France determined to defeat Henry's Belgium

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

"I think they are a lot stronger in defence, I feel it's going to be a hard tussle".

Harlington Shereni, who spent more than a decade plying his trade in the French topflight league, is among those that will be routing behind les bleus.

"He will want us to come out on top", added Kevin De Bruyne after Belgium beat Brazil on Friday to book their semi-final spot. "It is an opportunity in our careers and we have to grab it with both hands".

On the French national team, which faces Belgium in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday, that player happens to be its center forward, Olivier Giroud.

Two of the World Cup's outstanding players will now go head-to-head in St Petersburg, with De Bruyne aware of the threat that Mbappe will pose.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid career in numbers
I am leaving but this shirt, this badge and the Santiago Bernabeu I will continue to feel as something that is mine wherever I go. Ronaldo won sixteen honours with Real, which included four European Cups three of which have come in the last three seasons.

"It has been a few years since he said what he said about me".

Vermaelen believes France will be tougher opponents than five-times world champions Brazil.

France progressed to the semi's following a 2-nil victory over Colombia and head coach Didier Deschamps will be hoping his charges maintain the positive momentum in what is expected to be an exciting match up against Belgium. A living legend of French football, Henry was one of the stars during their 1998 World Cup win. The teams have contested against each other for Euro 2004, where England won by 4-2.

France's Aujourd'hui en France newspaper prepared a full-page spread featuring the two popular comic characters and said it was more than a match. Belgium have had nine different goalscorers in the 2018 World Cup (excluding own goals); only Italy in 2006 and France in 1982 (10 each) have had more in a single tournament.

- Antoine Griezmann has scored seven goals in his last six knockout-stage matches in major tournaments, beginning with his Golden Boot-clinching displays at Euro 2016.

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