France, Belgium Clash In Mouth-Watering Semi-Final Matchup

France, Belgium Clash In Mouth-Watering Semi-Final Matchup

France and Belgium meet in the first World Cup semi-final in St. Petersburg on Tuesday as two of the tournament's most talented teams aim to fulfill the promise latent within their ranks. Belgium is the highest-ranked team left in the competition, sitting at number three in the world, with France at number seven.

With England or Croatia awaiting, the victor of this one will go in to Sunday's final as the favorites.

Why did Eden Hazard support France?

If only France's young players had an outstanding ex-pro they could turn to for advice about how to beat Belgium in the World Cup semi-finals, someone who won the World Cup himself in 1998 and who scored more goals than anyone in his stellar career with Les Bleus.

Thierry Henry has never been slow coming forward - on or off the field - but the unusual thing is that he has only ever given one interview in his role as what the Belgian FA call "the second assistant" to manager Roberto Martinez.

Belgium v France for a place in a World Cup final, is already being labelled the "Thierry Henry Derby". He is on the bench and facing his home nation, but he did know that from the time he was joining the management team to be an assistant to Martinez this could happen. "But tomorrow, on a professional level, he will be putting all the passion that drives him into the Belgian team". De Bruyne just missed out on end-of-season honors from the players' and writers because of Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah's goal glut. Kevin De Bruyne, the attack-minded midfielder, coupled savvy with a pure shot from distance to find the net. But this is a hard situation, it is not easy for him'.

France´s Antoine Griezmann during training, Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg Russia - July 9, 2018. Henry may have a confined role, but he is part of an admired coaching team, led by Martinez, who have been tactically dynamic in the tournament, sometimes in adversity, as when substitutions rescued a 2-0 deficit against Japan; sometimes very proactively, when some radical changes, in formation and deployment of key players, underpinned a famous victory, against Brazil in the last eight.

Belgium have scored 14 goals in five matches and were hugely impressive in their 2-1 quarter-final victory over Brazil, with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne combining to devastating effect to oust the five-times world champions.

France are favourites due to their mix of youth and experience allied to tournament nous after they reached the Euro 2016 final.

It was a two-year process for manager Roberto Martinez to harness the individual talents of Belgium's golden generation and bring them to the brink of the World Cup final, he said on Monday. We can't leave him any space because he's a quality player.

Both Belgium and France will battle it out for a place in the World Cup final, where the victor will face either England or Croatia next Sunday.

However, they say they will have no objection if the Centre Court crowd want to take sneak peeks of the action from Moscow on their phones.

"It's a super exciting game with great players on both sides", France defender Benjamin Pavard said. Harry Maguire's brilliant aerial performances so far this tournament, culminating in him winning 22 headers against Sweden and Colombia, would suggest Jordan Pickford's goal won't be regularly troubled.

Croatia can count on Real Madrid´s midfield talisman Luka Modric, named man of the match three times in Russian Federation, but his teammate Andrej Kramaric says England´s lack of superstars is what makes them a cohesive unit.

'When you go to a club overseas and play one from your own country, you are part of the enemy team, ' said France coach Didier Deschamps on Monday.

That match was during the World Cup in Mexico and was a third place playoff after both sides had been knocked out at the Semi-Final stage.