Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
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Man United teammates Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba set for World Cup showdown

Man United teammates Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba set for World Cup showdown

The simple and the sublime, never better demonstrated by the glided free-kick to present Thierry Henry with a routine victor.

Henry was part of the 1998 team that won the World Cup on home turf, scoring three goals in his first major tournament and converting a penalty in a nerve-rattling shoo-out against Italy in the quarter finals.

Belgium have scored at least two goals in all but one game during this competition.

Belgium are the top scorers with 14 goals, which some are crediting to the influence of Henry, while both sides have had goals from all around the pitch.

The victor between France and Belgium on Tuesday will face either England or Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Also in contention are Croatia and England, who meet in Moscow on Wednesday. How deep, or advanced, will Kevin de Bruyne play?

I think the Red Devils can do that via cutting out his running lines by denying him space in the channels and also by choking the supply of passes to him.

'But yes maybe he is going to sing La Marseillaise. Belgium defeating Brazil was an upset, even considering the brilliant players they have at their disposal, while over the past couple of years France have under-performed considering the incredible levels of talent available to Didier Deschamps.

In other ways, it's just weird.

Deschamps said: "We were team-mates but he jumped on the right train and I'm delighted for him. Last season when he signed for United, to have witnessed that, it really triggered something in my brain and I knew that if one day I had a chance to sign then I would not say no". "The players talked a lot amongst each other; I do not know if some players talked to the coach individually, but I think the coach understood everything quickly". When Henry finished playing and joined Martinez's new Belgium staff in 2016, Deschamps said, "He jumped on the right train".


"It will be freakish to have him up against us", said France striker Olivier Giroud.

No player has made more successful dribbles in a World Cup match than Hazard managed vs Brazil (9), while the Belgian sensation was fouled seven times on the night, as per WhoScored.com.

After spending most of his career at Premier League club Arsenal and putting down roots in England, 40-year-old Henry has had little involvement in French football despite being one of the most popular players that France has ever produced.

"Kevin is one of the best players I've ever seen in my life in terms of how he can make absolutely [everything happen]", said Pep Guardiola previous year, a man who wearily chased Zidane's shadow during that Euro 2000 encounter between France and Spain.

A shimmy inside Carles Puyol and an arrowed finish completed a 3-1 last-16 win over Spain and another Zidane penalty meant more semi-final woe for Portugal.

It was another candidate for the Belgian job, the German Ralf Rangnick, who said he would like to bring Henry with him if he was appointed.

France captain Hugo Lloris has said that he expects Thierry Henry's heart "to be split" when Les Blues take on Belgium in Tuesday evening's World Cup semi-final.

"In the beginning of the match I was a bit surprised by such recommendations, and I thought to myself: if we defended against Brazil with only two players, things might get complicated".

At some point after this peculiarity, they'll all go back to England.

Giroud did his best not to stoke the flames, but said he thought Tottenham's Lloris was the better goalkeeper.

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