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WK-barometer: the superb form of England, the 3-4 of France, Belgium and the self-confidence of Paul Pogba

What news is there to pick it up in Russia?

© Lionel Hahn/ABACA

After the 2-0 win in Sweden is England for the first time in 28 years later against Croatia in the semi-finals of a world cup. A strong boost for national coach Gareth Southgate and his young cast of actors. Four years ago, survived The Tree Lions not even the group stage, because it’s also the farewell meant for a generation with players like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. “I was not yet born during the last semi-final of our national team at a world cup’, responded Evertongoalie Jordan Pickford (24). Central defender Harry Maguire, who openingsdoelpunt accounted for, showed himself very happy after his first hit ever as international. “We have a good group with a lot of talent.’ The 25-year-old prof of Leicester City sat two years ago, during the european CHAMPIONSHIPS in France, still as a fan in the stands. “A remarkable, hey”, he said in the English press. ‘Why I’m also so proud. Hopefully there will be more of this.’ Captain Harry Kane (Tottenham) dares all of his neck out. “We have a lot of confidence and put in a fantastic form. In difficult matches, we keep the head cool. We are going to do everything to the country and our supporters proud.” That last dare again to dream of more. Because in Russia and England they sing lustily ‘It’s coming home’, the song that in 1996 was used as the EK-host, but now refers to taking the world title. Wait and see.

France-Belgium in Saint-Petersburg is the 74th time in 114 years. Purely on the basis of numerical data allowed the Red Devils hope, because the balance sheet speaks still today to the advantage of Belgium. Of the 73 previous meetings between the two teams won our countrymen, and thirty, compared with twenty-four victories from les Bleus and nineteen equal play. Also in terms of the goals they do better than our southern neighbours, with 160 hits for the Red Devils, and 127 for France. Between 1 may 1904 in Brussels and 10 July 2018 in St. Petersburg is, therefore, a firm tijdskloof, which was associated with many changes in terms of power relations. After the small final at the world cup in Mexico 1986, France won 4-2 after renewals in Puebla of Jan Ceulemans and co, there were only three duels in the last fourteen years. But never did we find each other in an official competition. The last time, on June 7 2015 at the stade de France, was a really spektalstuk staged, and ultimately ended up on a pre-war 3-4. Then-coach Marc Wilmots saw his team when swinging, with goals from Marouane Fellaini (2), Eden Hazard (penalty) and … Radja Nainggolan, which is extracted with a beautiful staircase and dominated the midfield.

The French president Emmanuel Macron travel, despite the fact that human rights organisations, western politicians asked for a world cup boycott by the Russian influence in the Syrian civil war, Tuesday, still off to the world cup for his national team to support. In 2010, by a mutiny of players against coach Raymond Domenech, meant the last place in group A (Uruguay, Mexico and South Africa) with barely a tip an incredibly low point for les Bleus. The expelling of Nicolas Anelka by the French football federation, after a public rant to the address of Domenech, remains always a black page. Four years ago, turned out to be the semi-final against Germany (0-1 loss) in Rio de Janeiro is the endpoint for the Chickens. Has France now has the formula to once again to become a world champion, after the last title in 1998? Didier Deschamps made the then – just like our T3 Thierry Henry – himself as a player, but now gets the chance to coach this great feat to achieve. On the basis of a number of important parameters: the speed of young talent Kylian Mbappé (19), the strength of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (31), the discovery of the solid defence with ‘revelation’ Benjamin Pavard (22, VfB Stuttgart) – because last season in the second Bundesliga – and the economic game that up until now they have been able to bring in Russia. ‘We have no fixed style of play’, posits ideeënbrenger Antoine Griezmann. “Just everything good to observe and have guys who have the right to find solutions’, according to then again , Raphael is looking forward to. “In any case, this world cup anyway for our already successful”, does Deschamps like the pressure is fully gone. ‘The semi-finals is certainly not our final destination’, it sounds already ambitious in Paul Pogba.

© BELGA

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