Respect in equal measure as France and Belgium vie for final spot

11 July, 2018, 04:53 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • S AFP EPA REUTERS

It's the third time France has reached the final in the last six World Cups.

We look at France and Belgium's combined XI based on their performances so far at the World Cup ahead of their semi-final showdown. "But if they [Belgium] play their style of football they can play the role of the capable underdog and beat the mighty French team and book a spot in the final".

"Vive la France! Vive la Republique!"

Les Bleus will include Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in their starting XI while the Red Devils' line-up will feature Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

They are the only side with a 100% record in this year's World Cup and the way the dispatched Brazil in the quarter-final was very impressive.

"There will be players who will have their club team-mates on the opposite side", France coach Didier Deschamps said at the pre-match press conference on Monday.

A year later, again in Brussels, the match wasn't so close, with the hosts annihilating the French 7-0.

They rank 17th in the tournament for touches inside the penalty area (12.53 per game), and only 25.7% of their shots are on target, the seventh lowest in the World Cup.

Modric was superb against Russian Federation, once again putting in a man-of-the-match performance to drag Croatia to the semi-finals. Belgium are buzzing after their victory over Brazil while France are flying following their win against Uruguay.

Samuel Umtiti proved to be the difference as he rose highest at the near post to plant a header home from a corner past Thibaut Courtois.


"It's me that scored", Umtiti said, "but we all delivered a big game".

While Giroud also stated that he has massive respect for Henry, who collected 123 caps for France and won the 1998 World Cup, the Chelsea attacker would like to get one over on the Arsenal legend in the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

In search of the equalizer, Belgium repeatedly sent over crosses from both wings but Umtiti and Varane, both centre backs, used their bodies cleverly to hold off Fellaini and Lukaku.

While, Martinez isn't expected to mirror the entirety of his masterplan against France, this newfound setup is the flawless marriage between Belgium's high-flying offensive interplay and resoluteness at the back with the Alderweireld-Kompany-Vertonghen trio coming to the fore against one of the tournament's most potent attacking threats in Brazil.

England´s coach Gareth Southgate (R) and England´s forward Harry Kane celebrate after winning during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018.

French football despite being one of the most popular players that France has ever produced.

With Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar no longer in Russia, Eden Hazard and Mbappe have taken over as the stars of the World Cup and there was a buzz every time either got the ball.

"We played together as teammates and he was much younger and I was at the end of my career".

"Well we've just seen in 90 seconds why this boy is going to be the best player in the world", he said while commentating on the game.

However, Umtiti popped up with the game's telling moment early in the second half, nodding the ball home to score his third global goal.

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