Belgium take on France in the first semi-final of the ongoing World Cup. Belgium managed to produce one of the most memorable results of the tournament after they eliminated favourites Brazil by a 2-1 scoreline and they should come into the semi-final with loads of confidence, considering the form of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, in particular. Kevin de Bruyne and an own goal from Fernandinho sealed their progress to the final four.
On the other hand, Les Bleus had a relatively smooth 2-0 win over Uruguay during their quarter-final clash. Didier Deschamps’ side commanded most of the possession against the South American outfit and they managed to find the breakthrough via a brilliant Raphael Varane header from a free-kick. Antoine Griezmann bagged the second goal of the game after a blatant error from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who bumbled the Frenchman’s shot over the line.
Players to watch for:
Paul Pogba – France: The Manchester United star has come for criticism whilst playing for both club and country over the past year. However, he has been one of the most impressive performers for France during the ongoing World Cup where he has had the luxury of making forward runs with the assurance of N’Golo Kante behind him. Pogba has yet to contribute a goal or assist for Deschamps’ men but the effort has been there to succeed after indirectly playing his part in the final goals versus Australia and Uruguay respectively. Pogba was initially awarded the winner against the Socceroos before FIFA chalked off his effort as an own goal.
Kevin de Bruyne – Belgium: De Bruyne looked off-colour with his performance against Japan in the round of 16 but this did not hamper his position with manager Roberto Martinez offering him the trust. Against Brazil, De Bruyne was made to play in an advanced central role with Marouane Fellaini slotting into the heart of the midfield and this pretty much paid dividends with the Belgian finding the scoresheet for the first time at the World Cup. De Bruyne was a constant threat with his link-up play with both Lukaku and Hazard and the movement of the trident may need to be closely monitored by the France defence.
France 1-2 Belgium
Image – Creative Commons