Sunday, 18 November, 2018

How to Watch France vs Belgium

Olivier Giroud Thierry Henry France Belgium 2018 World Cup Getty Images
Herman Weaver | 10 July, 2018, 21:38

Brazil simply could not cope with him in the first half of their quarter-final.

Chadli netted a dramatic stoppage-time victor in the round of 16 against Japan as Belgium came from two goals down to win 3-2. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the semi-final encounter.

His predecessor, Marc Wilmots, recalled putting De Bruyne up against Serbia defender Aleksandar Kolarov in a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup.

Matuidi, who was suspended for the 2-0 quarterfinal win over Uruguay last Friday, comes into midfield to replace Corentin Tolisso. Witsel and Marouane Fellaini aren't adept at stopping quick interchanges, and so the thought of Olivier Giroud's excellent lay-offs, Griezmann's brilliant space-creating passes, and Mbappe's speed should terrify Belgian fans.

It is easy to see something similar happening on Wednesday, when N'Golo Kante will often be screening the defence alone as Belgium break.

When Belgium went out to Argentina in 2014, frustration could not hide the fact that there would be more opportunities.

Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez have grown as the tournament has worn on, but the real heroes have been Raphael Varane and Sam Umtiti. The Chelsea man will also be facing off against Eden Hazard, and will certainly be looking to get one over his team-mate at club level.

The former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland star is in St Petersburg for RTÉ Sport for the first of the last four-games tonight between France and Belgium. 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.

Belgium can call upon the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, while Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have shone for France in Russian Federation.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne make up a potent three-man attack. For nearly all of his two years in charge, he has operated with a back three and it looked like the returning Vincent Kompany would slot in between Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

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Henry was part of the 1998 team that won the World Cup on home turf, scoring three goals in his first major tournament and converting a penalty in a nerve-rattling shoo-out against Italy in the quarter finals.

Which players of African origin do you think will shine in the clash between France and Belgium?

Head to Head - the Belgians have the better record, having won 30 to the French's 24 and 19 games ending in a draw.

"It's just a very strong team, but for me Mbappe is the best". According to it, Hazard completed all 10 of his attempted dribbles in the game, the most in World Cup history. "I believe that, in order to win a championship, you must play, collectively, as a team", he said.

Against Brazil, his defensive abilities came to the fore, and he will need to keep Antoine Griezmann quiet in similar fashion on Tuesday if France are to be eliminated.

But he's a more one-dimensional threat than Hazard.

Just four teams remain at FIFA World Cup 2018.

The game kicks off at 2 p.m. EST. France and Belgium have eliminated South America's three biggest nations, and confidence is sure to be running high in both camps. They are an impressive side with strength, depth and some flair.

Belgium offers multiple threats, including the speed and trickery of forward Eden Hazard and the strength and finishing of striker Romelu Lukaku, who has scored four goals in Russian Federation.

Hello! And welcome to our live coverage of this evening's World Cup semi-final between France and Belgium at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

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