France coach Didier Deschamps is hoping that N'Golo Kante can repeat his heroics from the 4-3 World Cup round-of-16 win over Argentina when Les Bleus take on Belgium in Tuesday's semifinal against Belgium in Saint Petersburg.
The Chelsea midfielder kept the legendary Lionel Messi relatively quiet against the South Americans and will come up against Blues teammate Eden Hazard as the Belgian captain and playmaker.
Speaking at a press conference at Krestovsky Stadium, Deschamps admitted that Kante will be key, but that it is the case each game he is involved in.
"N'Golo will have an important role, like he does in each match," said the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship-winning former captain. "There will be some tweaks, though, which will suit us better.
"N'Golo is an essential element because of his work rate, the number of balls he recovers for us, as well as his positioning -- he often cuts out cross-field passes aimed at their attack.
"We saw N'Golo up against Argentina's Messi -- he was given a specific role, and he did exactly what was asked of him."
Deschamps revealed that he has prepared for a number of different scenarios against Belgium on Tuesday, but that Les Bleus have been doing that since their arrival in Russia anyway.
"My team will be ready for a variety of situations," he said. "The Belgians did not reach this stage playing one style of football -- they changed things up against Brazil.
"Will they do it again, against us? It is a possibility. I will make sure that my players are ready to play in different shapes and systems, which we alter mid-match.
"It will be nothing specific to Belgium -- we already did the same for our other opponents."
This semifinal will also see Deschamps cross paths with former international teammate Thierry Henry, who is now assistant to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.
"Thierry and I met when he was very young, and I was sure that he would go far," the French coach said of Henry. "I am happy for him for everything that he went on to do.
"This will not be an easy situation for him and it sometimes happens at club level. This, however, is a cut above that -- Thierry will be on the bench and against his country, his nation. He knew very well that this was a possibility. Personally, it will be of great pleasure to see him again on Tuesday."
Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris echoed Deschamps' sentiments on Henry and called the occasion "special."
"I am lucky to have spent two seasons with Thierry as part of the France squad -- he was a great player, and a top French football guy, so it will be special to see him with the Belgium team," said the Tottenham Hotspur shot-stopper. "He is there as part of his education to be a coach.
"Thierry's heart will be split. He is the record goal scorer, second as far as caps go -- Thierry has written history with Les Bleus, and as we know him, and all of the passion that animates him, he will be giving everything for his team."
Regarding this being the most talented French team that Lloris has played with, he responded that he will "only be able to say at the end of our World Cup."
"I have known many great French players, but I think that we have the chance to make history for France," he added. "We are getting closer to our goal, but our opponents will be even stronger than before. We have players with immense potential, though, and we still do not know their limits."
Lloris hailed Belgium as the World Cup's most "complete" team and emphasised the need for a team effort to defeat Les Diables Rouges.
"In attack, Belgium boast plenty of quality -- they also have strength in depth," he said. "We must be solid -- the answer is to work collectively, be as structured as possible, and disciplined to avoid giving them much space.
"They are confident after that wild comeback against Japan and the beating the favourites Brazil -- I reckon that the Belgians will be very confident coming into this one.
"This Belgium is the most complete team at the World Cup, in terms of every aspect. They can defend and attack, they can counter-attack, they can dominate in the air or on the ground -- they have everything that they need to be a great team and they are, in fact, a great team."