France vs Belgium key head-to-head battles

France forward Antoine Griezmann, defender Rafael Varane and forward Olivier Giroud

Roberto Martinez's surprise 4-3-3 was just insane enough to confuse the Brazil defence throughout the first half of their quarter-final, which puts them in a strong position to do something similar on the counter-attack against France - particularly through the middle.

"He is first and foremost French. But tomorrow, on a professional level, he will be putting all the passion that drives him into the Belgian team".

Coming to Henry's defense was former team mate and fellow World Cup victor Emmanuel Petit who slammed the criticism of Henry as "a load of rubbish".

But their secret weapon could be on the sidelines in the shape of one of France's greatest players of all time, Thierry Henry, who is now assistant to head coach Roberto Martinez.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup France vs Belgium Semi-final will be played at St Petersberg, Russia. Following a first half, in which Belgium dominated possession but France had the better in chances, Umtiti headed the French into the lead just five minutes after the break.

Hours away from what will be the most important game in his career and for the national team he now coaches, a semifinal clash against France in Saint Petersburg, Martinez looks affable, relaxed and confident.

There will be a "hunger to win" and a desire to show Henry that he picked the wrong side, France forward Olivier Giroud said.

"Kevin De Bruyne is a modern playmaker in the fact that he goes even quicker than what you can see, " Martinez said.

Not only did this change help in pressurising the duo of Fernandinho and Paulinho, but it also gave playmaker Kevin De Bruyne the platform to take risks and put himself in advanced positions. We know there are going to be hard moments, and we'll have to be ready to suffer.

"He is lucky to be with a team with a fine generation of players. Personally, I have little contact [with him]".

France Advances To World Cup Final
My job is to be good on the pitch, to represent France as well as possible. July 8, 2018 France's Olivier Giroud during news conference.

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"Life can be like that sometimes".

"That's life. He has been in England for a long time". That perhaps there's such an abundance of talent on the side that it's essentially been able to beat every team set out in front of it without really needing to get out of third gear?

"We know them and they know us", said Deschamps.

"Varane's very confident after the season he had with Real Madrid, winning the Champions League again", Lloris said.

"Because of the seven years I spent in France I feel 99 percent Belgian and one percent French, but the idea of taking French nationality never crossed my mind" Hazard once said when asked about the possibility. It's not just his work rate, not just his tackling.

Didier Deschamps tweaked his formation, effectively freeing up Kylian Mbappe on the right to run at the Argentine defence, and what followed was a wonderful display of attacking football that France won 4-3.

When and what time is the semi-final match between France vs Belgium?

"He's a different player now, and he will be a star for the next 15 years". "Martinez regularly asks him for advice and he listens to it". "I think the Belgians will arrive with a lot of confidence".

Giroud, who like Henry was an Arsenal forward until he joined Chelsea past year, wishes Henry were on the French staff.

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