Henry's World Cup experience the 'missing piece' for Belgium

On a mission Eden Hazard has captained Belgium to the World Cup semi-finals. – AFP

On a mission Eden Hazard has captained Belgium to the World Cup semi-finals. – AFP

Top stat: England has only conceded 52 fouls at the World Cup so far, at least 20 fewer than any of the other three remaining semi-finalists. Dubbed by many as the two best teams left in the competition, we could be in line for a thrilling encounter between two attacking-minded teams.

As quick as Chadli is, Belgium can't counter Mbappe with speed, they'll have to do it with good positional play and smart tactics. We know it will be a tough match.

Deschamps revealed that he has prepared for a number of different scenarios against Belgium on Tuesday, but that Les Bleus have been doing that since their arrival in Russian Federation anyway. Probably. Their team is geared forward. He is also the first French player to score and assist in the same World Cup knockout game since Vieira in 2006. It is a possibility.

"But we are ready".

Kevin De Bruyne was given a more advanced role and he hurt the Selecao time and time again, but Martinez can not spring the same surprise, although he may get some inside knowledge from assistant Thierry Henry, France's record goalscorer. "I don't want to offend him but he has benefitted from the work done by [former Belgium coach] Marc Wilmots".

"It might be a bit hard for him but he´s working for Belgium now, he wants us to win". Whether Deschamps can find the right tactical system to get the most out of his team remains to be seen as France seek to go one step better than its Euro 2016 final loss to Portugal, a damaging defeat on home soil. He knew very well that this was a possibility. Whether that remains true throughout what will be a odd evening for him on Wednesday night remains to be seen.

Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris echoed Deschamps' sentiments on Henry and called the occasion "special".

"With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with '98", Hazard said.

"Thierry's heart will be split".

"He's given the team the desire to attack", French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said of Henry's influence on the Belgian team.

Les Bleus have been steadily improving as the tournament has progressed, and in Kylian Mbappe, they have one of the best young strikers in the world.

So get your kippers and slippers prepped, do your morning (or evening) calisthenics now, and for heaven sakes ring Mum, otherwise you just know she'll ring you during the match.

Confidence is sky-high after they ousted Neymar's Brazil in the quarter-finals but they will come up against formidable opponents in France as they try to reach a first ever World Cup final.

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

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.

Instead he's sad that Brazil, one of the pre-tournament favorites, didn't go all the way to the final as they aimed to win a sixth World Cup title.

"What we didn't have was worldwide experience, the know-how of winning a World Cup, the know-how of being a footballer, how you are expected to perform in front of the world and knowing how you feel in those moments", Martinez said on Monday.

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