Saturday, 15 December, 2018

We'll show Thierry Henry he picked the wrong side

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Cary Erickson | 10 July, 2018, 14:00

There was more of the same during Belgium's pre-match press conference. "There will be some tweaks, though, which will suit us better".

"My team will be ready for a variety of situations", he said.

For Coach Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions, the Croatia assignment is one they must tackle with all the skill at their disposal to realise their ambition of playing in the finals to bring the Federation Internationale de Football Association trophy home.

"Will they do something similar for us?" It is a possibility.

"We're expecting a different game against Belgium, they play lovely football", he said.

Thierry Henry has never been slow coming forward - on or off the field - but the odd thing is that he has only ever given one interview in his role as what the Belgian FA call "the second assistant" to manager Roberto Martinez. "But we are not going to forget the others since France has a very complete attacking pattern".

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. But this is a hard situation, it is not easy for him'. He is facing his home nation. Whether that remains true throughout what will be a unusual evening for him on Wednesday night remains to be seen.

Third mission underway to rescue final 5 from Thai cave
Monday's rescue mission, which saw four boys extracted before dusk and whisked to Chiang Rai hospital, took around nine hours. The four rescued boys have been transported to a Chiang Rai hospital for treatment and medical evaluations, reported CBS .

Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris echoed Deschamps' sentiments on Henry and called the occasion "special".

"Perhaps he will sing the Marseillaise (before the game), which I find normal", De Bruyne said. "He is there as part of his education to be a coach".

"He holds the record for goals scored and has the second most caps - he did leave a mark on the history of Les Bleus".

Belgium are in uncharted territory for their World Cup semi-final with France, but believe their team spirit and togetherness can ensure they carry on their extraordinary journey in Russian Federation, manager Roberto Martinez has said.

Victory against France - a team against whom they have historically, and somewhat surprisingly, enjoyed an upper hand; of their 73 games Belgium have won 30 to France's 24 - will only add to their growing legend. "We are getting closer to our goal, but our opponents will be even stronger than before".

Roberto Martinez smiles and reacts to the phrase "There comes a World Cup semifinalist" as he approaches the ESPN team that will talk to him at the Belgium base camp in Dedovsk. The win over Argentina was a little chaotic but they stood firm against Uruguay, and their central partnership of Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane has arguably been the strongest of the tournament. The manager is the one who will do the talking, I will try to make the team better.

In terms of the qualities of the individual personnel, it's no contest: N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi would be better than most midfield trios you could care to name, but might Belgium have a more effective unit? "They can defend and attack, they can counter-attack, they can dominate in the air or on the ground - they have everything that they need to be a great team and they are, in fact, a great team".