Vertonghen 'gutted' after semi-final loss

England defender Rose to fly family to Russia for World Cup after racism fears allayed

Kylian Mbappe's cheeky backheel one of the World Cup's best plays

"I feel ill", said Denis Backaert, 34, after watching France prevail 1-0 in the tightest of semi-finals between two quality teams in St Petersburg. We could easily have come to this stage and frozen.

Mbappe appeared risky throughout, creating six scoring chances for his side, who will wait the winners of Wednesday's other semi between England and Croatia. I can improve and get better...

France have been improving throughout the tournament and have beat Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout rounds without needing extra time or penalties.

Belgium will play the loser of England v Croatia in Saturday's third/fourth place play-off.

Mbappe's brilliant backheel, following a give-and-go involving Lucas Hernandez and Blaise Matuidi, was one of several plays that had Belgium's defense in a tizzy all night.

In the end, France defeated Belgium 1-0 thanks to Samuel Umtiti's second-half header.

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Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, via a treacherous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels in darkness.

Luckily, the unused substitute did not plough his knees into the ribs of any of his team mates but the performance ended with him lying on top of the pile of players.

"There is still one more step to take, but we are proud of what we have done".

"Finals have to be won".

France are determined not to make the same mistakes they did two years ago in losing the Euro 2016 final when they take on Croatia for the biggest prize in football, midfielder Paul Pogba said on Thursday.

Giroud, 31, kept his starting spot for France in the semi-final clash and has started five of his nation's six matches in the tournament so far.

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