Follow the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium

Angelo Anderson
July 10, 2018

OVERLOOKING the Gulf of Finland, the Krestovsky Stadium awaits a football classic on Tuesday evening. The pair, both 22, have only 20 worldwide appearances between them but are playing with good composure.

Both France and Belgium will head into the clash unbeaten at the 2018 World Cup so far, with both nations topping their respective groups earlier in the competition.

The only difference being is that France have history to live up to.

France will meet a European side only for the second time during the current World Cup, as their previous opponents outside of Denmark included Australia, Peru, Argentina and Uruguay.

Belgium's confidence will be high after they knocked out Brazil in the quarter-finals and they are the only team to have won all their matches in Russian Federation, top-scoring with 14 goals.

"We know him, he has a lot of passion for football and he will be with the Belgians and will give everything to help his team". We need to rise to challenge and keep doing what we've been doing.

Not to mention Romelu Lukaku and N'Golo Kante who have also starred in Russian Federation. Kevin De Bruyne combined with the ex-Chelsea man to score a thunderous strike past a hapless Allison, dominating proceedings in an advanced false 9 role. The last time the two were involved in a Manchester derby, Pogba inspired a scintillating United comeback for a 3-2 victory.

Chadli could play as a right wing-back for Belgium in the absence of the suspended Thomas Meunier, with Thomas Vermaelen possibly starting. "Each player would be defending his colours".

And the presence of French World Cup victor Thierry Henry on the Belgian coaching staff as one of Martinez's assistants adds extra spice to the occasion.

Giroud suggested Henry's real aim is to learn enough to earn a spot on the French coaching staff some day.

Lloris has been criticized during the past year after errors for France and Tottenham.

"It happens sometimes when you play in a foreign club and come back and play against a French team".

Deschamps, captain of the national team that won their own World Cup with Henry in it 20 years ago, has previously called his former team-mate's decision "bizarre". Anyway, it is the Spaniard and long-term ally Jones who run the show, with Henry decorating the fringes on a relatively modest salary of around £100,000 a year that he is said to donate to charity. He is more proactive than reactive.

"We know we have some unbelievable players and a great manager and everyone is clear on what we want to do".

Deschamps also took a jibe at Martinez. For him this game could be hard but he is working for us now and he wants us to win. "On the personal front it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow".

Otherwise, there was respect and admiration in equal measure.

Deschamps had appeared cautious to allow players such as Mbappe free rein early on in Russian Federation, but there is the growing feeling that he is now offering more attacking licence to a team so rich in talent going forward. "They do it well, they do it fast". They're expected to field their strongest teams for this one. "They are a fantastic team".

There are too many layers to his game, you have to worry about his speed, dribbling, eye for a pass and his intelligence to turn the attention on him into an opportunity to open up the game for his teammates.

Remember this? Ahead of the Belgium v France match in the World Cup tonight, we look back at when Hazard & Kante chatted Hazard and Kante during the 2016/17 season. They are an impressive side with strength, depth and some flair. It's a unique moment for us to improve further.

Only time will tell if their burgeoning partnership will come to the fore against Belgium's brilliant attacking trio of Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku.

Fox Sport Asia: "This should be a very intriguing match-up given the depth of talent that these two teams have".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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