France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach final

France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach final

France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach final

The connections between the two national team setups have become increasingly apparent in the two barren days between the last quarterfinal and the start of the last four.

After reaching the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup and the European Championship in 2016, Belgium again missed the chance to get to an global final and has yet to fulfil its lofty expectations.

Belgium can still achieve their best-ever finish at a World Cup, bettering their performance in 1986, when they lost to Argentina in the semi-finals and then lost to the French in the third-place game. According to Odds Shark, oddsmaker Bovada had France's money-line odds at +150, while Belgium was at +200. That's their right. They know when an opponent plays very deep, that's where we have problems.

"The players showed incredible focus and incredible togetherness. Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him", said Deschamps.

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. "On a personal level it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow". For France, Kylian Mbappe can score in a blink and already introduced himself this tournament as one of the world's top scorers. They come in to the match on the back of an impressive, if somewhat nervy, victory over Brazil in the last round and the Spanish boss believes their preparations are starting to pay off.

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"We wanted to get into the final", he said. His two goals against La Albiceleste had the BBC making Pele comparisons.

Eden Hazard has slammed France for their supposed negative tactics during their World Cup semi final win over Belgium.

"It's essential to have a player like Kevin - that he can play different roles, " Martinez said Monday, on the eve of the semifinal.

The French came out strong in the second half as well, controlling the majority of play and limiting Belgium to just two shots on goal after halftime. "That's the quality that he has".

In a game punctuated by flashes of skill from the likes of Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann, it was 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe who provided the ooh-la-la moment.

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In fact, the argument could be made that he is more important to the team than stars Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann . Belgium's haul of 14 goals is the most by the semi-final stage of a World Cup tournament since Brazil in 2002 (15).

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

Having a collection of great players individually does not guarantee anything.

"Will they do something similar for us?"

France keeper Hugo Lloris, a Golden Glove candidate in Russian Federation, had nothing but positive things to say about the Belgium squad. In the 51st minute, French defender Samuel Umtiti, who had looked like a liability at times during the first half, angled in a gorgeous header to put his team up. Deschamps is gunning for history as the third man to win the World Cup as both player and coach (after Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer).

Lloris' full-length dive kept out a first-time strike from Tottenham colleague Toby Alderweireld, while Courtois reacted quickly to block Benjamin Pavard's attempt from a tight angle at the other end.

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