March 20, 2019

Hazard to go up against adopted France of his hero Zidane

10 July 2018, 04:59 | Anna Jefferson

Harry Kane Luka Modric

Harry Kane Luka Modric

Belgium has finally lived up to the hype surrounding them!

He needs one goal to move ahead of France great Zinedine Zidane.

'"I would be proud to show [him] that he chose the wrong camp", Olivier Giroud, the closest active pursuer to Henry's French record of 51 global goals, told reporters. The 25-year-old Varane has been does well in Russian Federation, scoring the first goal against Uruguay with a header.

Belgium's defender Thomas Meunier (C) and team-mates eye the ball as they prepare for the semi-final against France during a training session at the Guchkovo Stadium on Monday.

But when France played host to Belgium in Saint Cloud in April 1906, the French secured revenge by winning 5-0.

Two years later France won a European Champions, with Henry again leading the team with three goals.

Head coach Roberto Martinez changed tactics against Brazil, abandoning his favoured 3-4-2-1 formation. It took several years and attempts for Belgium's golden generation to show that they are ready to finally take that leap forward, and this coaching team has a lot to do with their current success. Belgium deserve high praise for their all-round performance against Brazil but in truth, they might not have even been in this semifinal were it not for a quite brilliant performance from Courtois, in particular his save from Neymar at the very last.

De Bruyne and Belgium will be hoping he has a rare off-night though, as they battle for the right to play England or Croatia in the World Cup final. But there's little doubt that he's doing a fine job with Belgium so far: They haven't lost since his first game, and against Brazil he produced a tactical switch that few expected, but ultimately worked beautifully. Both matches happened during the Round of 16.

Much was made about France's lack of depth in full-back positions, but Lucas Hernandez has proved a solid addition to the squad.

18 of the 20 World Cups of all-time have gone to nations that aren't these four - have we ever seen such an open contest? France then excelled in the extra 30 minutes and goals from Bernard Genghini and Manuel Amoros led France to third place.

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.

Midfielder Blaise Matuidi returns after a ban and is likely to go straight back into the starting XI at the expense of Corentin Tolisso, who filled in during the quarter-final victory over Uruguay.

The likes of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann could pose a serious threat to a Belgian defense not exactly blessed with pace, but Didier Deschamps's men will have to be wary of Belgium's attacking trio. He has been crucial to Belgium's success and he will be a big loss for the Red Devils. The interview is off to a good start: There's probably no better way to greet him.

It's going to be a thrilling match no doubt and don't be surprised if this one ends up going the full distance.

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