Monday, 22 October, 2018

France and Belgium battle for place in World Cup final

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       Olivier Giroud wants to show Thierry Henry he was wrong not to pick France 0:33 Olivier Giroud wants to show Thierry Henry he was wrong not to pick France
Charles Bowen | 10 July, 2018, 23:32

Asked how much this "Golden Generation" can accomplish, Martinez said: "It is important for everyone to understand that Belgium has a population of 11 million and that the current generation of players did not happen by accident".

Samuel Umtiti eventually broke the deadlock for Les Bleus five minutes into the second stanza with a glancing header at the near post following a corner, 1-0.

Wednesday night's crunch encounter will see the Three Lions face off against the grit of Croatia for a place in the World Cup final in Moscow.

Belgium's 27-year-old skipper is far more unpredictable. Along with Eden Hazard's free role, this completely bamboozled Brazil - even causing Fernandinho, usually so dominant, to twist and turn helplessly. De Bruyne just missed out on end-of-season honors from the players' and writers because of Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah's goal glut.

Belgium managed to deny Neymar last time out, but they must now do the same with Mbappe who dismantled Argentina in the last 16.

Martinez' men are the only side to have won all of their games in 90 minutes in Russian Federation and are the tournament's top scorers with 14 goals.

To do so, though, he must prevent France's own talented crop of Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann from following in Zidane's footsteps in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

"I would be proud to show him that he picked the wrong side".

Long linked with a transfer to Real Madrid, a move to Spain looks more realistic this summer than at any time of his Chelsea career, with Madrid president Florentino Perez often influenced by outstanding World Cup performances and Ronaldo looking set to exit the Santiago Bernabeu.

More news: Amesbury Incident: Charlie Rowley conscious

- Make your daily ESPN FC Match Predictor picks!

The game at Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, starts at 9 p.m. local time, or 2 p.m.

How to watch on TV: Fox. It can also be streamed on mobile or tablet via the Fox Sports Go app, which can be downloaded in Apple's app store and the Google Play store.

The victor will face either England or Croatia in Moscow for the title on Sunday, July 15.

Previous results: In group play, defeated Australia, 2-1; defeated Peru, 1-0; tied Denmark, 0-0. Barring a Kylian Mbappe-inspired 4-3 victory over Argentina, France have lacked cohesion in the final third.

Best World Cup finish: Champion, 1998. 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.

Federation Internationale de Football Association world ranking: 7. In Meunier's absence, Martinez may scrap his 3-5-2 formation with wingbacks, and instead switch to a back four in a more compact defence.

Federation Internationale de Football Association world ranking: 3. Eden Hazard was in rare form against Brazil, seemingly keeping the ball on a string attached to his feet. The Red Devils and Les Bleus are competing for a spot in the World Cup final, and both teams are bringing world-class attacking talent to the match.

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