France have not won the tournament since 1998 when they triumphed on home soil, with Mbappe tipped as a possible Golden Ball victor due to his fine performances.
"It's the tighter, uglier games that have been our downfall".
For one side, it'll be the end of an unforgettable era in the 24-year (soccer) history of country of just over 4 million people.
"I couldn't listen to it for 20 years, frankly", said Southgate.
Roberto Martinez has plenty of attacking options with Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku all expected to start, and they will cause the French defence problems. Belgium, on the other hand, have at no point in this tournament failed to light up the stage, playing energetic, end-to-end football.
"A few hours after the game with Brazil, the focus was already on the game against France. That's why I don't think the performance came down to individuals".
England have been rewriting history in Russian Federation, and Southgate is hoping there will be more to come as they play their most important World Cup game since losing to West Germany on penalties in the semi-finals of Italia '90.
"The disappointment is huge".
"It's very good for Belgium", she said. "He wants you to try things, he wants you to express yourself and as a player that's what I've always been [about]", Alli said.
"It's a hard emotion to manage".
Even through some of the traditional big nations are missing, all four teams who made it to the semi-finals deserve to be there. We'll see if it can get even better this afternoon.
"In 1986 at Mexico, Belgium finished fourth, but now in Russian Federation we can still finish third, and I think we have to look forward to that".
"I hope it's going to be different this time, I hope we will able to bring the World Cup back to France". We need to be ready to win that game.