France head into their World Cup semi-final

clash with Belgium looking to reach their third

final in six attempts, and do so on the back of

victories over Argentina and Uruguay.

When France needed a controversial penalty

and the most fortuitous of own goals to get

the better of Australia in their opening game,

few would have predicted that Didier

Deschamps 's team were capable of reaching

the last four of this competition.

However, while France failed to provide

excitement or optimism for the rest of the

tournament during the group stages, Les

Bleus have delivered in the knockout stages

with Argentina and Uruguay both being sent

packing back to South America.

There is an argument that doubts should

remain about a defence who conceded three

times against Argentina but in France's other

four matches, a goal has not been conceded

from open play.

In the grand scheme of things, France need

to take that confidence into a game against a

team such as Belgium because while Argentina

and Uruguay possessed the individual brilliance

of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez , they are yet

to face a team who are performing collectively

in the final third.

That said, while France will be wary, they will

not be scared. This is a team who have

suffered just one defeat in 17 outings, a run

which has included fixtures against England,

Netherlands, Wales, Germany, Italy and their

two most recent opponents.

These two teams have the potential to

become the top two nations in world football

but right now, France have more experience

and are producing the more polished

performances and that could prove decisive in

St Petersburg.

Team news 

Belgium will be without Thomas Meunier as the

right wing-back serves a one-match ban for

two yellow cards.

Martinez is lacking a like-for-like

replacement, with Yannick Carrasco , Nacer

Chadli and Adnan Januzaj all options to fill the

void on the right.

The rest of the team could remain the same,

although Youri Tielemans and Mousa Dembele

are options in the middle of the park should

either Axel Witsel or Marouane Fellaini only

feature on the bench.

Deschamps is unlikely to make major

alterations to his France side, but Blaise

Matuidi is available again after serving a one-

match suspension.

The only selection dilemma appears to be

whether Matuidi or Corentin Tolisso will

feature on the left flank.

France possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez;

Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud

Belgium possible starting lineup:

Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen;

Chadli, Witsel, Fellaini, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku