France vs Belgium Combined XI
A mouth-watering semi-final clash awaits us in the FIFA World Cup 2018. Many are referring France vs Belgium match as the 'Match of the Tournament', with many believing the winner of the match would eventually go on to lift the World Cup. Ahead of this semi-final clash, we look at a combined XI between the two nations
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Even though both goalkeepers had an excellent tournament so far, one cannot look beyond Courtois after his match-winning performance against Brazil. Along with his saves, he has been good in distribution, playing out from the back and starting counter-attacks
Defenders: Benjamin Pavard, Toby Alderweireld, Raphael Varane, and Jan Vertonghen
Benjamin Pavard has been one of the surprises in the World Cup. Many doubted his abilities and preferred Sidibe over him. But he has been a solid defender possessing a great attacking threat. His goal against Argentina in Last 16 could become the best goal of the tournament.
Toby Alderweirald came to the tournament with a reputation as one the best defenders in the world. And he has certainly lived up to his reputation. He has been solid as a defender all over the tournament.
Raphael Varane is another defender who came with a big reputation to the World Cup. His pace, positioning along with his aerial threat as been a great asset to the French team. His goal against Uruguay showed his threat on set-pieces
Jan Vertonghen has been solid throughout the tournament, even as a left back when Belgium shifted to a 4-3-3 formation against Brazil.
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel
N'Golo Kante has been doing in this tournament as he has always done - break up play, cover spaces and run the whole pitch till 90 minutes. And he has been doing this with high standards.
Kevin De Bruyne, as expected, has been great in this tournament, with the ability to find a pass, and produce top class set-piece delivery. Started the tournament with a deeper midfield role, he started the Brazil game in a more forward attacking role where he flourished, scoring a goal and proving to be a constant threat on the counter.
Axel Witsel could be the surprise choice for the list. And he was also a surprise when Martinez decided to leave Nainggolan and take Witsel to the team. But he has proved to be a consistent performer, quietly doing his duties. He was immense against Brazil, where he was blocking shots and denying space to frustrate the Brazilians.
Attackers: Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Eden Hazard
Kylian Mbappe has been the star of the World Cup. His pace, agility, movement along with his finishing capabilities have made him a constant threat to the opponents. Against Argentina, he proved how dangerous he could be, as the defenders could not handle his pace whatsoever.
Romelu Lukaku has not been at his best as a striker this tournament, with his goals coming against the minnows Panama and Tunisia. But there is no doubt his physicality and his ability to run past players have been a great asset for the Belgium team. His performance against Brazil was top notch, playing as a false winger, with his movement and pace was too much to handle for the Brazilians.
Eden Hazard has been an integral part of the Belgium team and has been one of the standout players in the tournament. His ability to dribble past players, provide assists and scoring goals makes him a genuine contender for the player of the tournament. His performance against Brazil was immense, where he was able to hold on to the ball and dribble past players when Belgium was under pressure.