France went into their quarter-final showdown with Uruguay knowing that they had a poor record against the South Americans, though that didn’t stop Didier Deschamps’ men from securing what was ultimately an easy victory. A combination of good fortune and an unusually soft La Celeste side, a side without one of their best players in Edinson Cavani, played a big part in Les Bleus’ 2-0 victory, though it must be said that they deservedly came through on top without overly exerting themselves.
In contrast, France will go into their quarter-final tie against Belgium with a very different head-to-head record. Having faced each other no less than 73 times, France and Belgium are no strangers in footballing terms, and while it is Belgium who have the better overall record in this fixture with 30 victories to their name, the French have tended to come out on top when it matters most, as they’ve won each of the three previous renewals at major tournaments.
France’s overall record against Belgium:
Played – 73
Won – 24
Drawn – 19
Lost – 30
France’s competitive record against Belgium:
Played – 11 (8 in qualifying, 3 at major tournaments)
Won – 5 (2 in qualifying, 3 at major tournaments)
Drawn – 3 (in qualifying)
Lost – 3 (in qualifying)
Three big games, three big wins:
France may have come off second best more often than not against their Belgian opponents, though they’ve not struggled to overcome them on the big stage. Les Bleus have made light work of seeing off their neighbours at major tournaments, scoring an impressive 12 goals in the process. Games between the two at major tournaments have tended to be lively affairs. Each of the three renewals, two of which came at the World Cup, has seen at least four goals go in. The omens are good for those who wish to see a thrilling goal-filled encounter in Saint Petersburg.
Fun Fact: France have never scored less than three goals against Belgium at a major tournament.
Read More: France vs Belgium Predictions
France 3 – 1 Belgium (1938 World Cup)
When the French took on Belgium at the World Cup in 1938, in what was the first ever competitive match between the two nations, it took forward Émile Veinante, who eventually went on to score 14 goals in just 24 appearances for Les Bleus, no more than 35 minutes to open the scoring. That goal, which remains one of the fastest ever scored at the World Cup finals, set France on their way to a 3-1 victory.
France 5 – 0 Belgium (1984 European Championship)
46 years after their 3-1 victory in Paris, France, who were once again tournament hosts, took on Belgian during the group stages of the 1984 European Championships. As was the case when the teams met all those years ago, Les Bleus took an early lead. After just four minutes, Michel Platini, who is widely regarded as not just one of France’s greatest but one of the best playmakers ever to grace a football pitch, scored the first of five goals, as France cruised to a resounding victory over their neighbours.
Alain Giresse and Luis Fernandez, both of whom were part of France’s famous midfield quartet known as ‘Carré Magique’, scored first half goals before the legendary Platini completed his hat-trick in the second half.
Belgium 2 – 4 France (1986 World Cup)
Two years on and France were once again banging in the goals against the Belgians. Having both come up short in the semi-finals at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, it was the French who picked themselves up to seal the consolation prize of finishing third. However, though they did eventually score four goals, their third victory over Belgium at a major tournament was anything but simple. Having led both 1-0 and 2-1, thanks to goals form Jean-Marc Ferreri and Jean-Pierre Papin, the Belgians fought back, taking the game to extra-time. Goals from Bernard Genghini and Manuel Amoros during the additional 30 minutes ensured that Les Bleus maintained their 100% record against Belgium in tournament football.
France’s current crop will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of those who went before by recording yet another convincing victory over Belgium when the two go head-to-head in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening, though they’re task against Belgium’s golden generation is no easy one.
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