Three years later, the scar has not closed. This painful memory of a defeat in the semi-finals of the World Cup and a dream evaporated when the supreme title seemed promised to the Red Devils. Thanks to a smashed header from Samuel Umtiti, the Blues won 1-0 leaving the Belgians a bitter taste of injustice. “France did not play, had let go of the goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at the end of the meeting. The frustration is there because we lose against a team that is not better than us. “
This Friday morning, the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique even titled “Tous contre la France”. “This defeat has remained anchored in their memory. We often talk about this semi-final at the club and we always stay as much between the French and the Belgians of the team, says Pierre Bourdin the central defender of Beerschot (D1) who has been playing in Belgium for seven seasons (Cercle Bruges, Lierse). They have not forgotten this meeting. They thought they deserved the victory more than France. It is true that the Belgian selection had dominated the meeting but it was not effective. It’s football. Afterwards, we also know that there is a rivalry between these two countries which goes beyond the framework of football. “
If France is the number one favorite for the Euro, Belgium comes in 2nd position, with still impressive attacking potential. Striker Romelu Lukaku has been one of the great architects this season of Inter Milan’s title in Italy and scorer of 30 goals in all competitions. Attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne had an exceptional year with Manchester City (10 goals and 18 assists), Eden Hazard missed his season with Real Madrid but he remains an international class player. The former Monegasque Tielemans comes out of a season accomplished with Leicester City as a midfielder and the young Rennais Jérémy Doku (19) showed very interesting percussion qualities at the end of the season in L1.
“The Belgians have a very good generation. This is the last competition where they can win anything, thinks Pierre Bourdin. All are reaching full maturity. Lukaku has taken a step forward. The question mark is about Hazard as he lacks pace and confidence. Belgium, which faces Russia this Saturday without Witsel and De Bruyne (injured), is in a very affordable group with Denmark and Finland. “We are not aiming for a quarter or a semi-final. We want the final, and try to win it. But inevitably if we are eliminated by better than us, we will accept it more easily… ”, confided Thibaut Courtois during the press conference this Friday. While Belgium will face France on October 7 in the semifinals of the League of Nations, a third confrontation between the two nations at the Euro in 3 years cannot be ruled out.