Didier Deschamps says France will need to guard against a Belgium side he feels deserve to be second in the FIFA world rankings going into Sunday’s friendly.
The European neighbours meet at the Stade de France, with Belgium having jumped ahead of Argentina into second this week – their highest position to date.
While France would ordinarily be favourites for such a clash, Deschamps says Belgium’s new generation of talent warrants respect.
“The difference between Belgium and us is simple: seven places in the world,” Deschamps explained. “They reached the quarter-finals at the World Cup and after that defeat against Argentina have not lost since.
“Their second place in the FIFA rankings is not accidental. They are a team with a lot of individual qualities, especially with offensive players like [Eden] Hazard, [Christian] Benteke, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Dries] Mertens and [Romelu] Lukaku.
“All their players have developed well at big clubs. They belong to the best teams in Europe and the world. The only thing they lack is perhaps some experience.”
Chelsea forward Hazard is arguably Belgium’s biggest dangerman, having been named PFA Players’ Player of the Year in England following an impressive campaign for the Premier League champions.
“[Hazard] is a decisive player, he is efficient, strong with the ball at his feet and in one moment can make a difference,” Deschamps added.
“It’s very difficult to stop such a player. We will be vigilant and try to limit his actions because he has a great influence on the team.”