July 22, 2018

"I'll show him!" - France's Giroud aims to prove Thierry Henry wrong

10 July 2018, 07:13 | Henrietta Morgan

"I'll show him!" - France's Giroud aims to prove Thierry Henry wrong

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The base of midfield will see N'Golo Kante with Paul Pogba in a box-to-box role while Blaise Matuidi comes in for Corentin Tolisso who started the last game.

Former French captain Henry scored 51 goals in 123 worldwide appearances, also winning the European championship title in 2000, playing alongside Deschamps. "There will be some tweaks, though, which will suit us better".

"We will need to anticipate him and be well-positioned".

Deschamps revealed that he has prepared for a number of different scenarios against Belgium on Tuesday, but that Les Bleus have been doing that since their arrival in Russian Federation anyway. However, Croatia are still one of the least creative sides to have made the knockouts, largely because they are too reliant on the Real Madrid midfielder.

"Will they do something similar for us?" It is a possibility. I will make sure that my players are ready to play in different shapes and systems, which we alter mid-match.

"It will be nothing specific to Belgium - we already did the same for our other opponents".

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Thierry Henry has never been slow coming forward - on or off the field - but the unusual thing is that he has only ever given one interview in his role as what the Belgian FA call "the second assistant" to manager Roberto Martinez. To see him wearing the Belgian's training kit is weird. Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him. He is facing his home nation. "Personally, I have little contact [with him]".

Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris echoed Deschamps' sentiments on Henry and called the occasion "special".

After a slow start to the tournament and uninspiring progress from the group stage - despite two wins and a draw - Didier Deschamps' team swept past Argentina in the last 16 thanks to a blistering attacking display from teenager Kylian Mbappe, who was involved in three of France's four goals, scoring twice and winning a penalty. "He is there as part of his education to be a coach".

Martinez confirms that: "This players have been working together extraordinarily well for many years, and they deserve to be exactly where they are today".

"I have known many great French players, but I think that we have the chance to make history for France", he added.

Martinez knows Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is a big threat, but he wants to pay attention to the whole picture. Eight of England's ten World Cup goals have been from dead balls, while Croatia have conceded three times from set-piece situations.

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"In attack, Belgium boast plenty of quality - they also have strength in depth", he said.

I pointed out before the tournament how much his reading of the game has improved in recent seasons - if he is heavily marked, he knows where and when to move to drag his markers to open up space for his teammates.

"They are confident after that wild comeback against Japan and the beating the favourites Brazil - I reckon that the Belgians will be very confident coming into this one".

'In Belgium we can't follow the path of a previous generation that's won the World Cup.

As quick as Chadli is, Belgium can't counter Mbappe with speed, they'll have to do it with good positional play and smart tactics.

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