Belgium vs France in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals – all you need to know.
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Belgium take on France in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals in Turin on Thursday 7 October at 20:45 CET.Belgium vs France: click for live coverage
What's the story?
A place in Sunday's final against Spain is the prize at stake as both these nations look to make amends for falling short at UEFA EURO 2020. Many expected France to add the European title to their world crown but their round of 16 elimination at the hands of Switzerland was one of the shocks of the tournament. Belgium went one stage further but could not get the better of eventual winners Italy in a thrilling quarter-final.
The Red Devils have used the recent European Qualifiers to blow away some of the cobwebs better than Les Bleus – though no team has a greater lead at the top of their groups then these two – but the weight of history is against Roberto Martínez's men. France beat them in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals to make it a clean sweep of victories in the four meetings between these nations at final tournaments.
Where to watch the game on TV
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans, T Hazard; De Bruyne, Lukaku, E Hazard
France: Lloris; Koundé, Varane, L. Hernández; Pavard, Pogba, Rabiot, T. Hernández; Griezmann; Mbappé, Benzema
Alyssa Saliou, Belgium reporter: There is a sense that now is the time for Belgium to realise their enormous talent and go all the way in a major tournament. Beaten semi-finalists at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and quarter-finalists at UEFA EURO 2020, could it be a case of third time lucky? France, the side that broke Belgian hearts in 2018, will not make it easy. Les Bleus have not been at their best this year, but there's nothing like a meeting with your neighbours to stir things up. Creativity, flexibility and efficiency. That's what it will all come down to.
David Crossan, France reporter: Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema dazzled against Finland in last month's FIFA World Cup qualifier in the absence of the injured Kylian Mbappé. Didier Deschamps' challenge is to get his star-studded front three to gel and it could be that a repeat of the 3-4-1-2 system employed against the Finns – allowing Griezmann to shine from a central position – earns the former Juventus player and coach's favour as he returns to Turin. The world champions are up for this and keen to show the early UEFA EURO 2020 exit was just a blip.
View from the camps
Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach: "[Hans] Vanaken is probably in the best form of his career. [Charles] De Ketelaere is profiting from the absences of [Jérémy] Doku and [Dries] Mertens: this is a great opportunity for him. He deserves this selection. With Michy [Batshuayi], Romelu [Lukaku], Dodi [Lukebakio] and Charles [De Ketelaere], I have plenty of options up front."
Didier Deschamps, France coach: "[EURO 2020] is behind us now. There's a trophy up for grabs; a semi-final against one of the best teams in the world [Belgium]. We gave our all to get here from a very competitive group. We want this trophy. In the past, there were two international titles, the EURO and the World Cup. There are now three with the Nations League, and we want to win it."
Form guide (most recent first)
France: WDDDDDDownload the UEFA Nations League app