Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

France vs. Belgium - Football Match Report

France vs. Belgium - Football Match Report

Umtiti's header was the flawless start to the second half for France, sending the blue fans into a frenzy.

Assistant coach Thierry Henry consoles Eden Hazard at the end of the semifinal match between France and Belgium.

Roberto Martinez's side must now regroup to focus on Saturday's third place playoff against the loser of Wednesday's second semi-final between England and Croatia as Belgium's so-called "Golden Generation" failed to overcome a talented French side.

The Barcelona man's 51st-minute winning header made him the third French defender to score at this tournament.

Deschamps, coach at Euro 2016 and captain of the 1998 World Cup winners, suggested as much.

France will now advance to Sunday's World Cup final where they will face the victor of Wednesday's semifinal match between England and Croatia.

France started to liven up, creating a number of opportunities but Belgium looked the more risky side. Yellow card accumulation resets in the semifinals, so players will no longer be playing in fear of being suspended for their next match.

Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne, meanwhile, was a little more diplomatic, perhaps mindful of the fact he will share a dressing room with several French internationals next season. He said after that match that there he was disappointed that they were done in by a set-piece.

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Mbappe gave an early signal of intent when he embarked upon a fleet-footed run within seconds of the kick-off, and would go on to torment the Belgium defence throughout.

"Unfortunately for us the difference was a dead-ball situation".

'The game was very close, very tight and it was going to be decided by the one who could find the final touch in the box or get a bit of luck on goal. Belgium had 64 percent possession but struggled with the speed of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, while its midfield was outclassed by Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante.

Olivier Giroud flashed a header just wide and Mbappe set up Benjamin Pavard whose low shot was kept out by the outstretched leg of Courtois. The French earned the chance and executed it perfectly, with Umtiti outjumping Marouane Fellaini to make the connection on the near-post header.

In search of the equalizer, Belgium repeatedly sent over crosses from both wings but Umtiti and Varane, both centre backs, used their bodies cleverly to hold off Fellaini and Lukaku.

51' GOAL! Umtiti gets the goal to break the deadlock!

Lloris and Courtois played a huge part in their sides" quarter-final wins and it was only thanks to two of the best "keepers in the world that the game remained goalless at half-time.

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