World Cup: France Beats Belgium To Qualify For Final
France has qualified for the Russia 2018 World Cup final after beating Belgium 1-0 in a Semi-final match played in Saint Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday.
A determined and organised performance by France saw Samuel Umtiti’s headed goal early in the second half ensure that Belgium are relegated to a third place match on Friday.
Speaking after the match, Belgian coach, Roberto Martinez said:
“It was a very tight game, there were not many big moments that were going to decide the game.
“The difference between the defeat or winning was down to one dead-ball situation, that’s how close the game was.
“We have to give a lot of credit to the way France defended, even having certain attacking players defending very deep and giving us a lot of respect in that way.
“We couldn’t find the little bit of magic in front of goal or a little bit of luck at times.
“But if you’re going to lose a game, I’m so proud of the players – you lose with a lot of effort, giving everything you’ve got, driving until the last second.
“You have to accept it, congratulate France and wish them well for the Final.”
Samuel Umtiti’s headed winner returned France to the FIFA World Cup Final for the third time in 20 years, sealing their 1-0 win over Belgium.
The first half saw chances at either end, with Belgium captain Eden Hazard going close.
Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois will later deny Toby Alderweireld and Benjamin Pavard respectively to ensure the opening period ended all square.
Having seen the best chances come from defenders, it was apt that a centre-half opened the scoring.
After Raphael Varane performed heroics in the quarter-finals against Uruguay, this time it was Umtiti.
He practically stole a march on his marker Marouane Fellaini to meet Antoine Griezmann’s corner at the near post and flick a header beyond Thibaut Courtois.
Once ahead, France locked down, robbing the Red Devils’ star names of space to pick through in the final third, grinding down the clock – while looking to strike on the counter – until their place in the Moscow finale was confirmed.