France Team, Predicted Playing XI vs Belgium

France Team, Predicted Playing XI vs Belgium

However, their backline will face its biggest test yet against a Belgian team that are top scorers at Russian Federation 2018 with 14 goals in their five games, with the strikes coming from nine different players - a record in diversity shared with the French team of 1982 and Italian side of 2006.

Olivier Giroud was put in a tricky situation this week when he was asked who was the better goalkeeper: Chelsea teammate Thibaut Courtois or France teammate Hugo Lloris?

"Like everybody, I was surprised when he got the job, but it was a masterclass the last night against Brazil", said Whelan.

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"It is freakish to have Thierry against us in this match", Giroud told reporters.

Belgium, the tournament's top scorers, have not reached this stage since 1986 when they finished fourth.

Not particularly noticeable during games, Henry is rarely seen next to Martinez or his No 2 Graham Jones in the technical area. For nearly all of his two years in charge, he has operated with a back three and it looked like the returning Vincent Kompany would slot in between Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

Belgium started as underdogs against a defensively organised and offensively clinical Brazil. The approach worked then, but will it succeed against France's frequently devastating attacking trio? "We can only be ourselves and we already have time to use this World Cup as an advantage with the newest generations". In the end, both find their scoring touch, but France's defense is a bit better and makes the difference.

Again, this might depend on which system Martinez chooses.

French midfielder N'Golo Kante has quietly been one of the tidiest players at this tournament. He is an obvious, natural role model for any forward, and the ideal one for, say, a precious, strong pacey striker who, like him, was born on the outskirts of Paris, and, like him, served his apprenticeship at Monaco and, like him, scored crucial goals to galvanise a World Cup campaign.

Pay-TV outlet BeIN Sport is also showing the game in France.

This is an extremely tough call.

With the second-youngest roster at the World Cup, France has shown no fear and advanced to its first World Cup semifinal since 2006 led by 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe and a pair of inexperienced attacking fullbacks in Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez.

Striker Romelu Lukaku will need to be on form if the Belgian's are to cause an upset.

His performance meant he started against Brazil in the quarterfinal in Kazan. "On the personal front it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow". In it, Pogba made his sixth assist of the season to Lukaku alone, having taken 51 games to reach the same number total in the previous campaign.

Martinez, on the other hand, is a coach who lays emphasis to lovely, attacking football. "There is a big rivalry between France and Belgium, it's like a derby match".

These two historic nations were Les Bleus' opponents during the Round of 16 and the quarter-finals, respectively, but Didier Deschamps' men brushed them aside with relative ease. There's still a sense that he could be doing more with the brilliant set of players at his disposal, France frequently a fairly stodgy team to watch, relying on moments of brilliance from Pogba, Mbappe or Griezmann.

In France they feel a little bemused by it all. Still, Martinez just edges this on the basis that he seems to add more to his team than Deschamps.