Inside knowledge abounds as France and Belgium meet in semifinals

Tanya Simon
July 10, 2018

These links extend to their respective football teams, who meet on Tuesday evening to contest a place in the World Cup final. Nacer Chadli, who played a left wing-back, in the match vs Brazil will be shifted to the right flank, the position he played vs England.

Didier Deschamps side ground out narrow victories against Australia and Peru before playing out a boring 0-0 draw with Denmark - the only goalless draw of the tournament thus far.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) v Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti (France) France have conceded only three goals on the way to the semi-finals, and the central defensive pair snuffed out the attacking threat of Luis Suarez in the quarter-final against Uruguay, barely allowing him a touch in the penalty area.

Roberto Martinez has a major headache ahead of the game against France, with Thomas Meunier set to miss out the semi-final tie. The Red Devils were largely untroubled in the group stage. Les Blues won 3-1 in 1938 and 4-2 in 1986.

Belgium produced what was heralded as a coming of age performance against Brazil in the quarter-final, blowing the five-time winners away with a display of attacking verve that was mixed with grit and resilience in defence. Martinez got his tactics spot on, dishing out a masterclass in counter-attacking football, winning the match 2-1. "They both deserve to be elected as best keeper of the tournament, even if I have a preference for Hugo", he said. They've nearly played an extra game at this point while England more or less strolled through Saturday's match with Sweden after resting everyone in its group stage meeting with Belgium.

From 32 nations at the World Cup, four remain.

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As you can imagine those of us that have family and children I feel so bad for this family", said Master Corporal Jaffe. Saturday at Milton Votee Park in Teaneck. "They go to church", he said said. " It's certainly heartbreaking.

So far in Russia, Hazard looks like a man on a mission to ensure Belgium's so-called golden generation live up to their billing by bringing home the World Cup for the first time in the country's history.

It was a back and forth match, demonstrating the fact that third place playoffs tend to be very open affairs where both side's throw caution to the wind with very little to lose.

France and Belgium goes down tonight. A roster with most of its key players still under 25 meant that there was time to fulfill their potential.

France have been less porous than Belgium, conceding four goals in Russian Federation to Belgium's five - and have kept clean sheets in three of their five games. Harry Kane has more goals but the Manchester United striker's performances have been brilliant even when he didn't find the net: see his dummy for the victor against Japan, or the run that set up De Bruyne against Brazil.

Sports Illustrated: "Calling this one is immensely hard". Both sides are coming off of impressive quarter-final performances and there is a sense that the victor of the tournament will probably come from this tie. Unless Pogba is told to sit deep (he won't) or Blaise Matuidi can get all the way across from the left to help out (also unlikely) then Belgium will do serious damage. Now, with Kylian Mbappe their new standard-bearer, they are dreaming of getting there again.

He is an obvious, natural role model for any forward, and the ideal one for, say, a precious, strong pacey striker who, like him, was born on the outskirts of Paris, and, like him, served his apprenticeship at Monaco and, like him, scored crucial goals to galvanise a World Cup campaign. The interview is off to a good start: There's probably no better way to greet him.

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