France v Belgium: Mbappe misses training but Deschamps eases fears

France's Kylian Mbappe  is one of the reasons why the World Cup semifinal against Belgium could turn into a goal-fest

France are looking to reach their third World Cup final in the last 20 years, while Belgium are vying for their first-ever decisive match. Therefore, we could easily witness more than 2.5 goals scored. They know how to counterattack. Then there's the heading ability of its defenders Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany, and of midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

Mbappe was lethal in France's 4-3 Round of 16 win over Argentina, using his pace to devastating effect, but Martinez said his side would not make the mistake of focusing exclusively on one player. There isn't a philosophy to the French play, their style of play derived from the personnel they have. "We know there will be some tough moments in the game, and we'll have to be ready to suffer".

By Srinivas Sadhanand With an embarrassment of peerless superstars at their disposal, Didier Deschamps and Roberto Martinez expectedly find their sides inching towards global greatness. Several players on both sides share dressing rooms at their clubs and tomorrow they will be playing against each other.

For his 5 ft 6 frame, he is not even supposed to make so many headed interceptions and win aerial duels, but he does them nevertheless owing to his anticipatory skills, positioning and pitch coverage. This, teamed with clean sheets against Panama and England, has earned him his spot as number one ahead of Hugo Lloris, despite the Tottenham captain boasting three shut outs. "There will be a lot of great players on the pitch". With the sides hard to separate on paper, how they handle the pressure, and perhaps those little nuggets of inside knowledge, could make all the difference.

"They beat Japan in a somewhat insane ending, and beat probably the tournament favourite in Brazil", Lloris added.

There could also have been a fascinating duel on the wings between French teen sensation Kylian Mbappe and his PSG team-mate Thomas Meunier but that won't happen since the Belgian is suspended for the game.

"When you go to a club overseas and play against one from your own country, you are part of the enemy", the France manager told the press.

Previous results: In group play, defeated Australia, 2-1; defeated Peru, 1-0; tied Denmark, 0-0. Raphael Varane & Samuel Umtiti were tight at the back, and this points to a wider defensive stability, the only blot on their copybook was the three goals conceded to Argentina in the round of sixteen. The 25-year-old Varane has been does well in Russian Federation, scoring the first goal against Uruguay with a header. "He's imposing himself more and more".

France and Belgium are seen as the strongest teams left in the competition, which means the victor of Tuesday's match will head into the final as favourites to be crowned world champions.

On the French side, the attack is led by 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe and a pair of 22-year-old fullbacks, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, who love to attack on offense.

"It still hurts because we missed out on something exceptional in becoming European champions".

Here were two emerging talents of world football with high price tags to match.

Target man Olivier Giroud is expected to start against Belgium and again provide a foil for Mbappe's pace and Antoine Griezmann's playmaking, while Paul Pogba - solid in midfield - will line up alongside the omnipresent N'Golo Kante.

De Bruyne says that wherever he plays, his mind-set remains essentially the same. It's not just his work rate, not just his tackling. "He had a very specific role against (Argentina forward) Lionel Messi, which he did very well".



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