Eden Hazard lavishes praise on Kylian Mbappe

Eden Hazard celebrating after Belgium knocked out Brazil in the quarterfinals

While it would be easy to say that his players baled him out in that one, it's only fair to say that Roberto Martinez got it tactically spot on against Brazil.

While Belgium lead the way with 14 goals in this World Cup, France have managed eight in their five matches.

Olivier Giroud is eager to show-up Thierry Henry when France meet Belgium in the World Cup semi-final.

Pelé's prediction that an African team would win the World Cup before the turn of the 21st century ended up wide of the mark, and this year's tournament in Russian Federation marked the first time since 1982 that none reached the knockout stages.

Belgium assistant coach Thierry Henry.

But France feel Henry will be happy with any outcome on Tuesday.

While other players have kept up a steady mantra of taking the tournament one game at a time, the 32-year-old defender make clear his vista was firmly focused on next Sunday's final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

With 54 riders between them, France (35) and Belgium (19) are the most represented teams on this year's Tour with several teams also featuring Belgian and French personnel.

And that's not sitting well with everyone on the French side. "It will be a special match for him".

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In France's World Cup opener against Australia, he let a long shot go past him and watched in relief as it hit the crossbar.

"We are on an equal footing with France, we will try and do everything we can physically and mentally".

Giroud, naturally, would rather have Henry giving him advice but he claims the French team have a lot of respect for the 1998 World Cup victor. Playing at home it didn't lose a game, blitzing defending champion Brazil 3-0 in the final.

He's hoping to prove that Henry picked the wrong camp.

The last time when both France and Belgium reached the FIFA World Cup semi-final in the same edition was in 1986. In Russia, he has scored his team's first and last goal, converting a penalty kick in the second half of its opening win over Australia, then setting up one goal and scoring another in a 2-0 quarterfinal victory over Uruguay.

Didier Deschamps' side, with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe up front, struggled for goals in their group matches but have now hit their stride, dominating Uruguay after beating Argentina. I am not too old. "Because they are young, they are determined and they are still growing as players".

Belgium have had nine different goalscorers in the 2018 World Cup (excluding own goals); only Italy in 2006 and France in 1982 (10 each) have had more in a single tournament.

"A team is forming and that's important".

Giroud said his teammates knew Belgium very well with many players from both teams competing in the English Premier League, including himself. "He is there to learn", Giroud said. "I pity him", he said.

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