France – Belgium: “I love you neither”

France – Belgium: “I love you neither”
France – Belgium: “I love you neither”

The last few days spent at the Red Devils’ base camp in Ludwigsburg were somewhat surreal. Qualification for the round of 16 of the Euro was, initially, relegated to the background, after the boos of the Belgian supporters, the hot reaction of the Devils and the refusal of their captain to greet them at the end of the match. match against Ukraine.

Finally, on Saturday, the cursor was directed towards France. The Devils took turns at our microphone: De Bruyne, Tielemans, Castagne, Casteels, Bakayoko… All had only respectful words towards the French team. Within the Belgian team, the pre-match climate is very different from those experienced at the World Cup in Russia or in Turin for the semi-final of the League of Nations.

We won’t go back over the controversies experienced during these two duels, the French media have already taken care of that, with a column entitled “La route du Seum” in the largest sports daily in France. Understand who can… To this “seum” road, the Belgians much prefer the Wine Route or the Sun Highway, synonymous with holidays with our neighbors. Speaking of which, this France-Belgium duel in Düsseldorf would be, according to some French media, the neighbors’ party… Let’s be frank, for there to be a neighbors’ party, there has to be a certain desire to see each other. So let’s not lie to ourselves: Belgian supporters, on the whole, did not want to meet France again, this tournament scarecrow…

A tune from 1986

France is a nightmare for any opponent: world-class players, a pragmatic coach who knows better than anyone the recipe for success, a prestigious record, and the presence of the man some present as the best player in the world, a certain Kylian Mbappé… The Belgians really do not start with the favors of the predictions. A bit like against the USSR in Mexico in 1986. That day, the Devils’ suitcases were already crammed into the hold of the coach, ready to join the country on the first flight. Finally, the adventure had prolonged beyond all hope at the end of a completely Dantesque match. What if history repeated itself today? What if the Devils could win?

At the final whistle of the match against Ukraine, Kevin De Bruyne exhorted his teammates: “We can win this f****** next game!”. Our captain is right. Each match has its own story, its own truth. One certainty, however: Belgium will have to play the perfect match if it intends to shake up this French team, which is apparently still searching for itself, but which is never as formidable as when it comes to knockout matches.

Like the Blues, the Devils are heading into this duel with more questions than certainties. Regarding the composition of the starting eleven, Domenico Tedesco should obviously remain faithful to his 4-3-3 pattern and his typical defense, made up of Castagne – Faes – Vertonghen – Theate, in front of the impeccable Casteels. In the middle of the game, Orel Mangala could make his return next to the control tower, Amadou Onana, to the detriment of Tielemans, in order to further strengthen the midfield. Kevin De Bruyne and Lukaku are certain starters.

On the flanks, Doku and Lukebakio will have to bring speed and madness. On the other side, it is rumored that Deschamps would be tempted to modify his tactical plan in favor of a 4-4-2 diamond, with Mbappé and Thuram at the forefront, in order to put pressure on the central axis of the Belgian defense. The chess game between the two coaches has begun. Will Belgium thwart King Mbappé?

France Belgium Euro 2024 Editorial

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