Want smart analysis, opinions, viewing guides and more from the World Cup? Upsets and minnows may animate the party phase-the three-week, 48-match group stage-but at the business of the tournament, there is nothing but fierce competence.
Samuel Umtiti scored the victor.
Roberto Martinez's surprise 4-3-3 was just insane enough to confuse the Brazil defence throughout the first half of their quarter-final, which puts them in a strong position to do something similar on the counter-attack against France - particularly through the middle. It will now meet the victor of Wednesday's clash between England and Croatia. The French leader went down to the players' dressing-room after the match.
Because France isn't a country of middle grounds-especially not when it comes to soccer. Giving an insight into his managerial nous, Mourinho explained set piece training ideally fits the World Cup schedule, which results in a reduced reliance on goals from open play. Every match day through the final July 15.
This version of the team, so stacked with young talent, could have broken either way. France came off the mark hot with Kylian Mbappe' immediately raising alarms for Belgium by bursting down the flank and squaring the ball for Griezmann, who was unable to line up a shot.
France coach Didier Deschamps agrees Henry will be in a tough spot at the St Petersburg Stadium.
After Vincent Kompany's block turned away Giroud's shot, Griezmann's inswinging delivery to the front post was turned in by Umtiti, who beat Marouane Fellaini to head beyond Courtois. "They're good in the air and on the ground". They stared at each other-how had this happened? Both sides are coming off of impressive quarter-final performances and there is a sense that the victor of the tournament will probably come from this tie. These players were their teammates back home.
The Manchester United man also indicated there was still work to do for Didier Deschamps' side in Russian Federation, saying of Tuesday night's victory: "It's great but it's not finished".
"It's a pure pleasure to see these players grow", Deschamps said, "and never give up".
Even so, there had been little to separate the sides the entire evening in St. Petersburg.
Martinez is not the first Belgium coach to be bowled over by De Bruyne.
Goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois both made smart saves to make sure an intriguing game remained scoreless at the interval. They weren't overwhelmed by Les Bleus, nor could they find a crack to exploit. "The French team has less possession, but in defence, the French team is stronger".
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