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World Cup puts a different spotlight on immigration for European teams

10 July 2018

As neighbours France and Belgium take on each other in the first semi-final of the Fifa World Cup in St Petersburg in Russian Federation on Tuesday, July 10, the media is busy painting the rivalry as between two famous comic characters - Asterix and Tintin. Then there's the fact that Les Diables Rouges' assistant coach Thierry Henry is one of France's heroes of 1998 (alongside French head coach Didier Deschamps), infusing the match with additional tension as two veterans of the famous black-blanc-beur team square off on the touchline. "I would be very proud to show Thierry that he chose the wrong camp". France will play against Belgium and Harry Kane's England will contest against Croatia.

"I would have preferred to have Henry on our side, to give me and the other French forwards advice, but I am not too jealous", the 31-year-old Giroud said.

"It is good to see that with such a young team France is progressing well".

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"It has been a few years since he said what he said about me".

The NFF boss and Member of the Organising Committee of FIFA Competitions took charge of the group phase matches between Iran and Portugal in Saransk on June 25th (1-1) and between Panama and Tunisia (1-2) also in Saransk on June 28th, as well as the round of 16 encounter between Sweden and Switzerland in Saint Petersburg on July 3rd (1-0).

The game, as expected, has monopolized the front pages in both countries, complete with references to their long comic book traditions.

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While Asterix is a Frenchman, Tintin - the daring journalist - has Belgium as his home.

French players in a past World Cup match.

But he said France were talented and experienced enough to break down Belgium's defensive "wall" around keeper Thibaut Courtois.

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"I am convinced that we will break down this wall".

World Cup puts a different spotlight on immigration for European teams