Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

Belgium has played neighbouring France 73 times, but the teams haven't met in three years - and hadn't met in a competitive game since the 1986 World Cup. But that would prove to be the country's last major title.

"He motivates the troops with strong words", Pavard said. "The players talked a lot amongst each other; I do not know if some players talked to the coach individually, but I think the coach understood everything quickly".

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

It certainly is a tough call between two of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, if not the world. He is an obvious, natural role model for any forward, and the ideal one for, say, a precious, strong pacey striker who, like him, was born on the outskirts of Paris, and, like him, served his apprenticeship at Monaco and, like him, scored crucial goals to galvanise a World Cup campaign.

Now he is an assistant to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and the two of them will be plotting how to get the better of France tactically.

Nowadays, Henry probably feels more English than French after living most of the last 20 years in London. To see him wearing the Belgian's training kit is weird.

Martinez's tactics have stood out, too.

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Kevin De Bruyne Scored Belgium's second against Brazil (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)When is Belgium vs France? "However, the coach told us that we have to stay in two areas, Romelu Lukaku on the right and I on the left, and we shouldn't go back to the defense". Both sides are coming off of impressive quarter-final performances and there is a sense that the victor of the tournament will probably come from this tie.

Belgium has height and heading ability in defenders Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini.

French striker Olivier Giroud thinks Lloris has the edge over Courtois, his club teammate at Chelsea. "The best is Hugo". With no natural replacement in his squad, the Belgium manager will have to bank on the duo of Nacer Chadli and Yannick Carrasco to be his wing-backs.

Meunier is suspended after tripping Brazil star Neymar and earning a second yellow card of the tournament. Martinez got his tactics spot on, dishing out a masterclass in counter-attacking football, winning the match 2-1. Because of his quick feet, change of direction and exquisite close control, he is hard to tackle and this often draws a foul.

"I try to create gaps for my teammates", Giroud said. "It's my unselfish side". Maybe nobody will be able to move.

Nearly without exception, the best United displays of Jose Mourinho's tenure have had Pogba's prints all over them, yet relations with the Portuguese were forebodingly strained last season as the 25-year-old was dropped for several matches. Henry did not play in the 3-0 final victory for Les Bleus over Brazil.

Belgium struggled against Japan when defending quick and mobile players. Andres Cunha (Uruguay) will be the referee.

"Kevin is one of the best players I've ever seen in my life in terms of how he can make absolutely [everything happen]", said Pep Guardiola past year, a man who wearily chased Zidane's shadow during that Euro 2000 encounter between France and Spain.

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