A guide to semi-finals

Giroud in action for France. Image PA

Giroud in action for France. Image PA

The World Cup semi-finals are upon us, with either France, Belgium, England or Croatia set to lift the trophy at the end of Sunday's final in Moscow. Much was made of Roberto Martinez's decision to start Romelu Lukaku from the right and Kevin De Bruyne through the middle in Belgium's 2-1 win over Brazil, not to mention Thibaut Courtois' exceptional goalkeeping outing, yet the tactical decision and the display between the sticks overshadowed a stunning outing from skipper Eden Hazard.

It was a back and forth match, demonstrating the fact that third place playoffs tend to be very open affairs where both side's throw caution to the wind with very little to lose. "He is a living legend of French football". He's one of only four players to score and assist a few times for both, while only Isco and Lionel Messi (both 23) have completed more dribbles than the wing-wizard (22). "The game will be complicated but we are ready for it".

Belgium lead World Cup 2018 in goals through the quarterfinals with 14, but don't expect the Red Devils to run wild against the well-balanced France team.

Deschamps' side were less thrilling, but equally efficient, as they saw off Uruguay in the quarter-finals. Goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann proved to be the difference, earning France a semi-final spot for the first time since 2006.

With Hugo Lloris impressing in goal and a solid midfield of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, the one potential weakness for France could be their inexperienced defence. France welcome back midfielder Blaise Matuidi after suspension. On each of those occasions the tournament has been hosted in Europe.

The teams will face off at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the 2018 World Cup semifinals. Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for the win over Sweden and social media is awash with videos of excited fans watching on big screens in bars and parks, fanatically celebrating every England goal.

But Henry's first foray into coaching comes at a crucial time for Belgium in what represents the last chance for the golden generation to win the World Cup while at the peak of their powers.

Two years later France won a European Champions, with Henry again leading the team with three goals.

Despite Kane's impressive tally, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has identified Raheem Sterling as England's danger man in their semi-final.

"I think Griezmann has all the quality to overcome Thierry Henry, as Mbappe has, too", Trezeguet said.

Croatia, who boast Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic in a strong midfield, emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

Though a very different player from the elegant Frenchman, the powerfully built Lukaku showed a touch of Henry in his intelligent dummy that allowed the ball to run through to Nacer Chadli to score Belgium's victor in the thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 win over Japan in the last 16.

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