In the other semifinal match to be held on Wednesday, Croatia and England will square off against each other to face France.
No more so than on Tuesday as they edged Belgium in the semi-final to put themselves within one game of a second World Cup win, 20 years after their first. "It will be weird to have him up against us", said France striker Olivier Giroud.
It was Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, that scored the victor in the 51st minute, beating Marouane Fellaini at the near post to head home Antoine Griezmann's corner.
A Belgium team featuring numerous same stars lost 1-0 to Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinal four years ago and then was shocked 3-1 by Wales in the European Championship quarterfinals two years ago. "He has given so much to the France team and we have got a lot of respect for what he has done". The Tuesday night contest will see two star-studded sides competing against each other and the outcome is indeed hard to predict considering the quality and grade of both the teams.
For the third straight knockout match, France needed a game-changing goal from a defender despite boasting a fearsome attacking pair of 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe and Euro 2016 Golden Boot victor Antoine Griezmann. Belgium's Thomas Meunier will miss the game after picking up a second yellow card but France will be buoyed by the return of defensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi, after sitting out a suspension of his own.
And Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku could not break through in Saint Petersburg as France registered a fourth clean sheet in six World Cup games to reach the final. On each of those occasions the tournament has been hosted in Europe. England had not reached the semifinals since 1966 when they also won that year. "We adapt the way we play against our opponent and this is to his credit".
He is now trying to minimise potential distractions as his young team prepare to take the next step in their bid to repeat their World Cup triumph at home 52 years ago. Lukaku is on four goals and France's Griezmann and Mbappe have three each. "We can play in different ways, in different styles". Courtois told Belgian RTBF broadcaster that it was frustrating to lose to "a team that is not better than us". "I would have preferred to have lost in the quarter-finals to Brazil, at least that was a team that wanted to play football". Croatia, who boast Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic in a strong midfield, emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.