The first semifinal of FIFA World Cup 2018 will see 1998 champion France lock horns with Belgium, a team whose best show came in the 1986 edition of the tournament in Mexico when they reached the semis buts lost to Deigo Maradona's Argentina 0-2.
Both teams boast of an array of strikers and attacking midfielders who are capable of taking apart the best of the defences. The semifinal between the two European teams is likely to witness an open, attacking play at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
Below is the schedule of the semifinal:
Tuesday, 10 July
France vs Belgium
Venue: Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Time: 11:30 pm
Belgium have been highly impressive in the tournament, scoring 14 goals in five matches till the quarterfinals. They dumped five-time World Cup winner Brazil in the quarterfinals with an attacking display. A team with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli, Michy Batshuayi and Axel Witsel in its ranks can give nightmares to any opposition.
France, too, have a range of options in the attack. Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud have proved to be a constant threat to their rivals. Ngolo Kante, who will be guarding the dangerous Hazard, along with Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi man the French midfield and they have been never found wanting in terms of creativity.
The two sides have played against each other 73 times with Belgium winning 30 matches, France 24 and 19 ending in a draw. But France enjoy the advantage in competitive matches with five wins compared to three to Belgium and three draws.
They have played against each other at the FIFA World Cups only twice with France winning both of them.