France's Kylian Mbappe deserves Ballon d'Or Eden Hazard

Ross Houston
July 9, 2018

After beating tournament favourites Brazil, Belgium find themselves just one game away from a World Cup final.

A picture of Hazard and two of his three brothers, Thorgan and Kylian, has surfaced showing the Belgian trio wearing France shirts as children, and Hazard admitted that he grew up favouring France over Belgium because of the former's 1998 World Cup success. It's razor close but perhaps just because of Lukaku, Belgium take it.

Both teams have earned their billing as pre-tournament favorites, with France ousting Uruguay in the last eight and Belgium stunning five-times champions Brazil to book their own semi-final spot.

Varane and Romelu are certain to face each other barring any injuries and it could very much be that head to head battle that will decide the tie. He is an obvious, natural role model for any forward, and the ideal one for, say, a precious, strong pacey striker who, like him, was born on the outskirts of Paris, and, like him, served his apprenticeship at Monaco and, like him, scored crucial goals to galvanise a World Cup campaign.

France striker Olivier Giroud is turning Henry's presence on the opposing side into an extra source of motivation for tomorrow's semi-final, which is France's first since 2006 and only the second ever for Belgium.

A compelling cast of players, two attacking teams propelled by great pace and a clash between neighbours to boot.

Belgium has height and heading ability in defenders Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini.

They did enough to beat Australia (2-1) and Peru (1-0) in the group stage and then played out one of the rare duds in this World Cup, the 0-0 draw with Denmark.

Along with Kylian Mbappe, France should have enough firepower to trouble the three-man Belgium defence.

"The players have been working together extraordinarily well for many years, and they deserve to be exactly where they are today", Martinez told ESPN FC.

The predominant weapon for both teams is their speed going forward, catapulting players with instinctive talent into positions from where their genius can prove lethal. "It doesn't shock me at all".

Belgium's returning first team players made a sluggish start against the Samurai Blue and suddenly found themselves trailing by two goals with time ebbing away. In his way will be Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, enjoying a quietly excellent World Cup at the heart of the Croatia back line.

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