Umtiti header sends France into World Cup final

11 Julio, 2018, 08:28 | Author: Gregg Anderson
  • Umtiti header sends France into World Cup final

France came back from a 1-2 deficit against Argentina, while Belgium turned an 0-2 defeat into a 3-2 win over Japan.

"Vive la France! Vive la Republique!"

Giroud did at least have a part to play in the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected wide, Griezmann's corner was flicked in at the near post by Umtiti. Brazil bombarded them in the first 10 minutes, in what is a clear indication to France that this Belgian side can be rattled.

France, world champions in 1998, are slight favourites to go through according to most bookmakers, but Belgium tend to step up their game against these particular European rivals if history is anything to go by.

The world now gets to see France's luxury squad, collectively valued in excess of $1 billion and headlined by teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, in another major final.

Twenty years on, he's just two games away from matching Zidane's feat.

A Belgium team featuring numerous same stars lost 1-0 to Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinal four years ago and then was shocked 3-1 by Wales in the European Championship quarterfinals two years ago. The lows have been so low that there were also group stage exits in 2002 and 2010 and a Zinédine Zidane moment of madness with a head butt in that 2006 final.

Umtiti rose brilliantly to shrug off Marouane Fellaini and head in Antoine Griezmann's corner for his first goal of the tournament. He said after that match that there he was disappointed that they were done in by a set-piece.

Up in the corporate seats, French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the goal by shaking the hand of King Philippe of Belgium as Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino watched on between them.

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France sat back and looked to use the pace Mbappe on the counter attack but were nearly caught out as Hazard forced a wonderful tackle from Varane and Lloris had to beat away a vicious shot on the followup from Witsel.

Five minutes later, Mbappe put Benjamin Pavard through on goal.

Hazard was unsafe again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar. Varane, in particular, was outstanding.

France's most important player could then be N'golo Kante. With the "Fubo Premier" bundle, you will get access to all four of the World Cup soccer TV channels in most markets.

An even match then saw Blaise Matuidi fire in a shot on 18 minutes but Courtois was grateful that it was straight at him.

The 19-year-old has also been suggested as a contender for the Ballon d'Or, having become the first teenager since Pele to score a couple of times in a World Cup game.

Didier Deschamps has one of the strongest squads in the tournament, and it's hard to find a weakness in his team. "The game was very close, very tight and it was going to be decided by a little bit of luck in front of goal", he said.

Instead of a trip to Moscow, Belgium will return to St. Petersburg for the third-place match.

But with their King Philippe watching from the stands, there was to be no coronation.

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