History beckons as France take on Belgium

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The victor will face either Croatia or England, who play Thursday (2am Malaysia time), in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

"When you face your old team you are part of the enemy team but this time it is a notch higher".

But here's one thing Deschamps can be sure of: if Lukaku has a one-on-one duel with the French goalkeeper, and pauses just before the final shot, or if Eden Hazard cuts in from the left and curls his shot across Hugo Lloris, each of them will have taken expert advice on how to finesse those manoeuvres from one Thierry Henry, French legend.

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their third goal against Argentina at the Kazan Arena in Russia June 30, 2018.

"I feel that the most important aspect we worked on was the notion of being a team. We need to be the best version of ourselves".

'"I would be proud to show [him] that he chose the wrong camp", Olivier Giroud, the closest active pursuer to Henry's French record of 51 global goals, told reporters.

"He motivates the troops with strong words", Pavard said.

"We know him well". It signalled the blossoming of the defensive duo of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti, who had managed to keep Luis Suarez and co at bay with rock-solid display at the back. He has a specific job on the Belgium coaching staff, to coach the attacking players and counsel on strategies; it is part-time role, outside his broadcasting work in English television, and his rank in the Belgian staff hierarchy is well beneath that of manager Roberto Martinez. Fans welcomed his arrival in August 2016 with lukewarm enthusiasm because he'd only recently been fired by Everton in the Premier League.

Since coming aboard, Henry has had a big influence on the Belgian team and seen them go unbeaten and score 78 goals in their last 23 games.

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France's 1998 World Cup victor Thierry Henry, pictured with Romelu Lukakau, is now assisting Belgium's strikers before their semifinal against France.

"We lost touch with him, he has little contact with the French federation", Noel Le Graet, president of the French FA, said on Sunday. "On a personal level it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow".

Martinez's tactics have stood out, too. France against Belgium. The World Cup equivalent of a local derby, with a heavy dose of national rivalry thrown in.

As for Belgium, their Golden Generation put in one of the best tactical performance of the World Cup to defeat Brazil 2-1.

There is then the midfield contest between Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne, who plays for United's city rivals Manchester City. All yellow cards are wiped out after the quarter-final to ensure no player is suspended in the final should he be booked in the semis. Defeated Argentina in the round of 16, 4-3.

Belgium has finally lived up to the hype surrounding them! Because of his quick feet, change of direction and exquisite close control, he is hard to tackle and this often draws a foul. Even before becoming teammates, they were spotted socialising around the cafes of Cheshire, although while Pogba is friends with footballers including Lukaku, Patrice Evra and Antoine Griezmann, he is closest of all to his family. "It's my unselfish side".

Reached by phone, a bar owner in French Comines said the atmosphere in the town was convivial ahead of the game. They are tied on fourth overall with 31.

At the helm for almost six years, a fundamental flaw of the French under his reign has been the inability to score goals in crucial knockout games.

"We know all these players so well". Andres Cunha (Uruguay) will be the referee.

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