Belgium star Hazard: I used to support France growing up

Lawrence Kim
July 11, 2018

Per CBS Sports, "France enters Tuesday's clash against Belgium at +150 on the money line, meaning you'd need to bet $100 on a France victory to win $150".

OVERLOOKING the Gulf of Finland, the Krestovsky Stadium awaits a football classic on Tuesday evening.

Getty Belgium's Golden Generation have reached the nation's first semifinal since 1986. 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.

Belgium's roster and team profile are here. Belgium, on the other hand, are trying to make history.

Didier Deschamps' side, the beaten Euro 2016 finalists, had to withstand a late onslaught from their opponents but held on and will now have the chance to win their first World Cup in 20 years.

"Geographically, we share a border", France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said at the pre-match news conference on Monday. A roster with most of its key players still under 25 meant that there was time to fulfill their potential. "They played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan", said the 49-year-old Deschamps.

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

Martinez replicated his tactic at Everton of deploying Romelu Lukaku as a right-winger against the adventurous Marcelo, leaving the Manchester United forward to torment Miranda and kickstart a plethora of counter-attacks.

Belgium has height and heading ability in defenders Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini. De Bruyne just missed out on end-of-season honors from the players' and writers because of Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah's goal glut.

However, the last time the two sides met, the Belgians won 4-3 in a friendly meeting in 2015. Four years ago in Brazil, the highly-touted Belgian squad lost to the Albiceleste 1-0 in the quarter-finals, limping out rather meekly. "However, during the match, there will be no friendship".

Roberto Martinez smiles and reacts to the phrase "There comes a World Cup semifinalist" as he approaches the ESPN team that will talk to him at the Belgium base camp in Dedovsk.

Thierry Henry has never been slow coming forward - on or off the field - but the unusual thing is that he has only ever given one interview in his role as what the Belgian FA call "the second assistant" to manager Roberto Martinez. It also gives Antoine Griezmann space to roam. "I think that Thierry Henry can be credited with some of the tactical ploys". There isn't a philosophy to the French play, their style of play derived from the personnel they have.

"But he did know that, from the time he was joining the management team and becoming assistant to Martinez, that this could happen". He is more proactive than reactive. "They do it well, they do it fast". "They are a fantastic team". Fubo TV also offers three days of auto recording and 30 hours of Cloud DVR service in case you can't watch the France Belgium game immediately.

"We're not scared of anyone", Pavard said. His run down the left ended with a unsafe cross to the near post, which Samuel Umtiti was forced to put out for a corner-and very almost steered into his own net. We immensely respect the quality of France. Several players have club teammates on the opposite bench. It's a unique moment for us to improve further. "He's given the team the desire to attack", said French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet.

Since then the duo has been impressive and that was underlined with Raphael Varane scoring the opener against Uruguay with a glancing header.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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