France reach World Cup final with tense victory over Belgium

first_img 4 Kylian Mbappe’s skill A close call between Hazard and Mbappe, but the Belgium skipper edged it. France couldn’t get near him all night and when his country were 1-0 down, he carried their entire threat. Deserved better.Moment of the match France edged Belgium to a place in the World Cup final after a nail-biting encounter.Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti proved the difference with a 51st-minute header to separate the two evenly-matched sides. Umtiti celebrates 4 Eden Hazard 4 One goal was enough for France 4 But with so many superstars on the pitch, it was the big centre-back who broke the deadlock from a corner. Umtiti got to the ball before Marouane Fellaini to glance his team in-front.And that’s how it stayed, despite plenty of probing from the irresistible Hazard. Belgium couldn’t match his high standards and clear-cut chances failed to present themselves.In truth, France putting the game to bed was more likely than a Belgian equaliser, with Mbappe devastatingly brilliant on the break.The only question that remains between now and Sunday: can the Three Lions join them in the final?Star man It was a semi-final devoid of goalmouth action but filled with tension and Les Bleus held their nerve in the face of relentless Belgian possession.They now have the chance to lift the World Cup for the first time in 20 years on Sunday, with England or Croatia standing in their way.The two nations were inseparable in the first-half. Eden Hazard provided most of the highlights, twice coming close to scoring and dazzling with some sensational moments of skill.France had their chances through Benjamin Pavard, who forced an excellent save from Thibaut Courtois, and Olivier Giroud. Mbappe’s marvellous flick to Giroud was characteristic of the 19-year-old’s performance: audacious, daring and brilliant. It should’ve resulted in a goal but Giroud fluffed his lines.last_img read more