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Nacer Chadli bidding to become first West Brom player to reach World Cup final

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Nacer Chadli says Belgium have nothing to fear from France tomorrow as he bids to become the first Albion player to reach the final of a World Cup.

Nacer Chadli was all smiles ahead of tomorrow's semi-final.

By reaching the semi-final, Albion’s record signing has already gone further in the competition than any other Baggies player while still at the club.

Stuart Williams reached the quarter-finals with Wales in 1958, while Bobby Robson, Don Howe, and Derek Kevan were all in the England squad that reached the same stage in 1962, although none of them featured in the 3-1 defeat to Brazil.

Chadli started Russia 2018 on the bench for Belgium but has played his way into Roberto Martinez’s side.

After scoring a dramatic injury-time winner against Japan in the round of 16, he started for Belgium in their stunning quarter-final victory over favourites Brazil.

The 28-year-old, who is still the club’s record signing following his £18m move from Spurs two summers ago, is expected to keep his place against France.

And Chadli says Belgium have taken a lot of confidence from their 2-1 victory over the five-times winners.

“If you can beat Brazil, you do not have to fear anyone,' said Chadli. “We respect everybody but if we play with fear we will not be able to beat France.

“For us, it was a big step to win against Brazil - also for our confidence and to show everybody that we could do it.

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“Belgium is a small country, we have 11 million people. We are very proud of what we can achieve and what we can do as a group.”

Chadli could make Albion history at the World Cup, but his future at the Baggies remains uncertain.

The attacking midfielder has a £17m relegation release clause in his contract, which could be activated once he returns from Russia.

Aston Villa's David Platt played for England in their semi-final defeat to West Germany at Italia 90, while Wolves player Ron Flowers was a member of England's victorious 1966 World Cup final squad, but he didn't feature in the game.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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