France 1 Belgium 0

Umtiti_goal_cropped

Umtiti_goal_cropped

France arrived at their hotel in St. Petersburg after beating Belgium 1-0 to reach the World Cup final on Tuesday (10th July).

France sealed a 1-0 win over Hazard's Belgium side to triumph and book their place in the final on Sunday.

Umtiti rose above Marouane Fellaini to head home Griezmann's corner towards the far post, scoring the 69th set-piece goal of this tournament. I am very happy for my players.

France were not all that convincing either but did enough to deserve to win.

The injection of Dries Mertens did up the tempo but France simply parked the bus and denied any Belgian attack; in fact they could have had two or three more near the close in numerous counter attacks as the reds pushed forward.

"The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore".

However, despite a valiant effort against Les Bleus, Hazard couldn't muster any more goals and subsequently ended up on the losing team following a 1-0 defeat after Samuel Umtiti's victor for France.

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In Les Bleus' opening match, the video assistant referee came into play for the first time at the World Cup as Antoine Griezmann put France ahead with a contentious second-half penalty.

But De Bruyne's best moments came when he combined with Eden Hazard on the opposite side of the pitch to the one he was stationed on, and Belgium missed his ability to pick a pass, with striker Romelu Lukaku mostly deprived of service. With his partner at the back, Samuel Umtiti, still just 24, France has a central defensive pairing that should frustrate attackers long into the future.

Should France go on to win the World Cup on Sunday, they would have peaked perfectly after starting the tournament in Russian Federation slowly but gaining momentum when it mattered most.

On Saturday they will set about securing third place, which would be the country's best ever World Cup placing. I thought we were growing into the game when we conceded the goal from the corner. Lukaku had just 22 touches of the ball.

Hazard and De Bruyne showed they are world-class players. They made steady progress through the group stage, exploded into life against Argentina in the last 16 and then produced a professional performance to see off Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

France will be playing in the World Cup final.

At 19, Mbappe wasn't even born when France won the World Cup for the first and only time with a squad that is just as diverse as the one Deschamps is leading 20 years later.

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