France v Belgium: Mbappe misses training but Deschamps eases fears


Here's how the two teams will line up!

France will square off with Belgium in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final match at the Krestovsky Stadium in Russian Federation on Tuesday at 7:00pm.

"With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with '98", Hazard told the press. But there'll come a time in Tuesday night's match when Giroud will be relied upon to score against a Belgian defence that's going to be far more resolute than anything France has faced at this tournament. Granted, a brace against Tunisia meant Hazard was more effective in front of goal in Belgium's 5-2 win over the African outfit, but the 27-year-old's display against the pre-tournament favourites was arguably the better considering the quality of opposition in the quarter-final meeting.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez brought Henry into the Belgium set-up two years ago to impart not just his knowledge of goal scoring he is France's all-time top scorer with 51 goals in 123 appearances, and Arsenal's with 228 but also his experience of winning with a team weighed down by great expectations.

"We know we have some unbelievable players and a great manager and everyone is clear on what we want to do". Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him.

"But he did know that, from the time he was joining the management team and becoming assistant to Martinez, that could happen".

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.

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Since then the duo has been impressive and that was underlined with Raphael Varane scoring the opener against Uruguay with a glancing header. "We have to do everything we can to take it".

Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said Henry might sing France's national anthem before the game, but his loyalties firmly lie with his new side. Deschamps - famously dubbed as the "water carrier" for his style of play when he captained the France squad to victory in 1998; providing the legs for the more creative midfielders around him - and Martinez have very different approaches to the game.

The former Lyon starlet has been carrying a slight knee problem throughout the competition and was rested for the drab goalless draw against Australia in France's final group game.

Belgium wing-back Thomas Meunier is suspended so will miss the match in St Petersburg. The problem has been moulding them into an effective team. We need to rise to challenge and keep doing what we've been doing. If I'm Martinez, I play the exact same way I did against Brazil and only open up and increase numbers going forward if France takes a lead. He's one of only four players to score and assist a few times for both, while only Isco and Lionel Messi (both 23) have completed more dribbles than the wing-wizard (22).

Both Belgium and France will battle it out for a place in the World Cup final, where the victor will face either England or Croatia next Sunday.

Pay-TV outlet BeIN Sport is also showing the game in France. "But the whole world will be watching us", De Bruyne said.

The victor will face either Croatia or England, who play Thursday (2am Malaysia time), in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. With the sides hard to separate on paper, how they handle the pressure, and perhaps those little nuggets of inside knowledge, could make all the difference.