Kylian Mbappe: Leading France into final beyond my 'wildest dreams'


France will look to claim its second World Cup title Sunday at 11 a.m. ET against either Croatia or England, who face off Wednesday in the second semifinal.

In their head-to-head record, Belgium lead the way with 30 wins to France's 24; there have been 19 draws between the two.

And the presence of French World Cup victor Thierry Henry on the Belgian coaching staff as one of Martinez's assistants adds extra spice to the occasion.

Speaking after that game, former England captain Alan Shearer said: "The big question about Belgium was 'are you a team of individuals or can you come together as a team?' He has gelled them together".

"We had the ball and I think we have to give a lot of credit to France for the way they defended - they were very deep, they gave us a lot of respect in that way and yet we couldn't find a bit of margin in front of goal, a little bit of luck".

Hazard said he was proud of what Roberto Martinez's team had managed in Russian Federation.

"Unfortunately for us the difference was a dead-ball situation".

But it was PSG star Kylian Mbappe who was the real star of the game, running Belgium ragged with his remarkable mix of pace and skill.

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After a cagey opening, Paul Pogba's ball over the top nearly created an opportunity in the box for Mbappe before the same combination a few minutes later saw Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois forced to race out and smother a throughball before Mbappe could get on the end of it. The heavily loaded Belgian midfield seemed to overwhelm the French in the early exchanges and the latter were struggling to get a touch on the ball.

Hazard was unsafe again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar.

Olivier Giroud flashed a header just wide and Mbappe set up Benjamin Pavard whose low shot was kept out by the outstretched leg of Courtois.

Belgium was making its second semifinal appearance and seeking its first in a final.

Roberto Martinez's Red Devils battled well and had plenty of possession but they could not break through a strong French defence marshalled by the excellent Raphaël Varane.

Although Belgium pushed for an equaliser with Fellaini coming closest with header that just went past Lloris post. They lost their first three, but since getting over the hump for the first time in 1998 - a tournament they went on to win on home soil - they have not been beaten in the final four.

The Red Devils are unbeaten against Les Bleus in their last three meetings, including that 4-3 victory in Paris three years ago and have been in scintillating form in Russian Federation.