'Benefits us': 116-capped stalwart is glad he's not facing Chelsea star in the Nations League

Axel Witsel admitted he was relieved to learn Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante would not be present for the Nations League clash between France and Belgium.

Speaking to AS, the Borussia Dortmund man confessed his country certainly profited from Kante being unavailable.

Belgium vs France

Belgium and France face each other in the competition’s semi-final tomorrow night, a contest between first and fourth in the FIFA rankings.

Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/Belga/AFP via Getty Images

It pairs together two of the finest international squads on the market.

Examine both camps and some of the names that jump out are quite outstanding.

From Chelsea’s beloved Eden Hazard to the golden boy of a nation Kylian Mbappe, it is a football manager’s dream.

Unfortunately, one household name will not be in attendance.

Kante is currently isolating after testing positive for covid.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Only two days remain of the separation period, but Didier Deschamps decided against including the £30 million man (BBC Sport) in his French group.

A loss to Le Bleus, a huge gain for Belgium.

“There are many good French players,” said Witsel, who has 116 Belgium caps stored in his locker.

“(Karim) Benzema, whose current level is more than top. 

“And they have several more top players: Mbappe, (Antoine) Griezmann …

“Fortunately, it benefits us that N’Golo Kanté is not there. He has six lungs and thirty-six legs.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

“(Paul) Pogba. It’s a very strong team. And that’s not to mention the other players”

France feeble without Kante

France have had to cope without Kante already once this season.

Chelsea’s engine was forced to miss his country’s previous round of fixtures due to an ankle problem.

The 30-year-old’s absence perhaps reflected on the results.

Deschamps side drew with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine, then beat Finland 2-0.

Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

France have only won once since their opening European Championship victory over Germany.

A run of form which should have Belgium salivating at the mouth.

Especially Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who has scored five in five for his nation.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.