Fans of Belgium and France trash talk before big World Cup match

Thierry Henry

France and Belgium will meet in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinals later today in St. Petersburg, Russia, pitting the neighboring countries (the game is being billed as "La Fête des Voisins", or The Neighbors' Party) against each other for a chance to play for the title Sunday against the victor of Wednesday's England-Croatia matchup.

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.

An unbelievably disciplined defensive showing from the French team left a talented, attacking Belgium team with few options.

With the likes of Mbappe, Griezmann and Giroud for France facing off against Lukaku, Hazard and De Bruyne for Belgium, there just has to be goals in this one. "The players talked a lot amongst each other; I do not know if some players talked to the coach individually, but I think the coach understood everything quickly".

Belgian citizen Gregory Oleffe says Belgium is statistically a better team than France. No, I play at City. But we will be ready because we have an extremely good state of mind, and it is the semi-finals in the World Cup.

Thousands of delirious French fans celebrated the victory on the Champs-Elysees avenue and at a giant screen viewing area at the town hall in Paris, letting off smoke flares and waving flags. In their most recent action, Belgium defeated France in a wild 4-3 friendly in 2015.

"France may have conceded 3 to Argentina but that doesn't mean they haven't got a solid defence".

Samuel Umtiti headed France into the World Cup final in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday with a 1-0 win, consigning Belgium's "golden generation" to another bitter disappointment. Today, a goal on a corner.

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"Maybe he'll sing La Marseillaise, which I would find normal", said De Bruyne.

"This is the only one [picture] going", he said.

What's next: The victor will face the victor of England and Croatia in the World Cup final Sunday in Moscow.

"When Deschamps took off Giroud to bring on N'Zonzi, then Pogba had more freedom but had freedom not to do silly things, he had freedom to keep the ball away from unsafe areas, to keep the ball, to assist Griezmann for a great chance, he was very very mature".

England are in the last four of a major tournament for the first time since Euro '96, when Southgate himself missed a penalty in a shootout defeat against Germany.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe, though, has his full focus on Russian Federation 2018 as France look to go one step further than their loss in the final of Euro 2016 against Portugal.

Here's a look at how you can watch the two World Cup semi-finals.

"So we're excited about the future but we also want to make the most of the opportunity we have tomorrow".

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