Sunday, 18 November, 2018

France goalkeeper Lloris braces for ‘complete’ Belgium team

France v Belgium Pogba and De Bruyne confronted by Zidane's path to greatness WORLD CUP 2018 France v Belgium Pogba and De Bruyne confronted by Zidane's path to greatness Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 10 July, 2018, 14:46

Goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann proved to be the difference, earning France a semi-final spot for the first time since 2006.

If he can do that, then the golden generation could well glitter alongside the World Cup, as the winners of this semi-final would be odds-on favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday. With former France striker Thierry Henry as an assistant coach, Belgium leads the scoring in Russian Federation with 14 goals in its five World Cup matches.

Tuesday's match will be the third time France and Belgium have met in a World Cup; France won both previous meetings.

Now it is his job to halt the run of his home nation.

"He is first and foremost French".

"We know him, he has a lot of passion for football and he will be with the Belgians and will give everything to help his team".

For TV work, Henry "needed to be a bit incisive", he said.

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.

"It was a hard process to work with him because obviously the guy won everything", Lukaku says of his mentor and friend.

France´s Antoine Griezmann during training, Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg Russia - July 9, 2018. The last time they met in general, during a friendly in 2015, Belgium won 4-3.

At just 19, Mbappe has been one of the stars of the competition, marking his campaign with three goals, while his performance in the last 16 clash against Argentina has been widely regarded as one of the best on show in Russian Federation so far. But Lloris appeared to be at his commanding best in the quarterfinal win over Uruguay, rushing off his line to push away a low cross and later making a superb low save.

Lukaku led the counter-attack which led to Belgium's second goal against Brazil in the quarter-final and also set up their victor against Japan in the second round with an astute, unselfish dummy.

Lloris hailed Belgium as the World Cup's most "complete" team and emphasised the need for a team effort to defeat Les Diables Rouges.

Looking at the Opta stats used to power Sky Sports Fantasy Six-a-Side's scoring system, we pick out the players averaging the most points per game in Russian Federation so far...

With star players dotting both squads, it is anyone's game and might come down to who is in better shape.

"When you have such a solid foundation, you have the basics and clear understanding of what we want to do and achieve, it´s not a surprise that it´s going well for us". They are tied on fourth overall with 31.

Top stat: Lukaku has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 13 games for Belgium in all competitions - three assists and a whopping 17 goals. Henry may have a confined role, but he is part of an admired coaching team, led by Martinez, who have been tactically dynamic in the tournament, sometimes in adversity, as when substitutions rescued a 2-0 deficit against Japan; sometimes very proactively, when some radical changes, in formation and deployment of key players, underpinned a famous victory, against Brazil in the last eight.