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Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

11 July 2018

Belgium, who were placed on arguably the tougher side of the playoff tree by virtue of finishing ahead of England in Group G, now go home having played both Brazil and France in the knockout stages. Both teams have had opportunities.

Noted Hazard, after Belgium's sensational last-gasp 3-2 round of sixteen win against Japan.

First, let's cover the suspensions. "Before the tournament I fancied France but Belgium have the momentum and I think they will win it, 2-1". Meunier has been effective for Belgium, but hasn't shown the flash and talent that make him successful in France. In his place expect Nacer Chadli or Yannick Carrasco in the midfield.

Samuel Umtiti celebrates with team-mates after scoring the winning goal against Belgium in the World Cup semifinal in St Petersburg, Russia.

"My disappointment is huge", said former Wigan and Everton boss Martinez. It's unknown how Martinez will set up his squad against France, who present a similar defensive challenge. 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.

Henry, France's all-time top scorer, and second-most-capped player after Lilian Thuram, is trying to help Martinez mastermind a win over his own nation.

France started the tournament in Russian Federation slowly, struggling for goals in the group stages but hit their stride in an impressive 4-3 victory against Lionel Messi's Argentina in the first knockout round.

Hugo Lloris came to France's rescue minutes later with a superb save to keep Toby Alderweireld's snap-shot from inside the box.

France have been the best team at this World Cup - and they proved it here. They did what was demanded of them and that proves they're team meant to be in the final four. It is a fantastic generation and in order to beat them we will have to play a great match. "We know what it takes and in such moments you forget any fatigue you may feel", said the 29-year-old. "We've strived to be as good as we could be at the global level and it's taken us two years to get there". On the Telemundo side, matches will be available via Telemundo Deportes En Vivo and NBC Sports; the Telemundo stations' apps; and across mobile, tablet and most connected TV devices.

France's players danced on the field after the final whistle and their fans sang in the stands long past the end of the match, surrounded by yellow-clad security.

Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium