ibusinesslines.com November 17, 2018

Belgium star Hazard: I used to support France growing up

10 July 2018, 04:58 | Charlene Valdez

Key strikers France's Kylian Mbappe and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku Credit FIFA

Key strikers France's Kylian Mbappe and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku

He did not play in the final at the Stade de France, but was in the team which won the European Championship final against Italy two years later in Rotterdam.

Vertonghen is the only Belgian player with 100 global caps, and the 31-year-old's looping header sparked a dramatic fightback in the 3-2 victory over Japan in the last 16.

But do not let that distract you from the fact that, for all players on both sides, this is the most important match of their lives.

Speaking after Brazil landed back home to a positive response from the public, Neymar had the following to say about their exit at the World Cup quarterfinal stage following a 2-1 defeat to Belgium.

"Especially a France that is still searching for the ideal way to let Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe perform optimally".

France will start the semi-final in Saint Petersburg as favourites, with an impressive mix of youth and experience allied to tournament nous after they reached the Euro 2016 final.

"This Belgium is the most complete team at the World Cup, in terms of every aspect". This means that the club will have at least one representative in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. On each of those occasions the tournament has been hosted in Europe.

The same applies from a Croatia perspective to England captain Harry Kane, the clear frontrunner for the Golden Boot after hitting six goals in his first three matches at the tournament, sitting out the 1-0 loss to Belgium as he was rested.

At Belgium's neat, understated training centre 50 minutes outside Moscow there have been plenty of questions about Henry over the last three weeks but not a great deal of interest in answering them.

"(With) social media and everything else, the global thing is so much bigger". His other World Cup performances have yielded high points totals too, with a notable 96 points coming from his shutout against Denmark.

Raphael Varane and Benjamin Pavard have contributed for France, while Jan Vertonghen began Belgium's comeback win over Japan. Les Bleus needed three-second half goals to edge Argentina, but it looked like a team on a mission against Uruguay, showcasing the potential that made it a pre-tournament favorite just behind Germany and Brazil.

Croatia can count on Real Madrid´s midfield talisman Luka Modric, named man of the match three times in Russian Federation, but his teammate Andrej Kramaric says England´s lack of superstars is what makes them a cohesive unit.

He hadn't quite lived up to the expectations set of him after a stunning season at Manchester City. "I think the Belgians will arrive with a lot of confidence".

Croatia, who boast Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic in a strong midfield, emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

"We had to believe and we know how talented we are as a squad", he said.

"When we played England both countries were already qualified, so that was not a real test until we played Brazil and Belgium won".

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