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Russian Federation 2018: Semi-final combatants set for showdown

10 July 2018

France right back Pavard, 22, was a surprise inclusion in their squad, but he has had an excellent World Cup so far, capped by him scoring one of the goals of the tournament in the 4-2 win over Argentina. But this time it is much higher because he is going to be on the bench and facing his home nation. Belgium are buzzing after their victory over Brazil while France are flying following their win against Uruguay. They defend well. They know how to attack well.

The teams have played cagily in the opening minutes, with neither side imposing itself on the other. They looking solid at the back in that game and there was no mistake in any department that night.

"To play without fear would probably be the one thing which would help us the most".

Several French players have played alongside their Belgian counterparts for Premier League clubs.

"I would be proud to show Titi that he chose the wrong camp", Giroud said yesterday, referring to Henry by his nickname.

To stand a chance, Belgium needed to optimise their attacking threats, while simultaneously ensuring that they don't grant space to Brazil's quartet of attackers. "I think it's an advantage for our planning", Chadli told a news conference after Belgium's training session on the outskirts of Moscow.

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In the same group Tunisia will take on Panama in their quest to at least win for pride, before bowing out of the tournament. If it's a draw then it will be decided by fair play as the teams are now level on goal difference and goals scored.

While, Martinez isn't expected to mirror the entirety of his masterplan against France, this newfound setup is the ideal marriage between Belgium's high-flying offensive interplay and resoluteness at the back with the Alderweireld-Kompany-Vertonghen trio coming to the fore against one of the tournament's most potent attacking threats in Brazil.

"It might be a bit hard for him but he's working for Belgium now, he wants us to win".

In the European Championship final two years ago, France lost to Portugal 1-0.

At the back, Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti have finally grown accustomed to their partnership, while Lucas Hernandez has been the most consistent defender. While Hazard didn't score nor provide an assist, the Brazil defence were left bewildered in their attempts to keep the Chelsea star at bay. I have worked with my staff for 12 years but we did not have an experience of how to win the World Cup. "He's becoming more and more aggressive in his tackling, and it's great to count on him". Four teams remain at this World Cup.

"My role for the team is to create opportunities and to give passes that my forward teammates can use to make the difference, " he said.

France are favorites heading into the match, with an all-star attacking line boasting Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud.

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"It still hurts because we missed out on something exceptional in becoming European champions".

France coach Didier Deschamps agrees Henry will be in a tough spot at the St Petersburg Stadium.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal round is behind us, which means only four nations in the world of soccer remain in Russian Federation with one common goal of hoisting that handsome golden trophy depicting two humans holding together a globe. "We have to do everything we can to take it".

De Bruyne says that wherever he plays, his mind-set remains essentially the same.

"It is weird", said Deschamps, "because he is French and that he will be on the bench of the opposition". "He had a very specific role against (Argentina forward) Lionel Messi, which he did very well".

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Russian Federation 2018: Semi-final combatants set for showdown