Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

I'd rather lose than win with this France team, Hazard

I'd rather lose than win with this France team, Hazard

While England fans are now waiting anxiously to find out whether Gareth Southgate's men will be able to book a place in Sunday's World Cup final, France can begin to prepare for Moscow - and while it was Samuel Umtiti who scored the goal that saw off Belgium on Tuesday, it was Tottenham's Hugo Lloris who had a massive hand in sending Les Bleus to the final.

Henry, a French football legend but now an assistant coach for Belgium, saw his new side fall 1-0 to France in the pivotal match.

France have reached the World Cup final, but they did so in a negative fashion.

Henry, France's all-time leading goalscorer and a key figure in their only World Cup victory in 1998, has been an assistant for Belgium since 2016. The match-up was intense but the Frenchmen did enough to outlast Belgium's golden generation of football. "If I offended them, then I apologise".

2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: France vs Belgium
World Cup 2018: France beat Belgium to reach final in Russia

It were as if they didn't believe they could break through France's late-game all-out defence.

With Ngolo Kante, Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Kylian Mbappe holding the midfield and depriving the Belguim forwards the space to carry out their it intend, Romelu Lukaku was left isolated in spite of good efforts by Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Fellaini, while Moussa Dembele, Nacer Chadli and Axel Witsel just ran around.

"Today is an unfortunate situation where we have a ball into an area where we've got our structure right".

These were neighbors of contrasting World Cup pedigrees, meeting for a 74th time and the chance to play on the grandest stage of all.

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"There will still be opportunities for Belgium in the future".

"We have seen a fantastic Belgian team and have been eliminated by a team that was more solid than us".

France, after all, is a team in the mould of its coach Deschamps, the former holding midfielder who could emulate Brazilian Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer by winning the competition as both a player and manager.

There are concerns that fatigue could be a factor for Zlatko Dalic's side, given they were forced to come through 120 minutes and penalties against both Denmark and the hosts in the last two rounds.

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"I am perfectly ready and fit and I can say the same for my teammates".

It was very different from the 3-2 Round-of-16 win against Japan, when even at 2-0 down, you knew it was not game over. "It may repeat itself once, maybe never".

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