France take on Belgium in St. Petersburg this evening in their first World Cup semi-final in twelve years.
Les Bleus started the tournament slowly, scraping to wins over Australia and Peru before a lifeless 0-0 draw with Denmark saw them top the group. They have since grown into the competition, an explosive 4-3 win over Argentina was followed by a controlled 2-0 victory against Uruguay.
France enter the last four as favourites to lift the World Cup but have had a recent injury scare as young sensation Kylian Mbappe missed training ahead of the match. Deschamps has also paved the way for Samuel Umtiti to start, the Barcelona defender has been a carrying a knee issue throughout the competition but should be fine to take on the Red Devils on Tuesday.
This is how I predict France to line up with for the crunch match against Belgium:
GK: Hugo Lloris (c)
The French captain put in a stirring performance to keep Uruguay at bay in the quarter-final and is certain to be between the sticks against Belgium.
RB: Benjamin Pavard
Scored one of the goals of the tournament against Argentina in the Last 16 and has grown into his role in the French side.
CB: Samuel Umtiti
Has dealt with a knee injury recently but should be fit to start against Belgium.
CB: Raphael Varane
Scored the opener which got Les Bleus on their way to a comfortable victory against Uruguay.
LB: Lucas Hernandez
Has been solid for France at left back, a safer choice than Mendy who is coming back from a terrible injury.
CM: N'Golo Kante
The most important player in this France team, currently the most complete midfielder on the planet and a no brainer at CM.
CM: Paul Pogba
N’Golo Kante’s presence in midfield has allowed Pogba to express himself in the middle of the park and he completed more passes than anyone else in the quarter final.
RW: Kylian Mbappe
A world beater in the making. He tore Argentina to pieces in the last 16 and could do damage to a Belgium back three that can be exposed at times.
CAM: Antoine Griezmann
France’s star player two years ago in the Euros, has had a quieter tournament this time around but has still scored three times, including against Uruguay in the quarters.
LW: Blaise Matudi
Matuidi was suspended for the quarter-final, an odd choice at left wing but the role has allowed Griezmann and Mbappe to tick.
ST: Olivier Giroud
Giroud’s presence up front allows Griezmann and Mbappe to run in behind defenders, something which could harm Belgium’s defence.