Varane exorcises ghosts of Brazil as France look to semi-finals


Spain were knocked by the host Russian Federation in the round of 16.

Henry, a 1998 champion with Les Bleus, finds himself in a peculiar position leading into Tuesday's semi-final encounter in St Petersburg as he plots the downfall of his home nation. Also, Brazil is still one of the most popular teams, everybody wants to attend a Brazil game. Belgium look a thrilling proposition in attack and Lukaku knows the match in Kazan will provide them with an indication of just how far they have come.

"I would have preferred to have Henry on our side, to give me and the other French forwards advice, but I am not too jealous", the 31-year-old Giroud said.

Belgium will go on to play France in the semi-final, with the victor going on to meet one of Sweden, England, Croatia or Russian Federation. Only Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico, who were knocked out in the round of 16 by Brazil, has had more saves in the 2018 World Cup with 24.

The Manchester United striker has scored four goals at Russian Federation 2018 and mixed them with some more delicate moments, such as the sublime dummy that set up Nacer Chadli's victor against Japan, too.

Brazil coach Tite dismissed talk that his team is the favourite to win the match against Belgium, let alone the World Cup.

Widely written off, including by their own supporters, before the tournament began, hosts Russian Federation know they now stand just two matches from the July 15 final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. "He always tries to help us win games".

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Having started the World Cup behind Ronaldo, Messi's hopes of winning a record 6th Ballon d'Or effectively ended with his and Argentina's massively underwhelming tournament. I'm very happy to be part of this team, I'm proud of all the players.

Neymar was ruled out by injury four years ago when Brazil slumped to a 7-1 defeat against Germany with Scolari in charge.

The core of that side remains in place in Russian Federation, where Belgium has won all four of its matches, including coming back from 2-0 down to beat Japan in the round of 16 with a thrilling counterattack in the final seconds of injury time.

The Selecao piled the pressure on their opponents in a gripping second half, but could only drag one goal back through substitute Renato Augusto's header after Fernandinho's early own goal and a sweet strike by Kevin De Bruyne.

Now, Belgium and France are set to play a semifinal match next Tuesday.

"It's a heavy, bitter feeling. It's very hard to be here".