Belgian sights firmly set on World Cup victory, Vermaelen says

Grant SmithJul 10, 2018

Eden Hazard lavishes praise on France's Kylian Mbappe, with the Belgium attacker revealing that he has "mad respect" for the 19-year-old.

At the quarterfinal rounds, Hazard was spot on after tipping Belgium's Red Devils to overcome Brazil's Selecao as well as France beating Uruguay.

He singled out his Barcelona team mate Samuel Umtiti.

Belgium were seen as underachievers at that point, particularly after losing to Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

Full back Thomas Meunier is suspended after picking up a second yellow card of the tournament against Brazil, with Martinez likely to bring in Yannick Carrasco in his place.

As Argentina showed, France can be susceptible defensively.

"At the time, there wasn't the jersey of Belgium, that's why we wore the one of France".

Centre-forward Romelu Lukaku spent much of that game on the right flank, with midfielder Kevin de Bruyne at times operating as a false nine.

The back-three of Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany and Toby Alderweireld were at their most impressive thus far against Brazil. If France wins, he can not celebrate; it is the same if Belgium wins.

Hazard pointed out just how rare it is to see a meteoric rise like we are witnessing with Mbappe.

The two have been nearly inseparable around Belgium's Dedovsk camp in Russian Federation this summer, and the hours of advice have paid off to such an extent that on Tuesday Lukaku can fire his country to the World Cup final, at the expense of France, who won it with Henry in their ranks 20 years ago.

A player who wasn't really in Roberto Martinez's plans as a starter for the World Cup.

BBC One will be showing the game live.

Against Brazil, his defensive abilities came to the fore, and he will need to keep Antoine Griezmann quiet in similar fashion on Tuesday if France are to be eliminated. "I don't know about scoring goals, though", said Yoann Offredo, one of two French riders in Belgian team Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

If you were expecting something Paul Pogba-esque then you certainly you'd be disappointed for Hazard is definitely one modern-day player who lets his feet do the talking.

There were 32 teams, now there are just four.

The match is on Tuesday, 10 July with kick-off at 7pm at the Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg. France and Belgium have eliminated South America's three biggest nations, and confidence is sure to be running high in both camps.

World Cup victor Henry is now an assistant to Belgium coach Robert Martinez, and will be helping Belgium try to reach the World Cup final for the first time in their history.

He also urged both teams and nationals of both countries, to show understanding for Henry's precarious situation, adding that doing so will make Henry a little bit relaxed and comfortable during the match.

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