Talking points: Martinez revisits Everton tactic, France builds momentum

As Belgium and France take their places in the last four stage of the World Cup, we take a look at the talking points from the quarterfinal matches.

Romelu Lukaku vs Brazil Romelu Lukaku vs Arsenal

Lukaku playing for Belgium in 2018 (L) and for Everton in 2014.   -  Getty Images

Les Bleus building momentum to claim ultimate prize

France, after sealing its semifinal spot with a 2-0 win over Uruguay, can say it is peaking at the right time. It took the entirety of the group stage to find its rhythm, but has, without doubt, played its best football in the last-16 and quarterfinals to knock out two South American nations.

URU vs FRA - Match Report

The goal-scoring is being shared around the team and, like it showed against Argentina in the round of 16, has the firepower to outscore its opposition if the defence has a bad day.

While knockout rounds give no one room for error, France cannot have played better and be feeling better about itself ahead of the semifinal against Belgium.  

Poor defending costs Selecao

Brazil had been one of the complete teams at the World Cup, conceding just once and scoring seven goals in four matches. This balance to its game was the reason it went into the quarterfinal against Belgium as a favourite.

But against the best attacking team in the tournament (Belgium, which had scored 12 goals before facing Selecao), its defence had an off day and the team paid the price because the attackers weren't at their incisive best either.

Belgium: great going forward, brittle at the back

For a defensive line which boasts tremendous experience, both internationally and at club level, Belgium's defence doesn't exude confidence and was caught out on numerous occasions by Brazil.

BRA vs BEL - Match report

Therefore, in a way, the Belgian Red Devils were fortuitous to progress and has to up its defensive game to give itself a chance of overcoming France.

Martinez revisits Everton tactic

During Roberto Martinez's first season as Everton manager (2013-14), he deployed Romelu Lukaku as a right winger in a home match against Arsenal and, on that occasion, the Belgian scored a goal and the Toffees convincingly beat the North London club 3-0. On Friday, Martinez's revisited that tactic (deploying Lukaku on the right of a front three) and it proved very effective against an accomplished Brazilian outfit.

Lukaku's hold-up play and running with the ball were the features of his display against the Selecao, with one 40-yard run from deep in his own half helping set up Kevin De Bruyne for the goal that proved to be the winner.

In a post-match interview, De Bruyne said, "Romelu or Eden changed positions and they wanted to attack Marcelo and they (Brazil) didn't know what to do."

Uruguay bows out disappointingly

Uruguay will be very disappointed with the manner of its exit from the World Cup. It conceded a set-piece goal that wasn't on the cards before the match and Fernando Muslera's clanger demoralised the team that had, before Friday, conceded only once in its four previous outings.

Even minus Edinson Cavani, La Celeste lacked a gameplan and surprisingly resorted to long balls. Its best player, Luis Suarez, was a largely peripheral figure, and France didn't even have to be at its best to progress to the semifinals.

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