Misfiring Olivier Giroud making unwanted World Cup history for France

Misfiring Olivier Giroud making unwanted World Cup history for France

France and Belgium have clashed on the field for more than 120 years, but on Tuesday, in the World Cup semifinal in Saint Petersburg, the stakes will be higher than ever before.

"I think he has built on the potential of the team", the Manchester City midfielder said.

"France has always been one of the favourites to win the tournament".

Harlington Shereni, who spent more than a decade plying his trade in the French topflight league, is among those that will be routing behind les bleus.

After a poor outing against the United States of America in the final tune-up, Giroud, 31, did not start the opener against Australia, but when France struggled against the Socceroos, head coach Didier Deschamps brought on Giroud, who was involved in the buildup that led to the winning goal late in the game.

This will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides since the 1986 World Cup, when France won 4-2 in the third-place playoff.

Both teams have earned their billing as pre-tournament favorites, with France ousting Uruguay in the last eight and Belgium stunning five-times champions Brazil to book their own semi-final spot.

France forward Antoine Griezmann has scored seven goals in his last six knockout stage matches in major tournaments (World Cup and EUROs).

- Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 13 games for Belgium in all competitions, with 17 goals and three assists.

French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe shattered Leo Messi's World Cup dreams when he scored a brace in the quarterfinals of the tournaments when Argentina went head to head against France.

This is going to be a cracker! I don't resent him.

Top among them include Paul Pogba (Guinea), Samuel Umtiti (Cameroon), Kylian Mbappe (Cameroon), Blaise Matuidi (Congo) and N'Golo Kante (Mali). 'If Mbappe was watching videos of me when he was younger, now it's me watching videos of him.