Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

27-year-old looks like a man on a mission to bring the WC trophy for the first time in the country’s history

Both teams have overcome hard South American opposition to reach the last four.

So not only do we not know what he thinks about Tuesday's World Cup semi-final clash against his native France, we don't really know what he thinks about his role at all. With former France striker Thierry Henry as an assistant coach, Belgium leads the scoring in Russian Federation with 14 goals in its five World Cup matches.

There was less at stake the last time the teams last went head-to-head at the World Cup, a 4-2 victory for France in the third-place match in 1986.

France and Belgium will meet Tuesday in St. Petersburg, after both teams booked their spots among the most talented in the 2018 staging of the soccer World Cup.

"England was one of the favourites for me for the tournament because they have a young and hungry team with no big, global stars, so it won´t be easy for us". Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him.

Now France's head coach, Deschamps admits it will be "strange" to see Henry in the opposite dugout. This allowed De Bruyne to dominate the number ten zone (by dropping into it, rather than hover there, which is easier to mark) and Lukaku to arc into the centre-forward spaces left when De Bruyne vacated (and pulled centre-backs with him). But he knows that he has been working for two years to prepare for these seven games and that his players have the same commitment toward the goal. Henry, scorer of goals that frequently had his audiences asking "How did he do that?" when he was a player, works with Belgian strikers on the fine details of finishing; he is there to divulge secrets, and keep those secrets in a closed circle.

Former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Henry was part of the French squad that won the World Cup on home soil 20 years ago and played 123 times for his country, scoring 51 times.

"He plays an extremely important role for Martinez", Pfaff said. "Apart from goalkeeper I could tell you that he could not just play, he could perform at the highest level in any position. That's the quality that he has". France beat Argentina 4-3 in the last-16 round thanks to Kylian Mbappe's virtuoso display, while Belgium impressed in a 2-1 win over Brazil in the quarterfinals.

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Belgium's chances of stopping their opponents are dented by the absence of suspended right back Thomas Meunier but Deschamps believes his charges are equally capable of adapting to any situation.

However, what poses as reason for excitement for the French is that winning ugly is a true sign of champions.

"Will they do something similar for us?"

The Manchester United striker has chipped in with four goals and, as for the diminutive midfielder, he's typically worked tirelessly in the middle of the park.

"If Belgium scores and eventually win, will he (Henry) sit and not join the celebration? lets be practical here".

In our more comprehensive guide for how to watch the World Cup 2018 for free, we covered all of the strategies for live streaming games.

The victor will face either Croatia or England, who play Thursday (2am Malaysia time), in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. With the sides hard to separate on paper, how they handle the pressure, and perhaps those little nuggets of inside knowledge, could make all the difference.

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