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

He is also among the only two French players to have played every minute of this World Cup so far.

“I was in a negative spiral all season at West Brom”, he said.

France’s World Cup semi-final with Belgium has all the makings to be a potential classic tonight.

It will be interesting to see who Roberto Martinez picks as his replacement. “It is true that it is unusual to have him against us for this match”. There are always surprises.

Henry’s old worldwide colleague Didier Deschamps has not won over everybody in his time as France coach, as he continues to favour a cautious approach despite being able to call on some of the finest attacking talents in world football.

For the first time this summer, the benefits of training under Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino became clear. With that said, our CBS Sports prognosticators have locked in their predictions for the semifinals below.

However, the Belgians will meet a French team in St. Petersburg that has emerged as a gilded generation of its own.

Having reached the last four for the sixth time in their history, the 39-year-old feels Didier Deschamps’ side have all it takes to get past the Red Devils and win the championship in Russian Federation.

On Belgium’s side, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, Youri Tielemans and Dedryck Boyata each have at least one Congolese parent, with Congo having been a colony of the European nation until 1960. He was part of Belgium’s coaching staff at three World Cups, including 1986, when they finished fourth.

Didier Deschamps has one of the strongest squads in the tournament, and it’s hard to find a weakness in his team.

His performance meant he started against Brazil in the quarterfinal in Kazan. Martinez is playing with three center backs and has used Nacer Chadli, Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Meunier as wing-backs and it’s somehow worked out.

The victory boosted France’s morale, and they followed it up with a workman-like 2-0 win over Uruguay that was impressive because of how well they managed to control the game against tricky opponents. Defeated Brazil in the quarterfinals, 2-1.

Sean Wagner-McGough’s take: Before the tournament, I picked Belgium to beat France in the semifinals, so there’s no reason for me to switch the pick now.

Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said Henry might sing France’s national anthem before the game, but his loyalties firmly lie with his new side.

The Croatians just battled Russian Federation for 120 minutes in an exhausting affair in Sochi. Soccer is a cruel game.

For his 5 ft 6 frame, he is not even supposed to make so many headed interceptions and win aerial duels, but he does them nevertheless owing to his anticipatory skills, positioning and pitch coverage.

But those frictions, which extend from food to comic strips (Do you prefer France’s “Asterix” or Belgium’s “Tintin”?) to language pronunciation, will be ramped up to breaking point when their respective teams take to the field at 1800 GMT. Prediction: Belgium 3, France 2. Performances have gotten worse since and it’s there for England. “I would have preferred to have Henry on our side, to give me and the other French forwards advice, but I am not too jealous”. An estimated 3M-5M more likely watched on giant screens in bars and town squares throughout the country, which at this time of year especially in the south is flooded with Belgian tourists.

“This group of players needs to play without fear to keep all of its options open”. There will be gaps between Luka Modric and the back four for Lingard, Alli, and Sterling to work their magic, pushing Croatia back and earning set-pieces.

Yet now the hidden Henry, who has hinted at his ambitions for a senior management career one day, is about to spend an evening as just about the most scrutinised third-down-the-pecking-order coach in history.

“That’s life. He has been in England for a long time”.

But France also have the ghost of previous high-profile failures behind them, specifically the Euro 2016 final that they should in theory have strolled against Portugal only to choke on home turf. Luka Modric, Croatia’s chief playmaker, should have his way with England’s midfield.

Captain Harry Kane is leading England´s charge with six goals so far, putting him top in the race for the Golden Boot.

France have only been improving over the course of their World Cup campaign