ibusinesslines.com November 17, 2018

Belgium denied by 'small margins' in France defeat, says Martinez

11 July 2018, 08:50 | Myron Mathis

Belgium denied by 'small margins' in France defeat, says Martinez

France Belgium graphic

They reached the 2006 final in Berlin, but lost to Italy on penalties.

As is the case in the geographic sense, in which France and Belgium share a border, there's no apparent distance between the teams.

France have one hand on the World Cup after besting Belgium 1-0 in an enthralling semi-final clash at St. Petersburg Stadium. He is on the bench and facing his home nation.

Martinez explained how Henry's experience of pressure moments offered something other members of the former Everton manager's staff could not.

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The Chelsea star interchanged positions with Kevin de Bruyne in the opening minutes and the French backline scrambled to negotiate the incoming raids.

"It will be freaky to have him up against us", said France striker Olivier Giroud. "It is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him".

France advanced to the semifinals after beating Uruguay 2-0 in the quarterfinals, while Belgium advanced to the semifinals after ousting Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals. It was a deserved win by Didier Deschamp's team, which had 19 shots, 10 more than Belgium. They failed to get close to the heights they reached when knocking Argentina out earlier in the tournament, and while Mbappe blossomed all evening, Antoine Griezmann had a night to forget, while Olivier Giroud's woes in front of goal came to the fore again, as he yet again failed to hit the target in a match. This is the team with the highest number of goals scored in the World Cup, 15, so far.

"We will need to anticipate (Mbappe) and be well-positioned".

Samuel Umtiti's goal from a corner gave them the win, and they were happy to play the entire match on the counter-attack.

Having become the second youngest player after Pele to score 2 goals in a match, his scintillating pace blew away the Argentinian side quite successfully in the Round of 16. Lukaku is on four goals and Griezmann and Mbappe have three each. Both teams have the strength, speed and determination to be a FIFA World Champion, but only one can take a giant step forward to the finals.

However, they say they will have no objection if the Centre Court crowd want to take sneak peeks of the action from Moscow on their phones.

Following the victory, France will play the victor of tomorrow's game between England and Croatia.

"I've met quite a few of those players and we know exactly how they're held and perhaps, in the modern era, that would be even crazier", Southgate told British newspapers.

Croatia could well be battling fatigue and injuries after a strength-sapping penalty shootout to edge out host nation Russian Federation on Saturday.

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