Balaise Matuidi back in France's only change for semis

General Giroud picks his best goalkeeper 1 hour ago

Olivier Giroud: 'Hugo Lloris better than Thibaut Courtois'

But he said France were talented and experienced enough to break down Belgium's defensive "wall" around keeper Thibaut Courtois.

"France were one of the favourites before the World Cup and I think the game will be tougher than against Brazil due to their individual quality", he said.

Mbappe burst onto the scene during the 2016-17 season when he helped fire Monaco to the French league title and the Champions League semi-finals.

France progressed to the semi's following a 2-nil victory over Colombia and head coach Didier Deschamps will be hoping his charges maintain the positive momentum in what is expected to be an exciting match up against Belgium.

Soccer Football - World Cup - France News Conference - France Training Camp, Istra, Russia - July 8, 2018 France's Olivier Giroud during news conference.

Martinez had predicted past year after Belgium became the first team to qualify from the European preliminaries, that Henry would have a positive impact on the Belgian players at the tournament.

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They agreed to be "guided" by "considerations" to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense by 2024 . Europe far more than it does the U.S".

Kevin De Bruyne has praised Belgium boss Roberto Martinez for instilling the belief in his team that they can win the World Cup.

'He's become a star in France but when I was playing against him for City against Monaco he'd only played 10 matches, ' De Bruyne said.

In five games, Giroud hasn't scored a goal - heck, he doesn't even have a shot on goal - but his presence is considered a big factor in France's success in Russian Federation, where it is unbeaten with four wins and a tie.

"When you are a striker like me, you always play for the teammates", Giroud said.

Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 14 goals in his last 14 games for Belgium (8 goals, 6 assists).

For me, he is the best young footballer on the planet. I don't resent him. This is his time to shine.

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