Guide for France vs. Belgium, Croatia vs. England

France's Kylian Mbappe  is one of the reasons why the World Cup semifinal against Belgium could turn into a goal-fest

France's Kylian Mbappe is one of the reasons why the World Cup semifinal against Belgium could turn into a goal-fest

Russian Federation is hosting its first-ever FIFA World Cup, with the final set to be played at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

"They are a great team, a fantastic generation".

Thierry Henry's presence at the 2018 World Cup has been as discreet as he can make it, but he cannot control all the cameramen turning their lenses on him, all the press conference enquiries about him or indeed, the exuberance of some Belgian players.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez set up his side brilliantly against Brazil, and I'm sure he will replicate that and come up with a plan to stop Mbappe, and for that matter Antoine Griezmann.

Pope consoles Brazilian fans * Federation Internationale de Football Association warns Croatian over video * Goal-fest?

That's why I think talent-wise, Belgium have the edge over France.

Wednesday represents a date with destiny, and Martinez plans to attend with the same mantra that once helped him and his players to numerous against-the-odds wins for Wigan in the Premier League: "No fear".

Ahead of their clash on Tuesday night, Belgium playmaker Hazard has told reporters that as a boy, he used to tie his loyalties to the French flag, citing France's World Cup win in 1998 as a major influencing factor.

And that's not sitting well with everyone on the French side. "He was an enormous player", he told reporters at Monday's pre-match presser. "We have players with vast potential, though, and we still do not know their limits".

"As for Eden [Hazard], I've already played against him when he was at Lille. As long as we win, that's fine with me".

Didier Deschamps, the France manager, and Henry's captain when the World Cup and 2000 European Championship were won by Les Bleus, calls it "bizarre" that his compatriot will be on the opposing bench this afternoon, encouraging not Mbappe but the likes of Romelu Lukaku.

The 24-year-old missed the final few games of the season with a knee problem and was spotted grimacing towards the end of the 2-0 victory over Uruguay. Lukaku looked up to the Arsenal legend when he was growing up in Antwerp, and was delighted when Martinez took charge, announcing Henry as one of his assistants.

France have been less porous than Belgium, conceding four goals in Russian Federation to Belgium's five - and have kept clean sheets in three of their five games. That was the last competitive match between the two countries but there have been eight global friendlies since. France then took the lead on the brink of half time through Jean-Pierre Papin. Barring a Kylian Mbappe-inspired 4-3 victory over Argentina, France have lacked cohesion in the final third. "With scoring prowess and ability to soak pressure, expect that to play a part in what might turn out to be the match of the tournament", Maradona concluded. There isn't a philosophy to the French play, their style of play derived from the personnel they have.

Deadly duo: Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann have scored six of France's nine goals between them. "Because they are young, they are determined and they are still growing as players".

The over/under line for goals in the Belgium vs. France World Cup semifinal tomorrow is 2.5.

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