If France and Belgium, who face Tuesday in the semi-finals of the World Cup, present two well-honed groups, some duels will be closely watched. Here are five.
Mbappé / Chadli
Scorer, dribbler, blaster but also able to play for the team, as he did against Uruguay in the quarter, Kylian Mbappé realizes a World Cup at the height of his talent, despite his very young age and the pressure which weighs on his shoulders. Twirling and often elusive, he did a lot of dirty things to his direct opponents. Nacer Chadli, more defensive than Yannick Carrasco to occupy the left flank of 3-4-1-2 Roberto Martinez, will have to pull out the big game to counter the French racing car. And he will certainly need the help of Jan Vertonghen to hope to achieve his ends.
Kanté / De Bruyne
He was one of the strongmen of the Belgian victory against Brazil. Positioned in real number 10 while he was playing much lower since the start of the tournament, Kevin De Bruyne was a poison for the Seleçao. Ubiquitous offensively, he shone by his ability to break lines but also by his vista and the accuracy of his game. Not to mention his goal, a heavy shot cross. Author of an impeccable world for the moment, N’Golo Kanté will have the heavy task of cutting the pass of the redhead City. But that, he knows how to do. To hope to see the final, the Blues will necessarily need a Kanté oven and mill. As it has been until then.
Hazard / Pavard
With De Bruyne, he is the tailor of the game of Red Devils. Aligned left side to better fit the axis, Eden Hazard responds so far perfectly to the immense expectations placed in him. His technique, his vista, his dribbling and his accelerations have done a lot of trouble to the Seleçao and to a Fagner often in difficulty. Interestingly offside, Pavard may now have to focus more on his defensive role. He will certainly also need Paul Pogba’s help to muzzle Chelsea’s wisp.
Varane / Lukaku
On one side, the boss of the tricolor defense since the start of this World Cup. On the other, the best scorer of the Red Devils in the competition (4 achievements). A duel that promises to be fierce, both in the air, where the two men excel, on the ground, where the Belgian striker showed a speed and intelligence that particularly hurt Brazil in the quarter, as on the action that brings the goal of De Bruyne, or the one where he lets the ball between his legs for Chadli’s winning goal against Japan at the last minute. But the defender Madrid, impeccable since the beginning of the tournament, has the necessary qualities to stand up to the Red Devil.
Giroud / Kompany
After having colaitiné, with some success, the very solid Godin and Gimenez the previous turn, Olivier Giroud will still have a serious customer on the back with the very athletic Vincent Kompany. Preserved at the beginning of the tournament because of an injury (he had come into play only fifteen minutes in the group stage, against England), the Citizen had taken his marks against Japan before leaving a big game against La Seleçao. A real duel of mastodons, where neither will leave a single centimeter to another