Olivier Giroud has apologised to Chelsea colleague Thibault Courtois for choosing France team-mate Hugo Lloris as the best goalkeeper at the World Cup.
Blues forward Giroud and Belgium keeper Courtois will go head-to-head in the semi-final in St Petersburg on Tuesday night.
Giroud did his best not to stoke the flames, but said he thought Tottenham’s Lloris was the better goalkeeper.
“Thibaut has an impressive wingspan. It’s hard to beat him on the sides. He can stop balls in any area,” Giroud told a press conference.
“I have scored a few goals against him in training with Chelsea and I hope I can do it on Tuesday. They’re both great keepers.
“And they both deserve to be elected as best keeper of the tournament, even if I have a preference for Hugo. The best is Hugo. Sorry Thibaut.”
Courtois has kept two clean sheets in five matches in Russia, while Lloris has two in four.
Giroud, who scored five goals in 18 appearances for Chelsea following his £18million move from Arsenal in January, but has yet to hit the target in this tournament.
“We’re expecting a different game against Belgium, they play beautiful football,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be an open game, they’re not going to just defend, obviously.
“It’s going to be a good game to watch, I think, and enjoyable to play on the pitch.
“Both teams play good football and move forward, so it will also be a tactical battle at some point.”