benjamin Pavard, but Courtois used his massive 6ft 5ins (199 centimeter) frame to deny the Stuttgart full-back his second goal of the tournament.
Belgium took early control of midfield with France content to sit deep and eliminate the threat of counter-attacks Hazard and De Bruyne. Yellow card accumulation resets in the semifinals, so players will no longer be playing in fear of being suspended for their next match.
He dived to his right midway through the first half to claw away Toby Alderweireld's shot, then got in front of Lukaku to punch away one of the many crosses sent in by Belgium in the final stages. Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard made repeated forrays into the French box but the combination of Raphael Varane, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and defensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi kept them out.
The Chelsea defensive midfielder has covered enormous amounts of ground in this World Cup, but it's not just about distance run.
France have reached the World Cup semifinals six times.
France boss Didier Deschamps - who is aiming to emulate Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer by winning the World Cup as both a player and manager - has often been criticised for failing to get the most out of his squad.
"I couldn't ask more of the players' attitude. That's why I don't think the performance came down to individuals".
France have reached the World Cup final after beating Belgium 1-0 in St Petersburg.
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. "We were all happy, all hugging", Mbappe said. His pace caused the Belgian back line worries all night and one moment of absolute genius when his quick feet and back heel sent Giroud through on goal, nearly lead to one of the goals of the tournament so far.
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Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 13 games for Belgium in all competitions (17 goals, 3 assists). France will play against Belgium and Harry Kane's England will contest against Croatia.
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