Friday, 21 September, 2018


France reaches World Cup final with victory over Belgium

Belgium assistant coach Thierry Henry and Romelu Lukaku share a laugh during training for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Dedovsk France reaches World Cup final with victory over Belgium
Noah Ferguson | 11 July, 2018, 04:04

The Chelsea winger was outstanding in the first half but his influence waned after the break as Didier Deschamps' side retreated into their shells once Samuel Umtiti had headed the only goal of the game in the 50th minute.

Some of the Belgian team grew up playing in France.

Umtiti rose majestically from a corner in the 51st minute to direct the ball past Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, giving France the chance to become world champions for the second time after their win in 1998.

Belgium is the team France has met the most over its history and we have to go back to 1904 for the first match.

As is the case in the geographic sense, in which France and Belgium share a border, there's no apparent distance between the teams.

Soccer's World Cup notches up the intensity even more today when France and Belgium meet in the first semifinal match.

"We played together as team-mates and he was much younger and I was at the end of my career".

"But he did know that, from the time he was joining the management team and becoming assistant to Martinez, that could happen. On a personal level it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow".

England are in the last four of a major tournament for the first time since Euro '96, when Southgate himself missed a penalty in a shootout defeat against Germany. "We've strived to be as good as we could be at the global level and it's taken us two years to get there". The difference between winning and losing came down to one dead-ball situation.

Belgium winger Eden Hazard has praised Roberto Martinez ahead of his countries semi-final against France on Tuesday evening.

"This is the only one [picture] going", he said. I have not yet experienced that a striker plays so far from goal. "That's the quality that he has".

With Thomas Meunier suspended, Belgium shifted to a back four as Martinez selected Nacer Chadli on the right.

"Belgium played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan".

"Will they do something similar for us?"

"Because of the seven years I spent in France I feel 99 percent Belgian and one percent French, but the idea of taking French nationality never crossed my mind" Hazard once said when asked about the possibility.

France have no such selection issues and are nearly certain to stick with Stuttgart's Benjamin Pavard at right back after a string of impressive displays from the 22-year-old have made him one of the tournament's stand-out defenders.

"France was good at the basic things of the game".

They are the only side with a 100% record in this year's World Cup and the way the dispatched Brazil in the quarter-final was very impressive.

The winners will play England or Croatia in the final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. With the sides hard to separate on paper, how they handle the pressure, and perhaps those little nuggets of inside knowledge, could make all the difference.

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