Watch: Raphael Varane aware of challenge Romelu Lukaku presents for France in semi-final with Belgium

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Raphael Varane and France meet Belgium in the semi-final.

Raphael Varane, who has faced some of the best strikers in the world, knows he and France’s defence will have a hard job against Romelu Lukaku in the semi-final clash at the World Cup.

Varane was complimentary of Lukaku’s abilities and pointed to Belgium star’s size and strength as qualities that will make it difficult for France to contain him when the teams meet on Tuesday.

“He is a very powerful player, he can weight heavily on ever kind of defence,” Varane said.

See what else Varane had to say about Lukaku, as well as Eden Hazard, in the video below.

Most popular

Fernando Hierro to leave the Spanish football federation following stint as stand-in Spain boss

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
To leave role: Fernando Hierro.

Fernando Hierro, Spain’s stand-in coach during the World Cup, is to leave the Spanish football federation after turning down the chance to return to his former role as sporting director.

Hierro has instead decided to “seek new horizons and undertake new professional challenges”, the RFEF said in a statement.

The 50-year-old took charge of Spain after Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the tournament after agreeing to become Real Madrid coach following the tournament.

Under Hierro, Spain finished top of Group B but were knocked out at the last-16 stage following a penalty shoot-out defeat to Russia.

The former Real Madrid defender was the Federation’s sporting director on two separate occasions, between 2007-11 – during which time the national team won the European Championships and World Cup – and then again from November 2017.

Most popular

Jordan Pickford is proving his critics wrong, says former England goalkeeper David Seaman

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
In safe hands: Jordan Pickford

Former England goalkeeper David Seaman believes Jordan Pickford is relishing proving his critics wrong at the World Cup.

The Everton number one has found himself under fire during the tournament but he produced several superb saves on Saturday as England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach the semi-finals.

Seaman, who made 75 appearances for his country, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “He’s not lacking in confidence at all. You can see when he makes good saves he loves to celebrate them, and why not?

“He’s doing this on the world’s biggest stage and he’s coming off the back of a little bit of criticism and he’s relishing in the fact that he’s proving
people wrong and telling them he is Jordan Pickford and he will do it his way.”

Seaman added: “Some of the criticism he got for the goal (against Belgium) when he went with the top hand was a little bit unjust, I just thought it was questionable but that was about it. But boy has he replied in the right way.”

Gareth Southgate, less than two years into his role as England boss, has guided the team into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990, and only third ever.

The last time England reached this stage of any major competition was at Euro 96, when Seaman and Southgate were team-mates on home soil.

The ex-Arsenal keeper admits he never imagined his old colleague would go on to become a manager, let alone achieve what he has.

“No. Obviously during Euro 96 it was a great time being an England player but you never thought that Gareth would go on to do what he’s doing now,” he said.

“He was always aware of tactics, team formations and all that sort of stuff, but it’s a long journey from there.

“He’s been through managing club sides, then up to the (England) Under-21s and to be doing what he’s doing now, in the style that he’s doing now, the way that he’s presented himself, it’s brilliant and it makes me feel so proud.”

On why he felt Southgate would not go into management, the 54-year-old said: “Maybe the self-confidence. You look at people like Tony Adams. Paul Ince, and even Alan Shearer, those three would have been top of your list. But not Gareth.

“It just shows you that there are different ways of becoming a manager, and he certainly has got that different way about him.”

Seaman is now backing England to overcome Croatia in Wednesday’s semi-final and set up what he believes will be a final showdown against Belgium next weekend.

He said on Sky Sports: “The Croatia game is going to be difficult, I think it’s going to be our hardest test, but when you look at both teams, for me, England have got a lot more than what Croatia have got.

“Croatia have got a great midfield and a great striker, but we’ve got great players all over the pitch, so for me it’s going to be England in the final and then I think it will be Belgium.”

Most popular