Live updates as France and Belgium meet in the first World Cup semi-final in St. Petersburg. Follow the text below for all the action and reaction.
10 July 2018
13 mins: First glimpse of the pace of Mbappe as Paul Pogba sidesteps Dembele before looking to release the PSG striker, but the ball is just too long for Mbappe to collect and Hugo Lloris comes out to gather it.
- 18:11 GMT
12 mins: Belgium with 65% of ball in the opening encounters, playing a patient build-up so far, France looking solid and well-organized though.
- 18:09 GMT
11 mins: The ball gets lofted into the Belgian box towards Kylian Mbappe, but the teenager can’t quite bring the ball down and the danger is cleared.
- 18:07 GMT
9 mins: Belgium enjoying plenty of possession in the early stages, France with every man in their own half at present as the Belgians probe for an opening.
- 18:05 GMT
5 mins: First signs of danger from Eden Hazard on the left as he breaks near the box, but his cross is cut out by Samuel Umtiti. The resulting corner is hit long.
- 18:01 GMT
4 mins: Nacer Chadli looks like a willing runner in the early stages, aiming to get forward on the right for Belgium. Dembele appears to assuming a more central role so far.
- 17:58 GMT
KICK-OFF: We’re underway in St. Petersburg for the first semi-final of the 2018 World Cup! Both teams in their traditional colors: France in blue, Belgium in red.
- 17:55 GMT
MACRON IN THE HOUSE
French President Emmanuel Macron is in attendance for tonight’s game, and has just been shown alongside FIFA chief Gianni Infantino during the playing of the French anthem.
Just over 2 minutes until kick-off in St. Petersburg….
- 17:53 GMT
Among the several interesting subplots to tonight’s game is the role of French World Cup winner Thierry Henry as a coach for the Belgian squad.
Henry made 123 appearances for Les Bleus, but has been part of the Belgian coaching staff since 2016.
- 17:51 GMT
RT special World Cup pundit Jose Mourinho has said he can’t pick a favorite between the two European nations.
“I can’t say if I consider any team a 51-percent favorite,” the Manchester United boss said.
However, he believes the French to be “solid” at the back with the “world’s best central defense” and a “phenomenal player in Raphael Varane.”