They came from every continent, but the two semifinals will see four European countries fight for bragging rights and more importantly a place in Sunday's World Cup final.
With Eden Hazard pulling the strings and Romelu Lukaku providing the firepower, Belgium have what it takes to beat France. "It's going to be a man's match and we will have to step up". Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep.
Belgium are the tournament's top scorers so far, with 14 goals, while France are fifth with nine.
'I prefer to lose with this Belgium than win with that France, ' said Hazard afterwards. Yellow card accumulation resets in the semifinals, so players will no longer be playing in fear of being suspended for their next match.
Hazard was pulling the strings for Belgium, but the game ebbed and flowed as the first half progressed with Giroud the focus of France's attacks, putting a Mbappe cross wide when well-placed 11 minutes before the break.
"We worked hard defensively, we needed to take advantage a bit more in the counter-attacks but congratulations to my players and my staff", he said.
About 20 injured in South Africa charter plane crash
The plane had been due to fly later this week to Aviodrome via east Africa, through Egypt, Croatia, Austria to the Netherlands. The plane, which had been expected at the Aviodrome , "crashed in South Africa during take-off on a test flight", it said.
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne warned Kylian Mbappe was ready to take the world by storm on the eve of the game and the most expensive teenager in the history of football showed why inside the first 60 seconds.
There is no question we are about to witness a very open game.
Belgium missed out on the World Cup final as they failed to score any of their 12 shots vs. France.
The 2-1 scoreline flattered the South Americans, who were blown away in the first half, and Belgium's "Golden Generation" seems to be clicking at just the right time - they look on course to reach their first ever World Cup final. After all, they have won their five World Cup matches, and their road has been significantly tougher than France's one. "I would have preferred to have Henry on our side, to give me and the other French forwards advice, but I am not too jealous".
When the match ended, the French players danced on the field and shook the hand of Thierry Henry, another 1998 World Cup victor who is now Belgium's assistant coach.
While World Cup fever builds at home, England are avoiding the hype as Gareth Southgate prepares his team in their tranquil base near Saint Petersburg for their first semi-final since 1990.
"It will be freaky to have him up against us", Giroud said.
'I think the attitude and commitment of the players was magnificent.