The calm before the semi-final storm

Kyle Walker’s tweet about Harry Maguire goes viral after debut England goal

As neighbours France and Belgium take on each other in the first semi-final of the Fifa World Cup in St Petersburg in Russian Federation on Tuesday, July 10, the media is busy painting the rivalry as between two famous comic characters - Asterix and Tintin.

Now, I predict that the victor of the France-Belgium semi-final fixture will go on to win the final.

"We've got to concentrate on ourselves and that is what we will be doing going into the game".

"It was exceptional", Deschamps said in a pitchside interview.

"I hope that I'll stay undefeated through 31 games and that we'll lift this cup", said Pavard, known for his penetrating play and gritty defending on France's right flank. We know they are capable of doing it - it just has not happened yet.

Just three epic games to play (and one "well we may as well while we're here" encounter) - until Russian Federation 2018 announces its ultimate victor; Vladimir Putin, aside. First win on penalties in the World Cup.

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"Forty-nine days together, it is a lot of things, hard things, the group stage, it is the merit of everyone", he said.

Center back Samuel Umtiti put France on the board in the 51st minute with a header off of a corner, and the team managed to hold that narrow lead for the last 40 minutes and change.

"A lot of pride", said the defender.

"We achieved success as a compact team who do not give in, who work for one another and this is maybe one of the best periods for Luka".

It was viewed by many observers as a breakout display at Russian Federation 2018 for the Manchester City star, but Martinez feels his efforts when stationed deeper alongside Witsel during Belgium's earlier games were also pivotal. Some things we do the same, some things we do differently. "The game was very close, very tight and it was going to be decided by a little bit of luck in front of goal", said the Spaniard. I think the Belgian footballer is quite unique - technically-gifted player with an incredible footballing brain. "What a great way therefore to show our support by ensuring that some of our recognisable civic buildings and the famous Black Prince statue on City Square, are now displaying their England colours with great pride!" That's the detail you get in the semifinal of the World Cup. "We will go into this final to win it, as we have still not gotten over the final". "We want to finish this tournament in the best possible way".

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