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Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Belgium, France into the next round

09 July 2018

France will go into their World Cup semi-final against neighbours Belgium with a "hunger to win" and a desire to show their 1998 World Cup victor Thierry Henry that he picked the wrong side, forward Olivier Giroud said on Sunday.

Croatia and Belgium have never won the tournament, although both have reached the semi final stage in previous editions.

That leaves perhaps the most wide-open World Cup of modern times heading towards the final week, and England manager Southgate has called on his team to take advantage.

"I think we are always playing with a lot of pressure even if we are seen as underdogs", he said.

Romelu Lukaku believes Belgium will face "the best team in the tournament" when they encounter Brazil on Friday but says the Red Devils have the quality to send them crashing out.

Football fans united in a bit of schadenfreude yesterday after Neymar's side were booted out of the World Cup. No one wants that to be their World Cup legacy, do they?

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"We are in this position because guys that are in the squad like (Gary) Cahill, (Phil) Jones, (Danny) Welbeck, (Nick) Pope, (Jack) Butland, (Danny) Rose, the older ones, have been exceptional in their mentality, their attitude to support the team, to train every day".

They are one of those teams which have evolved as the tournament progressed and have learnt from their mistakes especially after the Japan game, where they had to come back from a two-goal deficit. "We can also vary our game, which it is a massive strength".

"We're not scared of anyone, " Pavard said.

But again the five-time world champions are leaving empty handed, unable to make it to the semifinals four years after that humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany at its home World Cup. However, this being a World Cup year has opened the door for other players to stake their claim.

Ahead of Brazil's quarter-final match against Belgium, a Swiss TV Stadium spent a fair amount of time to actually track Neymar's time on the ground.

"I'm very happy to be a part of this team".

Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Belgium, France into the next round