World Cup Review: France Eliminate Crestfallen Belgium In Classic

Les Bleus prevailed against Belgium, having humbled the high-scoring team 1-0 to progress to a second-ever berth in the finals of the World Cup in Russia.

Their third ever competitive match, France now holds a three-win record over the Red Devils.

In a pulsating semi-final worthy of the teams’ reputations, the match had high-octane from the very onset, with both France and Belgium threatening the goals. Hugo Lloris was called on to make several critical saves, while Thibaut Courtois was instrumental in keeping the scoreline 0-0 going into the second half.

After being dominated in the first half, due to an awesome Eden Hazard, Les Bleus regrouped and took responsibility and the control of the match after half-time.

French confidence was evident, as the eventual game-winner was made in the 51st minute when Samuel Umtiti rose high at the near post to head an Antoine Griezmann corner past Courtois.

It was enough to take France to the final for the first time since 1998, when they won their only World Cup as hosts of the tournament.

Belgium, playing in their second World Cup semi-final after one in 1986, piled on the pressure and came close with a Marouane Fellaini header in the 65th minute and a string of other chances.

To the undoing of the Belgians, the French were too strong defensively after making the difference offensively. It was obvious the difference in this game would be the small details. Despite the high-level Belgium displayed to get close to the opposition goal, they did not manage to show the opportunism they had in their five previous games at the most important moment.

The French have become the sixth country to reach the World Cup Final three times or more, after Germany (eight), Brazil (six), Italy (six), Argentina (five) and Netherlands (three).

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