Olivier Giroud joked he would be “proud” to show Thierry Henry he was wrong to choose Belgium over France.
Henry, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, will switch allegiances for Tuesday’s World Cup semi-final as he is a coach in Roberto Martinez’s Belgium backroom staff.
Giroud insists he will not allow Henry’s presence on the opposing bench to distract his focus with a place in the World Cup final at stake.
“Obviously, I’ll be very proud to show Thierry Henry that he’s chosen the wrong camp,” Giroud said ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final in Saint Petersburg.
“It is true that it will be weird to see him lining up against us for the game, it will also be a special game for him. Personally, I just care about winning.”
Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe, both reportedly linked with Real Madrid, are two of the biggest talents at the World Cup and also team-mates of Giroud.
“They are both geniuses,” added Giroud. “Kylian Mbappe is still a raw diamond to polish. He is still very young and can progress hugely. He is more dangerous with his speed I would say.
“He is able to do some moves deep inside without the ball. Kylian is more of a striker than Eden.
“But to stand alongside Eden every day at Chelsea, he is impressive when he is driving with the ball, in his capacity to cut through with the ball.
“For me, he is one of the three best players I have ever played with in my whole career.”
There will be a strong Premier League influence in Tuesday’s match – the two squads combined boast 17 players from England’s top division.
“There is a big rivalry between France and Belgium, it is kind of a derby,” he added. “They have nine players who are playing in the English Premier League so there’ll be something of a British accent.
“It is true that for Hugo Lloris, myself, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba it will be a special game.”
“We’ll have to be focused” – France defender has a warning for Eden Hazard in France clash
Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been warned by France defender Lucas Hernandez ahead of their crucial semi-final clash on Tuesday at the 2018 World Cup.
The two European giants will meet in the last four as only one will book a place in the final of the global tournament.
Belgium has to fend off Brazil in their quarter-final clash with the likes of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho in fine form to displace them.
But they stood strong and held on after Kevin De Bruyne’s shot from outside the box found the back of the net to seal the win.
For France, they beat a strong a resilient Uruguay side in the last eight, and that was after their win over Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the last sixteen.
French defender, Fernandez says in the same way Argentina’s key players suffered in their round of 16 clash, Belgium will meet the same fate in the game on Tuesday.
“We’ll have to be focused. We have already eliminated the best player in the world in 8th against Argentina.
He did not touch the ball. It’s the truth.Against Belgium, we also have the players to make sure that he (Hazard) touches the ball the fewest possible times.”
Lucas Hernandez, Tribal Football