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France vs Belgium
2018 FIFA World Cup, Semi-Final
|Saint Petersburg Stadium|
France are through to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, after defeating Belgium 1-0.
It was a much more open game than expected and both sides had spells in the first half where they could have, and perhaps should have scored.
It didn’t take long for someone to find a breakthrough in the second half though.
Samuel Umtiti rose above Marouane Fellaini from the corner and directed his header at the near post past Courtois to give France the lead.
France went on to take full control but failed to find a second.
Belgium rallied late but failed to get one back.
France’s victory means they will take on either England or Croatia in the final.
France and Belgium will be looking to book a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final when they clash in Saint Petersburg. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 4am (AEST).
France are coming off a two-nil win over Uruguay in the quarter-finals and it was their most impressive performance in the World Cup thus far.
Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann both found the net for the French.
Other than that, all of their other wins have been fairly unconvincing, with the tournament favourites doing just enough to win all of their games.
After scraping past Australia and looking shaky against Peru, they played out a nil-all draw with Denmark.
In the round of 16 they took on a struggling Argentina and despite running rampant agent them in attack still managed to concede three of their own – winning 4-3 in a thrilling encounter.
Manager Didier Deschamps is working with arguably the best squad of the entire World Cup – however aside from the game against Argentina they haven’t really played with the flair expected of them.
Although Kylian Mbappe is quickly establishing himself as the next big thing in football – and the 19-year-old could find himself winning the Golden Ball.
Meanwhile, Belgium look like they could both beat, and be beaten, by anybody.
After a scary round of 16 encounter against Japan which saw them come back from two goals down to win 3-2, they took on Brazil as clear underdogs.
However their key players all stood up for that game and they played Brazil off the park before holding on for a famous 2-1 win.
They were assisted by a bizarre own-goal but Kevin De Bruyne’s pure strike put them up by two shortly after.
Belgium are the only side left in the tournament that have won every game in 90 minutes.
However they’ve also looked susceptible to conceding and if they get complacent or fall asleep at any time against France it will cost them the game.
Romelu Lukaku has been spectacular for the Belgians and will be eager to catch up to Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.
Eden Hazard has been identified as a key threat by the French squad.
France described their shutdown of Lionel Messi in the Argentina game as an example of what they will be looking to do to Hazard.
This is one of those games where I can see either team winning and won’t be surprised at the outcome either way. Both sides have incredible individual talent and can play anyone off the park on their day. However, France are the more consistent side and seem to find a way to do just enough to win.
France 1 – 0 Belgium.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 4am (AEST).