By Emmanuel Ebimoh
The semi-final games of the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will kick off tonight. In one of the games, which most people have tagged ‘the final before the finals’, the star-studded Belgium team will do battle with the youthful, reinvigorated France team. So far in the tournament, the Belgian side have kept a 100% record, winning all 5 of their matches without the need to go into extra time, and scoring the most goals. They have been devastating in attack with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, dangerously prolific in midfield with the artistry of Kevin Du Bruyne, and almost solid in defense with the boots of Jan Vertonghen. They have been nicknamed as the golden generation of Belgium football because of the array of stars they parade in every department. And what’s more, they have one of the most celebrated strikers to have grace the beautiful game – Thierry Henry – as one of their coaching staff.
In 1998, Thierry Henry was among the France team that won the World Cup, defeating Brazil in the final. Today, the once most deadly striker in the world, a citizen of France, will be with Roberto Martinez in the coaching bench of Belgium, orchestrating plans against the team of his home country, for a spot in the finals at the World Cup. Where will Thierry Henry’s allegiance be tonight? For his country, or for the team that pays his wages?
One of Belgium’s sensational players and captain of the team, Eden Hazard will also be playing tonight against France. When he was younger, Eden Hazard, along with his younger brothers were strong supporters of France. In fact, in the 1998 World Cup, in the same tournament in which Theirry Henry played for France and won, Hazard was supposedly said to have supported France, as seen in a group photo with his brothers, Kylian and Thorgan. Tonight, Hazard will be playing against the team he once supported so passionately during his childhood. It couldn’t be any better. No doubt, we’re poised for a thrilling game of football in the World Cup tonight!
Where do you think Henry and Hazard will pitch their tents. Will one surrender his love for his country for the team he once loved, or will the allegiance for the paymaster be greater than love for country? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Emmanuel Ebimoh is a writer and social media strategist. You can reach him on Facebook and LinkedIn at Emmanuel Ebimoh. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org