Ferdinand says Mbappe's pace is 'illegal' as he dazzles in semi-final

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

As France and Belgium prepare to fight it out for a place in the World Cup final, some towns along their shared border are anxious that the evening may not be altogether neighbourly.

"If I didn't score all tournament but we won the World Cup, of course I would take that in a heartbeat", Giroud told a news conference.

But for the last two years he has been serving as one of Belgium coach Roberto Martinez's assistants, his first foray into coaching and seemingly an inspired choice if the rare reviews from the Belgian players are anything to go by.

He praised the adaptability of his squad after changing system from a 3-man to a 4-man defense against Brazil.

Vermaelen admitted his Belgium team-mates will have a number of the world's best players to contend with when they face Les Bleus in St Petersburg on Tuesday, but feels Mbappe is their stand-out talent. "20 players have started at least one game and they have all contributed", he explained. They keep that particular quality, but against Brazil, Martinez intensified the midfield. and the Brazilians couldn't use those corridors.

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Harry Maguire really has taken the footballing world by storm with his performances at the World Cup . But I'm my own biggest critic. "As players, as a professional, we know our job on and off the pitch".

Martinez dropped forward Dries Mertens against Brazil and fielded Nacer Chadli, who had scored the injury-time winning goal against Japan.

Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted: "Bravo, Red Devils, for your performances and for having thrilled us all the way to the semi-finals".

'This year I think has been the first where he has played consistently.

Eden Hazard was a lively presence on Belgium's right, dragging a shot wide and Toby Alderweireld forced a smart save from Hugo Lloris while at the other end Olivier Giroud flicked a header narrowly wide. "It's an advantage on both sides, but we will seize every opportunity to reach the final".

While the duo of Mbappe and Pogba are attracted by their expansive, aggressive play, Lukaku is in the picture for his power play.Today's semi duel is expected to live up to its a worthy its billing.

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