France into the final after win over Belgium

France into the final after win over Belgium

France into the final after win over Belgium

It was greeted there by Belgium, whose own golden generation was supposed to provide a significantly more exacting test, to force the French out of their shells, to demand that manager Didier Deschamps's richly gifted players finally live up to their lofty reputations.

After Belgium had the better in the better of the first half, France grabbed the upper hand early in the second when Samuel Umtiti headed home an Antoine Griezmann corner.

But the football France played against Belgium in their 1-0 semi-final win yesterday morning (Singapore time) is not something most fans want to see.

France is not in its third World Cup final in 20 years because of what this team threatens to be, or might become.

Deschamps and his players are in the World Cup final because of what they are: a team created to draw the sting, to suck the air from a game, to deprive the fire of oxygen.

"I prefer to lose with Belgium than win with France", Hazard told reporters after the game. Without the suspended Meunier against France, Martinez's decision to play a back four with Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli in that position, as opposed to a back three which had been effective to that point only looks more freaky with each passing moment.

Once the second half got underway, there wasn't long to wait for the deadlock to be broken and, considering the amount of set-piece goals scored at Russian Federation 2018, it should not have been a surprise that the opener came from a corner.

Following the 1-0 win in Saint Petersburg, Manchester United midfielder Pogba tweeted: "This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong".

"We have not found their weak point".

And De Bruyne said: "Have I been annoyed by France? We could have done better, but we didn't". It's a sad dressing room now.

Samuel Umtiti's second-half header was the difference in a tightly-fought contest, but one in which Belgium had the bulk of possession (64 per cent) while France mainly looked to counter-attack. Belgium had the midfielders to trouble France but their centre-forward Romelu Lukaku was found wanting with only 22 touches on the ball, the fewest for a player who started the match. Hosts high on ammonia Russia's sojourn with doping has now apparently reached the World Cup as team doctor Eduard Bezuglov admitted that the Russian players had inhaled ammonia during their matches.

Russian players were seen using smelling salts and German newspaper Bild released a video showing the same.

"Belgian football has got a wealth of young talent coming through and in my role, I've got an eye on the Euros in 2020", said Red Devils coach Roberto Martinez, who signed a contract extension to take him through to 2020 just weeks before the tournament kicked off.

Martinez bemoaned the goal his team conceded from a corner.

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren believes his exhausted team are ready to seize the opportunity of a lifetime.

"Finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago", said Deschamps. "I do not have that feeling today".

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