As is the case in the geographic sense, in which France and Belgium share a border, there’s no apparent distance between the teams. Who will come out on top?
The Belgium vs France FIFA World Cup semifinal will see many English Premier League players on show. Cunha disallowed a goal by Iran’s Saeid Ezatolahi after an assistant referee and the video assistant signaled the player was offside.
From 32 nations at the World Cup, four remain.
But also: “Of course it’s a hard situation”.
There should be fewer questions over France’s defence, which will be the four that started all but one of their matches so far unless there’s a significant surprise.
As Argentina showed, France can be susceptible defensively.
Belgium have finally turned up at a major tournament and have seemingly put their disappointing performances at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 European Championships behind them. He needs one goal to move ahead of France great Zinedine Zidane.
France’s Blaise Matuidi is available after a ban and is set to return in place of fellow midfielder Corentin Tolisso, who deputised against Uruguay. The FC Barcelona centre-back has a knee injury, and his availability will depend on a fitness test closer to kick-off. It’s a contest so stacked with quality it’s more befitting of a final, but given they can be quite cagey affairs, perhaps it’s best this one’s served up a round early.
Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir has been named as the man to officiate England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.
Romelu Lukaku (second left) and Eden Hazard (right) face off against Antoine Griezmann (left) and Kylian Mbappé (second right) as Belgium and France meet in the first of the FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals.
Two years later France won a European Champions, with Henry again leading the team with three goals. Will Belgium be up to the challenge?
France legend Thierry Henry, who was part of the France ’98 team that lifted the trophy and the Germany 2006 team that lost to Italy in the final, will be on the Belgium bench.
The model knows Belgium is coming off a hard-fought 2-1 victory over five-time World Cup winners Brazil.
Meunier is suspended after tripping Brazil star Neymar and earning a second yellow card of the tournament. Paul Pogba will go against Marouane Fellaini.
Friday’s was arguably Hazard’s best in the tournament so far.
Yet now the hidden Henry, who has hinted at his ambitions for a senior management career one day, is about to spend an evening as just about the most scrutinised third-down-the-pecking-order coach in history.
With Belgium trailing Japan 2-0 in the round of 16, Martinez replaced two wide players with two midfielders and they both scored.
They will also have the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.
Top stat: Lukaku has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 13 games for Belgium in all competitions – three assists and a whopping 17 goals.
Both sides know what is like to turn results around during the current World Cup campaign.
Roberto Martinez’s surprise 4-3-3 was just insane enough to confuse the Brazil defence throughout the first half of their quarter-final, which puts them in a strong position to do something similar on the counter-attack against France – particularly through the middle.