N’Golo Kante can play a key role against Belgium’s array of attacking talent after he kept Lionel Messi quiet in France’s World Cup victory over Argentina, according to Didier Deschamps.
France face Belgium in the first semi-final of the tournament in St Petersburg on Tuesday, with their opponents riding high after a shock 2-1 quarter-final triumph against Brazil, in which front three Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne excelled.
Kante trained separately from his team-mates on Monday, jogging lightly alongside right-back Benjamin Pavard at Krestovsky Stadium, but coach Deschamps is confident the Chelsea man will be available to shackle the Red Devils’ attacking stars from defensive midfield.
“Yes, he will have a role. He has a role in every match with some adjustments compared to what he’s done before,” said the former Les Bleus skipper.
“I want him to be as efficient as possible for our team.
“Of course, N’Golo is an essential part because of all the balls he gets back and his positions. He also has a lot of trajectories on offensive passing
“He will have an important role to play as he did in every match against players like Lionel Messi in the round of 16. He had a very precise role. It is true that we didn’t really see much of Lionel Messi when he played against us.”
1 – N’Golo Kanté
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