France and Belgium will face off as one of Wednesday's marquee international friendly matches as both teams look to build momentum for upcoming World Cup qualifying fixtures.
Les Bleus come in to Wednesday's match reeling off three consecutive losses, most recently a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Brazil in June. They're also scoreless in those three unsuccessful bouts.
Meanwhile, Belgium topped Serbia in their most recent affair, which was a World Cup qualifying match. They also beat the United States in a friendly on May 29.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know for the matchup.
When: Wednesday, August 14
Where: Koning Boudewijn Stadion, Belgium
Start Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN3 (ESPN Deportes tape delay at 5:30 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: ESPN3
Belgium Player to Watch: Vincent Kompany
The Red Devils' captain anchors the defensive back line, and his impact on the match is almost always reflected on the score line. Wednesday should be no different.
Full of capable attackers, France undoubtedly boasts the offensive potential to score early and often despite their recent drought. Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery are just two of the plethora of stars on France's side.
That will make Kompany's job that much tougher, but he's never backed off a challenge as proved by his successful career with Manchester City where his 151 caps has earned him the spot as the Premier League club's captain.
His leadership will be critical, but just as much so will be his ability to stifle France's attack. He's one of the best on-ball defenders in world football with his ability to use strength and finesse footwork to shut down opponents.
If he can shut down France's offense like he's done with so many potent EPL attacks, it could be another scoreless struggle for Les Bleus.
France Player to Watch: Samir Nasri
It's tough to pick just one player to watch on a French side full of stars—Ribery, Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris, Eric Abidal and many more—but the return of Samir Nasri couldn't have come at a better time.
The Guardian reports that Nasri is on the squad for Wednesday's friendly against Belgium, which would mark the first time in over a year that Nasri took the pitch for the national team. He was suspended three games after Euro 2012, when he gave an "explicit-laden rant" at reporters, per The Guardian report, and injuries kept him out after that.
For a squad that has struggled mightily in generating scoring chances and goals, Nasri will fill a massive void.
Perhaps his absence is exactly what held the French down, and his return to the lineup will be exactly what Les Bleus needed to get back on track.
Then again, we've seen Nasri disappear before in big matches.
With Wednesday's affair being a friendly, it'll allow Nasri to ease into playing time and not feel like he has to force the action. That should result in an improved attack for Nasri and the squad.
There's no question which side has the most talent—although Belgium has their fair share of star players—but one team has looked leaps and bounds better than the other at this point.
France just isn't where it needs to be in order to play elite football, and Belgium have shown the ability to hang with elite teams in recent bouts.
Belgium 2, France 1
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