Balaise Matuidi back in France's only change for semis

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

Thierry Henry with Roberto Martinez

I love him. He doesn't show much emotion, he just reads things and is happy and excited about defending'.

"No, no, I think when you are in the semi-final of the World Cup it's a unique moment in anyone's career and I don't think you switch off".

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Henry, France's all-time leading goalscorer, was a member of the squads that won the 1998 World Cup on home soil and Euro 2000 alongside French boss Didier Deschamps.

According to Martinez, another aspect of Belgium's emergence is the role of Thierry Henry, who will be put in the delicate position of having to plot the downfall of his former side having been appointed as assistant coach two years ago. "For us he was as important against Panama and Tunisia as he was against Brazil". He tells us stories from his playing days and they inspire us. Pele hit a hat-trick against France in the semi-final of that tournament and is the last player under 20 to score in the final four.

"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. "In other competitions if you lose one day you can still make a comeback a couple of days later, but here it is different, we know we are out if we don't win".

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Chelsea and Les Blues striker Giroud has admitted that while he has massive respect for France legend Henry, but he also revealed that he will be eager to get one over on Henry when the two continental neighbours face off in the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

"If we win, he will also be happy because ultimately he is a Frenchman", said France defender Lucas Hernandez on Saturday.

The teams have met 73 times before with Belgium winning on 30 occasions, France 24, and 19 matches drawn.

"It's very good for Belgium", she said.

But she said, this was Belgium, where the beer flows well and people look out for each other: "Among us Belgians, we support each other massively".

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