Thomas Rongen’s take: Two of Europe’s heavyweights meet in Saint Petersburg.
As Argentina showed, France can be susceptible defensively. Both teams will feel suitably prepared for a game of this importance having eliminated South America’s three biggest nations.
Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were also outstanding against the Brazilians and Belgium have won their last two matches without this pair finding the net.
Two years later Hazard made his professional debut in Ligue 1 and went on to become French football’s brightest talent, twice winning the league’s player of the year prize and leading Lille to a Ligue 1 and Cup double in 2010-11.
Previously, as a TV pundit, Henry suggested that Giroud was not good enough, saying in 2015 that Arsenal could not win the English Premier League with him in attack and needed “a top, top-quality striker”.
“At the time, there wasn’t the jersey of Belgium, that’s why we wore the one of France”.
Igor Mello’s take: Consider me a believer of the Red Devils after a clinical performance by Roberto Martinez’s men against Brazil in the quarterfinals. He’s a great forward who has scored goals wherever he’s gone, and more than that, he’s a great guy. Prediction: Belgium 2, France 2 (Belgium advances in penalties).
The back-three of Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany and Toby Alderweireld were at their most impressive thus far against Brazil.
“With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with ’98”, Hazard told the press. Mbappe is being extensively praised by football observers from all over the world right now, with Belgium’s Hazard deeming the 19-year-old a strong candidate for the Ballon d’Or award. With no natural replacement in his squad, the Belgium manager will have to bank on the duo of Nacer Chadli and Yannick Carrasco to be his wing-backs. Soccer is a cruel game.
Belgium have had nine different goalscorers in the 2018 World Cup (excluding own goals); only Italy in 2006 and France in 1982 (10 each) have had more in a single tournament.
“This group of players needs to play without fear to keep all of its options open”.
After beating tournament favourites Brazil, Belgium find themselves just one game away from a World Cup final.
The multiple Ballon d’Or victor made noises to the effect that he may leave Real Madrid after nine years, following their third successive Champions League win in May.
“That’s life. He has been in England for a long time”. “We’re ready to go to war with him”.
He must have an affinity for Belgium, maybe an allegiance to them as well. Luka Modric, Croatia’s chief playmaker, should have his way with England’s midfield.
Captain Harry Kane is the man leading England’s charge in Russian Federation with 6 goals so far, putting him top in the race for the Golden Boot.
“For us to finally be able to knock out a formidable opponent is because of the experience we’ve picked up at previous tournaments and also the development of our players at their clubs”, Vermaelen said.