Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Drew Collins

France reach 2018 World Cup final, beat Belgium 1-0

France reach 2018 World Cup final, beat Belgium 1-0

Belgium paid the price for failing to take their chances against France but will now have to shake off their disappointment and focus on finishing third at the World Cup, their coach Roberto Martinez said after his team's defeat in the semi-final.

"Today, a corner. It's a shame for football that Belgium didn't win today". The PSG right-back received his second yellow card against Brazil.

Fortunately, skipper Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will all still be in their 20s by the time the next European Championship comes around in 2020.

Matuidi took everyone by surprise when he unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot but it straight went into at Courtois hands.

51st minute: Goal. France. France 1, Belgium 0.

France still threatened at the other end though.

Yet while Hazard - Belgium's captain - faded after a strong opening 30 minutes, Mbappe was a constant threat.

Giroud then had another great chance as Mbappe cushioned a long ball across the area, only for the striker to fluff his shot under pressure from Alderweireld.


Didier Deschamps tweaked his formation, effectively freeing up Kylian Mbappe on the right to run at the Argentine defence, and what followed was a wonderful display of attacking football that France won 4-3.

There was still time for Umtiti to miskick and nearly let in Romelu Lukaku, but somehow the teams went into the break tied at 0-0. Had a good header in the second half but missed his chance and did not perform to the level expected.

Defender Samuel Umtiti scored the victor in the 51st minute, beating Marouane Fellaini at the near post to head home Antoine Griezmann 's corner.

Once in front, France had even more space to exploit Mbappe's pace, but it was a majestic piece of skill that almost created a second with a backheel that again freed Giroud only for Mousa Dembele to block.

The nearest Belgium came to a leveller was a header from Fellaini which flashed just wide and a fierce strike from distance by Axel Witsel which the impressive Lloris parried away. Mertens nearly had an immediate impact as his cross was headed skywards by Varane and De Bruyne missed his kick when coming in to hit a volley.

Couldn't get back on track after switching off from a corner to allow the header from Samuel Umtiti.

Hazard was unsafe again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar.

Against Brazil in the quarters, Martinez showed tactical adventure, as he pushed target man Lukaku to the wing to allow De Bruyne to operate as a "false nine".

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