Kevin De Bruyne’s versatility paying off for Belgium at World Cup

Ruben Hill
July 10, 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". In it Griezmann and a pint-sized friend chase down Henry and, after bending over to sign a soccer ball, the player turns to a pair of teammates and says "they're our successors".

On Tuesday, he will represent the enemy. He has a specific job on the Belgium coaching staff, to coach the attacking players and counsel on strategies; it is part-time role, outside his broadcasting work in English television, and his rank in the Belgian staff hierarchy is well beneath that of manager Roberto Martinez.

His pace and dribbling skill, and sangfroid as a finisher made him close to the flawless modern forward, devastating on the counter-attack, able to drift into wide positions to search for opportunity. To think that he will wish France to lose is even weirder.

Didier Deschamps was invited to count his blessings yesterday.

Olivier Giroud shares the same opinion: "He gives his precise and important advice to the Belgians". "For him tomorrow it could be a bit hard, but he works for Belgium now, he wants us to win".

"I would be proud to show Titi that he chose the wrong camp", Giroud said yesterday, referring to Henry by his nickname. "It will be a special match for him". They know each other so well.

As quick as Chadli is, Belgium can't counter Mbappe with speed, they'll have to do it with good positional play and smart tactics.

They never lost a single game playing for France together (21 matches, 16 wins, 5 draws) and won the World Cup in 1998 and the Euro in 2000. On social media, Henry has been vilified by many French fans as a "traitor". His standout performance against Uruguay, which amounted to a monumental defensive effort from the French which earned him his spot here, earning 66.5 points in their quarter-final win and a consistent performer before that.

"He's given the team the desire to attack", French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said of Henry's influence on the Belgian team.

"That's life. He has been in England for a long time. He changed things, put his own mark and has great potential and I congratulate him at being here".

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When it comes to World Cup titles, France has bragging rights - for now.

Henry's story with France started like in a dream and ended in a nightmare. While France may not have set the world alight, the former Marseille manager's team have conceded a mere four goals in five matches. He was a dazzling footballer, a serial champion with Arsenal, Barcelona and his country, but sometimes found the limelight and scrutiny that came with the fame a little uncomfortable.

Croatia´s midfielder Luka Modric celebrates scoring his penalty during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Russian Federation and Croatia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on July 7, 2018. The love story turned sour.

"A Duel Between Friends" declared France's Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday, with a cartoon on the front page taken from the comic book "Asterix in Belgium", when the plucky Gauls encounter a rival tribe from across the border.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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