Belgium and France face off in mouth-watering semi-final

11 July, 2018, 09:51 | Author: Regina Boyd
  • FRA VS BEL

For the generation of Hazard, De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku, beating Brazil in the quarter-finals was meant to be the breakthrough en route to winning a major tournament.

However, Umtiti popped up with the game's telling moment early in the second half, nodding the ball home to score his third worldwide goal.

But this time it is much higher because he is going to be on the bench and facing his home nation.

Mbappe starred as France beat Belgium 1-0 in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final, booking a spot against either England or Croatia, creating a great chance for Olivier Giroud with a wonderful backheel pass. There was less at stake the last time these 2 went head-to-head at the World Cup, a 4-2 victory for France in the 3rd place match in 1986. France came back from a 1-2 deficit against Argentina, while Belgium turned an 0-2 defeat into a 3-2 win over Japan. The team will take the victor of England or Croatia in the final, with those two playing on Wednesday.

However, they say they will have no objection if the Centre Court crowd want to take sneak peeks of the action from Moscow on their phones.

Having both secured their seats at the 2018 FIFA World Cup table until next weekend's fight for medals, France and Belgium now have to see who will be pursuing gold and who is left searching for bronze. It was a close game and it was very tight and it was going to be decided by that bit of luck in front of goal.

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Didier Deschamps' side started the match on the backfoot with Belgium hitting them with wave after wave of attacks. A pair of Diego Maradona second-half goals sank Belgium that day. 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.

Apart from being the match victor, Umtiti's partnership with Raphael Varane in central defence continues to flourish, and when called upon, captain Hugo Lloris made important saves at key moments. Benjamin Pavard was slipped through by a fine Mbappe ball, but Courtois stuck out a leg and deflected his shot wide.

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".

Whether Mbappe scores again in Russian Federation remains to be seen but another goal for the tournament's breakthrough star in Sunday's final will only further cement his status as the next superstar of world football.

Minutes after the half time, Samuel Umtiti led France ahead by scoring a goal from a corner.

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