France eye World Cup final but Belgium have Henry factor

27-year-old looks like a man on a mission to bring the WC trophy for the first time in the country’s history

27-year-old looks like a man on a mission to bring the WC trophy for the first time in the country’s history

Belgium took early control of midfield with France content to sit deep and eliminate the threat of counter-attacks Hazard and De Bruyne.

First, let's cover the suspensions. Against Uruguay, they didn't replicate the performance going forward, but they compensated with a composed showing defensively, securing a 2-0 win. The Juventus midfielder is likely to partner N'Golo Kante in central midfield with Paul Pogba playing in front of them.

Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard could be alternatives to replace Meunier.

"For me, Roberto Martinez, the head coach of Belgium, should allow Henry to stay somewhere else and watch it alone because it wont be easy for him". They come in to the match on the back of an impressive, if somewhat nervy, victory over Brazil in the last round and the Spanish boss believes their preparations are starting to pay off.

But the worrying factor for whoever wins Wednesday's game in Moscow is that France still look to have another gear to move into. France legend Thierry Henry, who scored three goals as a 20-year old when France won it all in 1998, is now an assistant coach on the Belgian sideline.

In possession, Belgium stuck to their classic 3-4-2-1 system, however, the formation was subjected to minor tweaks.

At 21 minutes in Belgium took a corner which fell to Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld, who swiftly turned to take his shot leading to a superb save from French keeper and Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris.

The country's march to the semi-finals - where they will face England tomorrow - had been notable for the apparent absence of any bigotry by their supporters, who brought shame on the nation at the last three major tournaments.

"Belgium played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan". While France may not have set the world alight, the former Marseille manager's team have conceded a mere four goals in five matches.

"It might be a bit hard for him but he's working for Belgium now, he wants us to win".

"It's been two years to try and understand these footballers, the human beings behind the footballers, and to try and get a group that shared the same ambition, not just to use the national team to improve their brand", Martinez told a news conference. "It's an advantage on both sides, but we will seize every opportunity to reach the final".

In 29 matches for France, both in the underage sides and the seniors, Pavard has not lost a game.

World Cup favourites France, targeting the final in Russian Federation two decades after their 1998 triumph, said Monday one of their greatest players, Thierry Henry, would feel torn as he plotted their downfall from the dugout of opponents Belgium.