France advances to World Cup final, beats Belgium 1-0

Lukaku quote

With 10 minutes to go and time running out for Belgium, they were certainly unlucky not to win a free-kick after Olivier Giroud brings Hazard to ground but the ref waved for the match to continue.

Croatia will be physically and emotionally exhausted after back-to-back penalty shootout victories, which hands a clear advantage to England should they make a quick start to the game on Wednesday.

Belgium captain Eden Hazard has admitted he used to support semi-final opposition France when he was a kid.

"With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with '98", said the Chelsea man, who hails from the French-speaking area of Belgium.

World Cup favourites France, targeting the final in Russian Federation two decades after their 1998 triumph, said Monday one of their greatest players, Thierry Henry, would feel torn as he plotted their downfall from the dugout of opponents Belgium.

The teams have met 73 times before with Belgium winning on 30 occasions, France 24, and 19 matches drawn.

Twenty years after France first won the World Cup, Les Bleus moved to within one match of repeating the feats of the celebrated team of 1998 by beating Belgium to reach Sunday's final.

"We played together as teammates and he was much younger and I was at the end of my career".

"I'm pleased for him, he's someone I really appreciate", Deschamps said. "On the personal front it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow".

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Martinez' men are the only side to have won all of their games in 90 minutes in Russian Federation and are the tournament's top scorers with 14 goals. That only Brazil have taken more shots than Croatia from outside the box (40 in total) is testament to their inability to fashion decent chances.

"We've strived to be as good as we could be at global level and it's taken us two years to get there".

Belgium have scored at least two goals in all but one game during this competition. Paul Pogba's waywardness from the right side of central midfield will leave space for the brilliant interplay between Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku.

"We showed character and mentality, it was very hard for us tonight".

"He plays an extremely important role for Martinez", Pfaff said. "That's the quality that he has".

France has three shutouts in five games, but blanking Belgium's talented attack will be tough. "They have everything they need to be a great team and they are a great team".

'Most of them play in the Premier League, so we know them well.

He also urged both teams and nationals of both countries, to show understanding for Henry's precarious situation, adding that doing so will make Henry a little bit relaxed and comfortable during the match.

In 29 matches for France, both in the underage sides and the seniors, Pavard has not lost a game.

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