Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

Belgium's team players take part in a training session of Belgium's national football team at the Guchkovo Stadium in Dedovsk, outside Moscow, on July 8, 2018, ahead of their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match against France.

Henry has been able to gel well with the Belgian stars and the rapport he shares with them was evident when Vincent Kompany lifted him following their win over Brazil in the quarter-final. They managed to shut out Belgium after that and will now face either England or Croatia in Moscow's Luzhniki stadium on Sunday.

The last time a Belgium team got this far at the World Cup, it lost 2-0 to Argentina at the 1986 tournament in Mexico.

"It is something exceptional".

Captain Harry Kane is leading England's charge with six goals so far, putting him top in the race for the Golden Boot. "They are young but they have character, a (winning) mentality".

In their most recent action, Belgium defeated France in a wild 4-3 friendly in 2015. "They played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan", said the 49-year-old Deschamps.

Hazard was risky again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar. It was a deserved win by Didier Deschamp's team, which had 19 shots, 10 more than Belgium. Giroud has not scored in eight games and is yet to even have a shot on target in Russian Federation.

"Not skipping the hard work and fighting for the group is one of my qualities - if I can help by running or shouting, then I will do it", the Paris Saint-Germain wonderkid.

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Belgium and France are considered the top two teams left in the World Cup. "He's somebody I really appreciate", Deschamps said.

Belgium controlled possession early on with Eden Hazard the biggest threat.

Sensational saves from Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois prevented the game from setting alight in the first half before Umtiti's strike and a resilient defensive unit proved too tough an obstacle for Roberto Martinez's men to overcome.

Giroud did at least have a part to play in the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected wide, Griezmann's corner was flicked in at the near post by Umtiti.

Stung into action, Martinez sent on Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in the 65th minute, and both were heavily involved as Belgium pulled off a late comeback, with Chadli securing victory with practically the last kick of the game.

That was as close as Belgium came to taking the game to extra-time, though, as Lloris parried a long-range piledriver from Axel Witsel.

A slick Belgium side boasting the talents of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku are the only team to have won all their matches in Russian Federation and are the top scorers, with 14 goals.

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