Griezmann, Lukaku, Mbappe and Hazard: Battle royale between France and Belgium
Both France coach Didier Deschamps and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on Monday in St Petersburg said Tuesday’s semi-final showdown was a game they could win if they did all that was necessary.
Belgium and France will meet in an epic 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final fixture at the St Petersburg Arena, with Sunday’s final match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in their sight.
“We have known and studied them, and we are aware of what they can do. But the major thing is for us to do our own aspect, which is to prepare very well for them,’’ Deschamps, a 1998 World Cup winner, said at a pre-match press conference.
The coach said he would not deny the fact that he was worried about the Belgians. However, he said his team was in good shape to face them.
He said they are a side with a potent attacking force, and he was sure his defence-line and the rest of the team would be up to the task of containing their opponents.
“There is no doubt about it. Belgium have great players and their attack is fearsome, with Romelu Lukaku posing a great threat. But we will play our game, and ensure we don’t give them the chance to stop us,’’ Deschamps said.
Goalkeeper Lloris said he and his colleagues were much aware of the threat the Belgians could pose.
“We know all the players, and there are many of them I face everytime in England. But they are also aware of what we can do, and I am sure we are both going to have a great game.
“However, I am confident we will get the job done,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while Belgium have been fearsome, scoring 14 goals so far in five matches, France too cannot be waved aside.
Belgium were impressive in stopping Japan and Brazil, and did not fail to impress in overrunning Tunisia, Panama and England in the group stage.
With players like Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne , Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli, Vincent Kompany and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, France definitely have a mountain to climb.
However, while France have been slow to warm up into the competition, they have in beating Argentina 4-3 and Uruguay 2-0 showed some potency.
With players such as Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba and others, they have in them what it takes to tackle champions, and that is also what will be on display at the St Petersburg Arena on Tuesday