Martinez: France's Henry is missing ingredient for Belgium

World Cup 2018: A guide to semi-finals

France fire World Cup shot - We'll show Thierry Henry he picked the wrong side

So not only do we not know what he thinks about Tuesday's World Cup semi-final clash against his native France, we don't really know what he thinks about his role at all.

For the fifth time in World Cup history, the semi-finals will be an all-European affair.

"It's been two years to try and understand these footballers, the human beings behind the footballers, and to try and get a group that shared the same ambition, not just to use the national team to improve their brand", Martinez told a news conference.

As is the case in the geographic sense, in which France and Belgium share a border, there's no apparent distance between the teams. I will make sure that my players are ready to play in different shapes and systems, which we alter mid-match.

"N'Golo is an essential element because of his work rate, the number of balls he recovers for us, as well as his positioning - he often cuts out cross-field passes aimed at their attack". "We will have to play in a very structured way, give them as little space as possible". Marouane Fellaini, who has oft-partnered Pogba in the United midfield, will now be looking to stop the powerful Frenchman.

Belgium XI: Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Nace Chadli, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Yannick Carrasco, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard.

Belgium started off their World Cup campaign in a comprehensive fashion as they thrashed debutants Panama 3-0 in the opening match while they dismantled Tunisia 5-2 in the second group stage match. Central to their success in this tournament has been their tactical flexibility, and Martinez may change the formation again to a 4-4-2 to cover for the suspension of wing-back Thomas Meunier.

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De Bruyne said: "He's become a star in France but when I was playing against him for City against Monaco he'd only played 10 matches. Each player would be defending his colours".

"But he did know that, from the time he was joining the management team and becoming assistant to Martinez, that could happen". For him this game could be hard but he is working for us now and he wants us to win.

France coach Didier Deschamps agrees Henry will be in a tough spot at the St Petersburg Stadium.

Deschamps has the "win-at-all-costs" mentality and it's evident in his six years in-charge of France. "He is a living legend of French football". This means that the club will have at least one representative in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. He is more proactive than reactive.

There's not much to choose between the two sides: both have superb goalkeepers, strong defences and attacking talent in abundance. Henry had just helped France to its only World Cup title and Griezmann, who could barely reach the player's waist on tippy-toes, wanted an autograph.

"I have scored a few goals against him in training with Chelsea and I hope I can do it on Tuesday".

Otherwise, there was respect and admiration in equal measure.

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