France vs Belgium predictions, stats and betting tips

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France captain and keeper Hugo Lloris, who played for two seasons with Henry in the national team, said: "He is a huge player and a great gentleman of French football". Kylian Mbappe is the standout but N'Golo Kante is probably their most important player. Henry, scorer of goals that frequently had his audiences asking "How did he do that?" when he was a player, works with Belgian strikers on the fine details of finishing; he is there to divulge secrets, and keep those secrets in a closed circle.

They are going to be a tough nut to crack.

French striker Olivier Giroud has now played almost eight hours of football (464 minutes) at the 2018 World Cup without managing a single shot on target.

Belgium's beaten players did not want to talk about the end of an era - not with stars like 27-year-old De Bruyne, 26-year-old Courtois and 25-year-old Lukaku in the team and more coming through the youth ranks. "For him tomorrow it could be a bit hard, but he works for Belgium now, he wants us to win". "I would be proud to show him that he picked the wrong side". "Forty-nine days together, it is a lot of things - hard things - it is the merit of everyone".

An unbelievably disciplined defensive showing from the French team left a talented, attacking Belgium team with few options. "The game was very close, very tight and it was going to be decided by a little bit of luck in front of goal", he said.

"The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore".

It did not start well, with Mbappe quickly skinning Vertonghen for pace and charging into the box only to waste his opportunity.

Hazard was unsafe again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar.

The former Everton manager will have a big absence since Thomas Meunier is out due to suspension.

There were some great saves during the first 45 minutes with France having their first attempt on goal as Blaise Matuidi fired a strong effort towards Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois. The French earned the chance and executed it perfectly, with Umtiti outjumping Marouane Fellaini to make the connection on the near-post header. De Bruyne said. "We are a small country".

Alex Witsel fired a stinging shot to Lloris who punched the ball away from the net.

Belgium dramatically came from two goals down to defeat Japan 3-2 in their round of 16 clash before producing one of the most complete displays of the tournament in knocking out favourites Brazil 2-1 in the quarter-finals.