‘Thank you my 'Cousin' Umtiti!’ - Kenya reacts as France sends Belgium out

France and Belgium fight it out for World Cup final place

"We know him, he has a lot of passion for football and he will be with the Belgians and will give everything to help his team". Raphael Varane & Samuel Umtiti were tight at the back, and this points to a wider defensive stability, the only blot on their copybook was the three goals conceded to Argentina in the round of sixteen.

Having gained the lead, France showed the defensive nous to nullify the threat from Belgium's Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, closing out the game for a win that sent them to their second straight major tournament final, following their loss to Portugal in Euro 2016. "We worked hard defensively, we needed to take advantage a bit more in the counter-attacks but congratulations to my players and my staff", he said.

Manchester United teammates Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku will also be on opposing sides on Tuesday.

France will unleash the attacking talents of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann against Eden Hazard´s gifted Belgium side in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday with a place in the World Cup final at stake.

The misgivings with regard to France was on the tactical balance and choice of players Didier Deschamps would start with.

They haven't played well except for the previous match in which Martinez tweaked his system ever so slightly to more of a back four, dropped Carrasco and Mertens and discovered that by pushing De Bruyne - perhaps one of the best four players in the world - into advanced positions, he was quite good at football. 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. Deschamps - famously dubbed as the "water carrier" for his style of play when he captained the France squad to victory in 1998; providing the legs for the more creative midfielders around him - and Martinez have very different approaches to the game. 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.

ST PETERSBURG: France's Antoine Griezmann (front) and team-mates practise on Monday at the St Petersburg Stadium.

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"Belgium played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan". We know there are going to be hard moments, and we'll have to be ready to suffer. "He changed things, put his own mark and has great potential and I congratulate him at being here".

"It is weird", said Deschamps, "because he is French and that he will be on the bench of the opposition".

Belgium´s Kevin De Bruyne said Henry had talked little about his feelings.

However, Umtiti popped up with the game's telling moment early in the second half, nodding the ball home to score his third worldwide goal.

France and Belgium have met a staggering 73 times, their first meeting having been a 3-3 draw in 1904. "However, each player will do what it takes to win".

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