Monday, 19 November, 2018

Belgium’s Courtois blasts France victory as ‘shame for football’

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
Freda Brock | 11 July, 2018, 06:26

Olivier Debregeas predicts France will beat Belgium 1-0.

The connections between the two national team setups have become increasingly apparent in the two barren days between the last quarterfinal and the start of the last four.

Henry, World Cup victor in 1998 with Les Bleus, is assistant coach to Roberto Martinez, manager of Belgium, beaten 1-0 in the semifinals this morning.

Given how the voting usually goes, he nearly surely won't win the player of the tournament award, but he deserves more consideration, especially if France lifts the trophy on Sunday.

"I'm very proud of their mentality as well because I know it's not just that you are playing at a high level that you are going to score goals but with our state of mind we can climb mountains and that's what we've done so far".

"The players showed incredible focus and incredible togetherness". I haven't seen this as a weakness. "There were not many big moments that were going to decide the game and it came down to one dead-ball situation", said Martinez of the 51st-minute goal that separated the sides. 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.

This fixture is one of the matches that could easily have been the "Final" of this 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi's shares open 2.9 percent down on debut in HK
Such firms tend to carry far higher valuations than device makers. "From day one, we've set up a dual-class share structure". Its shares fell Monday even though the broader Hong Kong market was up about 1.5%.

"My role for the team is to create opportunities and to give passes that my forward teammates can use to make the difference, " he said.

As well as Eden Hazard, Belgium can call on Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne, three of a host of Premier League stars, many of whom count French squad members among their clubmates. But I think the Belgium players they go home with a bad feeling. "That's the quality that he has". "We worked hard defensively, we needed to take advantage a bit more in the counter-attacks but congratulations to my players and my staff", he said.

Belgium threatened down the flanks and Eden Hazard put in a risky cross which was turned behind by Umtiti - though the resulting corner was wasted by Nacer Chadli, playing in an unfamiliar right-back role.

Having a collection of great players individually does not guarantee anything. Will they do something similar against us?

"Because of the seven years I spent in France I feel 99 percent Belgian and one percent French, but the idea of taking French nationality never crossed my mind" Hazard once said when asked about the possibility. The Red Devils and Les Bleus are competing for a spot in the World Cup final, and both teams are bringing world-class attacking talent to the match. Benjamin Pavard and Raphael Varane scored in previous matches.

"I hope that I'll stay undefeated through 31 games and that we'll lift this cup", said the defender, who has been linked with Bayern Munich in recent days.

On Tuesday night here in St Petersburg, Henry will serve as assistant to Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez as they face his homeland for a place in Sunday's final against England or Croatia.

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